Photo: Alex Starr (flickr)
Kokomo-Center School Corporation is installing a GPS system and Wi-Fi on all its school buses starting in April. School officials hope it will encourage students to do homework on the way to and from school.
All 65 Kokomo Center school buses will be fitted with GPS systems that allow the school corporation to track their whereabouts. District spokesman Dave Barnes that will make it easier to tell if buses are late to their stops or are having any problems.
“It helps us make our routes more efficient because all of a sudden if we see buses going by each other, picking up kids in the same neighborhood, we can fix those kinds of things too, but this will allow us to see where the buses are pretty much every moment they’re in motion,” he says.
The buses will also have Wi-Fi. School board president Joe Dunbar says the district’s initiative to give more students take-home laptops will be bolstered by allowing those students to do homework while in transit.
He says it will benefit everyone from high schoolers to elementary school students.
“Our one to one program for elementary students is age appropriate and the type of equipment that their using is fitted especially for them, and the curriculum is designed for them,” he says.
Dunbar says students on sports teams and other school organizations will be able to use the Wi-Fi when they travel to tournaments several hours away. Parent Jennifer Ogle says she sees that as one of the biggest benefits, although she is worried the technology will not always be used for homework.
“I think that of course everybody from the administrators to my children will use it for checking email and social networking, but I know now that there will be no excuse that they couldn’t get their homework done or that they can have the best grades possible,” she says.
The initial cost for the GPS system is $60,000 with annual upkeep fees of $25,000. The Wi-Fi will cost $125,000 to install with annual fees of $5,000.