I have a an interest in how mobile technology is used in education, which is why this New York Times story caught my eye. A school district in Vail, Arizona is testing providing Internet access on one of their buses. It has been a very long time since I have ridden on a school bus, but I recall that it can be noisy and otherwise cause problems for bus drivers. The Times article emphasizes how well behaved the students are on the bus with Internet access, because the students are busy either working on their studies or entertaining themselves.
The bus’ Internet connection is provided using Autonet mobile, which provides technology to turn automobiles into Wi-Fi hotspots. While the technology might not make as much sense in cars, it makes perfect sense in mass transportation like school buses. In many rural school districts throughout the country students spend a significant amount of time on buses, and providing Internet access on them gives students time they wouldn’t otherwise have to work on their studies. It wouldn’t surprise me to learn of more school buses being connected, particularly if the service is affordable.