Management

West Virginia district adds Wi-Fi to school buses

Posted on January 25, 2016

Kanawha County (W.Va.) Schools has chosen Cradlepoint to support in-vehicle connectivity for the county’s 158 school buses.

The school district is the first in West Virginia to provide students with Wi-Fi on buses throughout the district, Cradlepoint officials said.

In-vehicle connectivity enables Kanawha County students to complete homework assignments, access electronic textbooks, and utilize educational software from school-administered instructional tablets during commutes to and from school and sporting events. Wi-Fi access will offer students the resources to get ahead in their schoolwork without compromising evenings and late nights, even amid an abundance of after-school activities.

“Students can spend upwards of 45 minutes to an hour on the bus each day. Between extracurricular activities and responsibilities at home and work, oftentimes these students are up late at night and in the early morning trying to complete their school assignments,” said Dr. Ron Duerring, superintendent at Kanawha County Schools. “With Wi-Fi-enabled buses, we are providing our students with a controlled and monitored learning environment that gives them the flexibility to meet both their personal and academic commitments. We believe this is one more innovative and leading-edge way we are meeting the educational needs of our students.”

“Students are not only reaping the benefits of being able to establish connectivity while on the buses, but our bus drivers are also reporting calmer, better-behaved conduct during the commutes,” said Leah Sparks, director of technology at Kanawha County Schools.

The school system has approximately 28,000 elementary, middle, and high school students in its district. Last year the county distributed over 14,000 tablet computers to its middle and high school students to complete homework assignments, access online reading material, and utilize educational software. Wi-Fi access is limited to school-issued tablets only, and offers the same secure, controlled network access that is available in the classroom. In the future, the county has plans to use its buses to provide free Wi-Fi to local community neighborhoods that do not have Internet access.

“Today’s students are growing up with the expectation of ‘always on’ connectivity. By providing in-vehicle connectivity on school buses, Kanawha County students are able to utilize downtime in a more productive way, enabling better student outcomes,” said Ian Pennell, chief marketing officer at Cradlepoint. “Teachers also have the resources to extend their educational influence outside of the classroom as they turn travel time to and from field trips into instructional time.”

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