Texas School District Tests Wi-Fi Access on School Buses

A pilot study indicates students are heavy users of bus Wi-Fi at the end of the semester.

by Ashley Rose, Cleburne Times-Review / June 25, 2018 0

(TNS) — Riding a bus to and from school can take a big chunk out of a student’s day. Whether you’re on it for 10 minutes or 45 minutes, some students might take that time to complete their homework assignments.

After piloting wireless internet on several buses last school year, Cleburne ISD plans to survey and poll students to see if they want to install it on all buses starting in the fall.

The district installed Wi-Fi in four buses last year and later installed it on a student activity bus.

“We know there was student usage from reports we received from the technology department,” CISD Transportation Director David Walker said. “We saw fairly significant usage, with a peak toward the end of the semester. Some buses had higher usage than others, which could be based on the number of secondary riders vs. elementary. All four route buses showed peak usage at the end of the semester.”

When the district distributed Chromebooks to all middle and high school students in January 2017, CISD Technology Executive Director Mike Wallace said they wanted to find more ways to ensure students could use them not only in the classroom but also at home. The students received their devices as part of the 2016 bond package.

“We can even see how beneficial it will be for students going to and from sporting and academic events where they are going to be on the bus for a good amount of time,” Wallace said.

For those students who don’t have access to the internet, he said there are many options for them.

At Cleburne High School, he said they have a program where some teachers stay after school and give those students access to the internet. At Wheat and Smith middle schools, he said teachers are discussing doing something similar in the future for their students.

Before the district distributed the Chromebooks, the district hosted several parents meetings where district officials recommended places in town that has free, unlimited Wi-Fi, such as Starbucks on West Henderson Street.

Since the deployment of the devices, district officials have heard many positive comments from administrators, teachers, parents and students alike, Wallace said.

For information, visit c-isd.com and click on the “Bond 2016” tab.

©2018 the Cleburne Times-Review (Cleburne, Texas) Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.