In Berkeley County, South Carolina, students have been introduced to a revolutionary idea conjured together by industry giant, Google. What is this revolutionary idea? Wi-Fi-equipped school buses. Yes, that's right... students can now access fully-functional Wi-Fi while riding to and from school! Recently, Google has funded 28 Wi-Fi-equipped school buses for the Berkeley County school district in the hope of providing students more opportunity to complete online assignments.
The relationship between Berkeley County and Google runs deep, as it has invested more than $1 billion in data center complexes since 2007. According to Google spokeswoman, Lilyn Hester, the plan was constructed out of the concept that the students spend so much time on school buses so, why not make that an opportunity for them to do homework and study? One of the additional reasons cited for the creation of this plan, was the need for high-speed internet capability for many of these students. Google identified rural areas as being, generally, a place where broadband internet access is not quite as common. With that said, this plan would ultimately offer the students the ability to do work on the bus that they may not be able to do once they are home.
In order to help fully take advantage of this project, Google has also provided the school district with 1,700 Chromebooks for student-use. With more assignments becoming online-based, the necessity for providing students with the resources to complete their assignments is essential! The response to the program, thus far, has been overwhelmingly positive. Bus drivers are dealing with much less rowdy bus routes and the students are able to keep up with their work, without sacrificing as much of their free time and home life.
Google is hoping to begin launching the School Bus Wi-Fi program in other rural areas, as the implementation of data centers becomes more widespread. In the meantime, they have short-term plans of including similar Wi-Fi access to local community centers, where students could go to complete their school work. All in all, Google has embarked on an exciting and innovative venture that has the potential to change the game of education for years to come!