Wi-Fi Turns Arizona Bus Ride Into a Rolling Study Hall

Joshua Lott for The New York Times

Jerod Reyes, left, and Dylan Powell use their bus's Wi-Fi to do homework on their way to school.

The New York Times did a piece on the "Internet Bus" in Arizona that allows students wi-fi access while commuting to school or going on school trips. Seems like a great way to keep students connected at times when they normally aren't.

The article however, seems lacking in all of the non-academic things kids would be using an Internet connection for. An entire bus full of kids with laptops and Internet connections and Facebook/social networking doesn't even come up once? Where are the kids who are gaming? Where are the kids downloading pirated music/TV shows? Where are the kids posting photos on Facebook? The article seems to be a looking at the bus through rose-colored glasses, but I get the gist of it.

It's a neat idea, but it's yet another space where the kids used to be somewhat offline, now turning online. I suppose that they already had their phones on the bus, so it wasn't all that offline. I just wonder if there will be any offline spaces left for them? The athletics field, perhaps? The NFL had to ban Twitter from sidelines recently.

update: I missed the line in the article that talked about the students playing games. I still think it leans way to heavy on the academic use. Unless these are kids who only do homework and nothing else, it's just not a reasonable expectation that it will become a study hall bus. It will be just like the Internet in their homes - often homework, but more often media consumption.

Posted via web from arvind's posterous

arvind s. grover

I am a progressive educator, a podcaster (EdTechTalk.com/21cl), a blogger, and dean of faculty of JK-11 school (building a high school) in New York City.