Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Turn a Boisterous Bus Ride into a Rolling Study Hall

I love this story. The lesson - for me - from this story is that if you use technology wisely you engage kids and harness their energy. The rationale -
the buses were part of a wider effort to use technology to extend learning beyond classroom walls and the six-hour school day
In the end, isn't that what we're all hoping to do? Extend learning beyond the classroom!

As an aside, I've had a junior faculty member ask "In a class of 25 students, why are 15 of them constantly text messaging while I lecture?" Should I tell him, or is ignorance is bliss?

Wi-Fi Turns Arizona Bus Ride Into a Rolling Study Hall
Students endure hundreds of hours on yellow buses each year getting to and from school in this desert exurb of Tucson, and stir-crazy teenagers break the monotony by teasing, texting, flirting, shouting, climbing (over seats) and sometimes punching (seats or seatmates).

But on this chilly morning, as bus No. 92 rolls down a mountain highway just before dawn, high school students are quiet, typing on laptops.

Morning routines have been like this since the fall, when school officials mounted a mobile Internet router to bus No. 92’s sheet-metal frame, enabling students to surf the Web. The students call it the Internet Bus, and what began as a high-tech experiment has had an old-fashioned — and unexpected — result. Wi-Fi access has transformed what was often a boisterous bus ride into a rolling study hall, and behavioral problems have virtually disappeared.

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