The average K-12 student spends 40 minutes per day riding the school bus. With 180 school days in an academic year, that means on average a student spends 120 hours per year on the bus. To put that in perspective, that’s the same as the amount of credit hours required to earn a bachelor’s degree.
Those 120 hours are also equivalent to 20 school days.
And on top of that, those numbers only account for bus rides to and from school. Many students participate in afterschool activities where they are on the bus, along with field trips, or other school programs for several hours.
So why not make the most of that time?
Creating a “Homework Zone”
More and more schools are moving toward a 1:1 program, providing their students with devices to use both inside and outside of school. Seven in 10 teachers assign homework that requires Internet access..
If students have laptops or tablets on the bus, their assignments are digital, and they spend on average of 40 minutes per day on the bus, there’s just one important piece missing – Internet.
Students can take advantage of the time spent riding the bus to and from school to work on homework. And, with filtered, education-only Internet, educators know their students can focus on schoolwork instead of the various distractions of the Internet (cat videos anyone?).
Essentially, the bus is now a “Homework Zone.” Students are in an environment similar to the classroom, and as an added bonus, their behavior on the bus improves.
Extra Time for Extracurriculars
Nearly six in 10 children between ages six and 17 participate in extracurricular activities, according to the Census Bureau. A Pew Research Center study broke out the percentage of school-age kids and their activities and discovered:
73% Participate in sports or athletic activities
60% Participate in religious instruction/youth group
54% Take lessons in music, dance, or art
53% Do volunteer work
36% Have a part-time job
35% Receive regular tutoring or extra academic preparation
23% Participate in an organization such as scouts
And, many students participate in multiple activities. This is especially true for older students who, for example, participate in sports and have part-time jobs.
If they finish their homework on the bus, they have more time to spend on these activities or catching up on sleep.
In a School Bus Fleet interview, Michael Flood, the vice president of strategy at Kajeet said, “[Bus Wi-Fi] could also potentially add up to 150 hours per year of Wi-Fi access for students to work on homework.” Many students have longer bus rides beyond the 40 minutes per day average, leading to more time on the bus and therefore, more time to access filtered Wi-Fi.
When districts face bus driver shortages, students are often stuck on longer routes as schools accommodate for the lower number of available drivers. Rural students, in particular, can face bus rides up to an hour or even more.
It’s a simple solution that makes the most of this time students spend on the bus.
How a New York School District Uses School Bus Time Wisely
Palmyra-Macedon Central School District (CSD) in New York has their 48-bus fleet outfitted with the Kajeet SmartBus™ solution. The district started a blended learning program, and the educators knew connectivity was a crucial part.
“Yes, it helps with the digital divide, but it’s not even that; we have kids that travel to away games for two plus hours on a bus,” said Chip Dolce, director of IT, Palmyra-Macedon CSD, in a recent webinar. He continued to discuss how if that student gets her homework done on the bus, when she gets home from a game at 10 p.m., her homework is done.
A junior at Palmyra described her experience in a news interview. “I don’t have a lot of opportunity if my games go late, so on the buses I have time to do my homework and not stress about it later,” she said.
“Kids at home, if they don’t have time to do their homework or they have an online assignment, then they don’t have to do it at home, they don’t have to worry about it…if they have a long commute, they have plenty of time to do their homework,” continued the student.
“It’s easy to pull off [this program],” said Dolce. “The way you want to manage it; how much or how little you want to control.”