Free WiFi! On Schoolbuses?!

Should School Buses Have WiFi?

kid with tablet

plenty of tech

School buses equipped with WiFi capabilities are popping up all over the country. This has added more kindling to the great pyre of debate over how much time our kids are spending online, especially since there are no teachers or parents around. As well as whether these kinds of innovations are the one we want making significant influences in our children. Do we want the kids to have a constant connection to the web?

Investing In the Internet for Kids?

More and more districts are funneling money into advancing this kind of technology, especially in places where kids spend one or two hours on the school bus. In other schools, the WiFi capabilities are limited to the specific times in which the bus is on the road for a long period of time, like during field trips or sports activities taking place outside of the school.On the one hand, this type of bus can be of use to kids who do not have an internet connection at home. In Coachella Valley, California, for instance, two school buses with built-in WiFi routers can be seen parked next to a cluster of mobile homes every evening, giving those kids without an internet connection the chance to get online, at least until the power runs out. I love seeing stories like these and the citizens money going thoughtfully to places and helping out because we can. again this doesn't really deal with the kids on the bus issue but it does at least make me like the fact that these buses are being made and that they are in use.

 

 

Pros and Cons of WiFi On Buses

On the other hand, we need to think of the consequences.  If this is just a way for Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat all to get checked another five times before school i'm not so sure of how I feel about this. Is this access filtered? these are children here and they are known to be curious little creatures. the internet has lots of things that I don't think anyone should ever see let alone a child on a bus.

Aside from the issues it presents I'm not sure there's such a big upside for the students themselves. Are we expecting or hoping for last minute research to be done? why do they need this?  where is the upside to unsupervised free internet for impressionable young minds. In schools at least the teachers and administrators have control and influence on what happens. We rely on our children's teachers to ensure a safe classroom environment, it becomes their job to assure us that cyber bullying won't be taking place right under the nose of school administration, and through school-funded WiFi connections. They are to make sure that this technology and the thousands of dollars put into it will be put to positive and educational use. Here? On the bus, there are no teachers. Even if there were teachers each kid would have a private device anyways so they would be of limited help if any at all.

Seems to me, the ones who will benefit the most from this idea are the bus drivers. Now, I am not saying they don't deserve it. Anyone who can spend as much time as they do with a pack of screaming, fighting kids, every morning and every afternoon – well, let's just say they deserve some recognition, and perhaps a few perks. I'm all aboard for the idea that it's for the drivers. they are working responsible adults, who have full rights to the internet and I for one and not going to tell them what to look at. With all this being said, I am still uncomfortable with the possibility that this will lead to distracted driving. I am willing to take this risk because they like we mentioned are responsible adults who we trust to safely transport the future back and forth every day. Take into account that it also means they have GPS at their disposal at all times. GPS is a fantastic tool that I believe should be taken advantage of.

Practical Ideas for WiFi On Buses

What I'm suggesting is that while the internet is a tool and can be taken advantage of on buses. how we do it is the main issue and I think there is room to figure it out. If we are going to exclusively allow the drivers access then I don't think we need anything more than a standard ability of an employer to see what is being looked at. after all they are employees and there are kids around so knowing what is being seen is extremely important. If we decide that children should be granted access in special situations with permission from a teacher, then a filter with parental control needs to be applied.

All aboard the free WiFi bus!

All aboard the free WiFi bus!

Conclusion

There is a lot to be said for the internet. It has revolutionized every single aspect of our lives, for better or worse. When it comes to education, there is no doubt that the internet has played a massive role in connecting us to one another. we have programs like Grammarly and Whitesmoke that have changed the ways kids prepare and present their work. None of it would be possible without the internet and that's a good thing. The way we teach is changing, and so is the way we are learning and studying. We need to make sure though, that as we try and provide the best possible future for our kids, we keep in mind their safety. They don't need unblocked unsupervised internet access on school time. what happens at home isn't the schools business, that's  each parents prerogative.

No comments yet.

Leave a Reply