The buses are designated for use on extended field trips and to transport students to and from school activities.
“Our goal is to expand instructional time by providing filtered Internet access to students when traveling on a school bus,” said Steve Burton, DCPS Computer Operations manager. District technology personnel worked with AT&T vendors to resolve encryption and routing issues to be sure inappropriate websites are blocked.
“We are all very excited about the creation of new digital access opportunities for DCPS students,” Sparks said.
Anthony Sparks, DCPS Director of Instructional Technology, said the new Wi-Fi system is a natural expansion of the district’s innovation in technology. “Daviess County Public Schools is a technology-rich district where students in grades 9-12 have 24/7 laptop access,” Sparks said, noting that DCPS was the first school district in Kentucky to implement a student laptop program. “The availability of technology is significantly increasing for elementary and middle school students. Students on all levels are encouraged to bring their own technology devices to school to enhance learning.”
Sparks said the “connected” school buses will also benefit students beyond the school year.
By placing the buses in strategic locations around Daviess County, students will be able to access “hot spots” during the summer to promote continued learning. “We want to encourage students to continue to access and read both literary and informational texts; use the Internet to research topics of interest; and utilize digital resources to maintain literacy and numeracy skills and engage in thinking,” Sparks said.
DCPS district technology funds have paid for the pilot installation of wireless access on two school buses.
The program will expand this Spring as the district plans to equip as many as 25 additional buses with wireless access. Projected costs include about $30,000 for equipment and $8,000 to defray the monthly cost of Internet access.
The Wi-Fi buses were piloted with a group of band students from Apollo and Daviess County high schools on a recent trip to the Morehead State University Band Clinic.
“Whether on a 30-minute bus ride to school, a 90-minute ride to an evening competition or an extra-curricular journey across the state, students will be able to better maximize their time for learning. Because the system is designed to work reliably in almost every area of the state, students can easily complete teacher assignments, research particular topics, collaborate with friends on projects and create meaningful digital products.”
Information provided by Lora Wimsatt
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