Texas District Equips School Buses With Wi-Fi

Posted on September 23, 2016
At Huntsville ISD, students can use their Chromebooks and tablets to access their textbooks and homework on the bus.
At Huntsville ISD, students can use their Chromebooks and tablets to access their textbooks and homework on the bus.

HUNTSVILLE, Texas — Students here can tap into a new feature on their school buses this year: wireless internet access.

Huntsville Independent School District (ISD) worked with IT solutions provider Presidio to equip 15 school buses with Wi-Fi and other technologies.

The district’s school buses cover 644 square miles. Many passengers have long rides to and from school, as well as activity trips, which prompted the search for a way to help students use that time productively.

“We really wanted to be able to provide wireless access to our students, because some students are on the bus quite the length of time — some up to 90 minutes,” Huntsville Superintendent Dr. Howell Wright said in a video about the district’s “ConnectED Transportation” project (see below).

Students can use their Chromebooks to access their textbooks and homework on the bus, Wright explained.

Along with 3G/4G connectivity for Wi-Fi, Presidio deployed Intel-processor-based tablets for student tracking and other uses.

“With the rider check-in and check-off, we know what student is on the bus at any given time, at any given location,” said Tim Hooks, director of transportation for Huntsville ISD.

Presidio also created an app that alerts parents when their children get on and off the bus. The overall solution integrates hardware, software, data, and connectivity, running on technology from Cisco and other partners.

Each morning, Huntsville school bus drivers get a tablet to take on the bus. The devices can be used for turn-by-turn directions and for communication with dispatch.

Other features of Huntsville’s ConnectedED Transportation include live viewing of school bus video surveillance footage and real-time telematics.

Watch the video below for more details.

Related Topics: preventive maintenance, student tracking, telematics, Texas, vehicle tracking/GPS, video surveillance

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