Electric School Buses to Add WiFi
- By Dian Schaffhauser
electric school buses from IC
Bus, a subsidiary of Navistar,
will be adding WiFi as a standard feature, in a new agreement with
a company that produces devices for internet access in education.
Under the deal, Kajeet's SmartBus
WiFi service will be made available to customers for a year; after
that, they need to pay. Districts running IC Bus vehicles currently
will also be able to buy the service too, as an add-on option.
The solution is
compatible, according to Kajeet, with all major U.S. mobile carriers.
With the use of a Kajeet management platform, administrators and the
IT organization can view data usage information about all connected
devices on the buses and set up mobile policy controls, content
blocking and web filtering.
Various sources have
calculated that 55%
of K-12 students travel by school bus daily, during
non-pandemic times. The average duration of the bus ride varies from
state to state. In North
Carolina it's 24 minutes; in Arkansas,
it's 47 minutes. For students in some areas, the trips can last hours
The goal of the
agreement, according to the companies, is to provide a safe mobile
homework zone for those students, allowing them to use their commutes
to do school work. They noted that the presence of WiFi has also had
a positive impact on the number of incidents that take place on
School District in Missouri was an early adopter of
WiFi on their school buses as part of the SmartBus pilot program.
After having WiFi connectivity available on their buses, the number
of disciplinary referrals dropped 45 percent.
"We live in a
truly connected time. Internet connection is no longer nice to have,
it is nearly required," said Trish Reed, vice president and
general manager of IC Bus, in a press release. "We are proud to
work with Kajeet to offer a simple, comprehensive and effective way
for school districts to provide internet connectivity to its students
during transit and enable all the resources that come with it."
"The shift to
remote learning over the last year greatly exposed vast digital
inequities among students, and those without reliable internet access
are now even further behind," added Daniel Neal, chairman, CEO
and founder of Kajeet. "Our goal with this partnership is to
support school systems as they welcome students back to learn
in-person and to close the digital divide. We're excited to expand
our partnership with IC Bus and to further enable student success
through secure, technology-enabled school buses."
Dian Schaffhauser is a former senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal, Campus Technology and Spaces4Learning.