High-Tech School Buses Make For A Quieter Ride

Some students in the Hector School District in Arkansas spend as much as two hours on the school bus every day, but these days they can watch science and math programs on ceiling-mounted computer screens while they travel, reports the Associated Press.

No More Rowdy Bus Riders

The result? For one thing, according to local bus driver Kenny Bull, the bus is a lot quieter than in the past. It used to be that he was writing up students for bad behavior pretty often on his bus, but since the videos have started, he hasn’t had to discipline anyone for acting out.

Long bus rides are becoming more common in many areas around the country as schools close and districts consolidate. The hope is that with a bigger student body, there will be more educational opportunities available, but for some kids it has meant  spending hours on the school bus every day. So why not put this time to good use?

Buses As Places Of Learning?

That’s the thinking behind Vanderbilt University’s Aspirnaut Program, which is responsible for turning buses into places of learning. The program works with rural schools in Arkansas and Maine and promotes learning in science, technology, engineering, and math.

Ceiling-Mounted Screens And Headsets

Here’s how it works: each bus has five ceiling-mounted screens that show educational content appropriate for different age groups. The younger students sit at the front, with older children towards the back. In addition to computer screens, the bus also has a set of headphones for every seat. For some kids, it means an extra two hours of learning every day.

When I taught in the sprawling school district of Montgomery County, Maryland, where around 96,000 students ride the district’s 1300 buses daily, often for up to an hour, it seemed obvious that this amount of time could be put to use.

High School Students Still Prefer Their Cell Phones

But is this a perfect solution? Bull reports that the younger kids really enjoy these programs, but the high school students not so much. They are allowed to use their cell phones, iPods, and other PDAs, so apparently these tend to be more popular. No surprises there!

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45 comments

Tori   INACTIVE W.
Past Member 5 years ago

let's see if i understand this...keep kids penned up in school all day and at the end put them is a bus for another hour...right...all together...10 hours our of every day is at school or on the bus....if the drive cannot deal with the students, then perhaps he needs an aide to ride with them. maybe we need shorter drives?? as for the bus ride...many students used to do their homework on the buses...i guess it's much easier to just watch a computer screen and the adults can hope some education seeps in....sounds like a lazy, ineffectual solution to me...all we're teaching the children is that the adults are way too busy or can't be bother to be involved with their lives enough to keep them engaged...and what's so wrong with the older students socializing after being penned up for 8 hours?? learning to socialize is also an important part of growing up....the entire situation has been handled very poorly and it's our kids who will pay for it...sorry...i haven't heard one thing yet that is a good idea for the students....but it sure seems to have solved the problems for the adults...

Stacee Wesley
Stacee P.5 years ago

Great idea

gerlinde p.
gerlinde p.5 years ago

it sounds like a good idea.

Michelle M.
Michelle M.5 years ago

Oh, those poor kids, I can't even imagine being on a bus that long.

Elise Lanciault-Breton
Elise L.5 years ago

It is a way to be sure they do not waste too much time. Because listening to music is fun, I know that. But 2 hours, is very long! Maybe for teenagers they want to have their own choice, but if they have a 2 hours drive, an hour of relaxing with music and an hour of learning stuff should be good for them. Even if they only recognize it years after.

Yannick Avola
Past Member 5 years ago

thanks

Ciarra V.
Ciarra Valoroso5 years ago

do u have to watch the teves? it should be an option.

Ciarra V.
Ciarra Valoroso5 years ago

THIS IS A GREAT IDEA.

Marianne Good
Past Member 5 years ago

Thanks for sharing.

SusanQ S.
Susan S.5 years ago

Smaller schools , better paid teachers and smaller classes is the only way we are going to educate the next generation.