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The Wi-Fi On the Bus

kdawson posted more than 4 years ago | from the opiate-of-the-masses dept.

Education 241

theodp writes "For students who endure hundreds of hours on a school bus each year in a desert exurb of Tucson, the Wi-Fi on the bus improves the ride. Last fall, school officials mounted a $200 mobile Internet router from Autonet Mobile to bus No. 92's sheet-metal frame, enabling students to surf the Web. What began as a hi-tech experiment has had an unexpected result — Wi-Fi has transformed the formerly boisterous bus rides into a rolling study hall, and behavioral problems have virtually disappeared. 'Boys aren't hitting each other, girls are busy, and there's not so much jumping around,' said J. J. Johnson, the Internet Bus driver."

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241 comments

Not good. (0)

John Hasler (414242) | more than 4 years ago | (#31126592)

> 'Boys aren't hitting each other, girls are busy, and there's not so much
> jumping around,'

This is not good (but then neither are public schools).

the wheels on the bus go (0, Offtopic)

masmullin (1479239) | more than 4 years ago | (#31126602)

... round and round, round and round round and round. The wheels on the bus go round and round...

What does the wifi on the bus go?

Re:the wheels on the bus go (5, Funny)

Shikaku (1129753) | more than 4 years ago | (#31126638)

Up and down... up and down. the wifi on the bus goes down and then, all peace ends.

Re:the wheels on the bus go (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31127498)

The pakis on the bus go bud bud bud, bud bud bud, bud bud bud.

The pakis on the bus go bud bud bud, all day long.

A rolling study hall? (5, Insightful)

newcastlejon (1483695) | more than 4 years ago | (#31126628)

I doubt it.

1-to-10 says they're all on facebook.

Re:A rolling study hall? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31127184)

1-to-10 says they're all on facebook.

Which they probably are in the non-rolling study halls as well.

Re:A rolling study hall? (4, Insightful)

symes (835608) | more than 4 years ago | (#31127568)

I doubt it.

1-to-10 says they're all on facebook.

All in their virtual worlds bullying each other. Just 'cos they are quiet doesn't mean they are being good ;)

behavioral problems have virtually disappeared (4, Interesting)

fph il quozientatore (971015) | more than 4 years ago | (#31126648)

"behavioral problems have virtually disappeared" --- well, that depends on what you consider a behavioral problem. I find it healthier for a bunch of kid to be noisy and hyperactive (even if this involves occasionally hitting each other) than to be all hunched down on their 7'' netbooks checking Facebook.

Re:behavioral problems have virtually disappeared (5, Insightful)

BadAnalogyGuy (945258) | more than 4 years ago | (#31126662)

Maybe it's just me, but I prefer if bullies minded their own business and left the more intellectual of us alone.

The school playground is notorious for encouraging the torment of "nerds" and other social outcasts. If the bus can be turned into another safe zone, that is a good thing, in my e-book.

Re:behavioral problems have virtually disappeared (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31126862)

The school playground is notorious for encouraging the torment of "nerds" and other social outcasts.

And they are outcasts because...?

I was bullied and tormented myself. Looking back now, my only regret is that I didn't have the parental and peer support on how to deal with it - instead I was taught to keep my head down and avoid it. As a result, I grew up with few social skills and lonely as a result.

As I examine people, especially successful ones, the thing I noticed is that the most successful people are not the smartest or the best looking: it's the ones that are charming, have the gift for gab, and can relate to people - social skills. Sure, being tall and good looking really helps - I won't deny that - but that's out of your control. Whereas, learning to relate to others is something that can be learned and the earlier the better.

I know some very intelligent people who were left in the dust career wise by less intelligent people because they just wouldn't learn to relate to people - and I mean wouldn't and not couldn't. They degrade people skills as being for the cheer leaders and "jocks" and sales droids.

Even if you have Asberger's or in my case Schizoid personality disorder, you can still learn - and I've been doing my best because I'm tired of being an outcast - it's done nothing for me.

Re:behavioral problems have virtually disappeared (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31126978)

When I was a kid, I got tired of all the mocking and bullying. One day, I snapped and threw a bully down a short set of stairs. Luckily, this was before the days where fighting in school got you arrested, and I only got a detention. However, I let it be known that I wasn't going to put up with that kind of crap anymore, and it virtually stopped around my friends and I.

Re:behavioral problems have virtually disappeared (1)

morari (1080535) | more than 4 years ago | (#31127470)

Bingo. The only way to stop bullying is to make it an undesirable activity. The quickest and easiest way to do that is to beat the bully's brains out one day. ;)

Re:behavioral problems have virtually disappeared (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31127620)

Bingo. The only way to stop bullying is to make it an undesirable activity. The quickest and easiest way to do that is to beat the bully's brains out one day. ;)

Much better to sabotage his car. With luck you might bag his GF or his asshole parents, too.

MOD PARENT UP (2, Insightful)

BenEnglishAtHome (449670) | more than 4 years ago | (#31127654)

A bullying victim can't have a cop or a teacher or a parent standing over them, protecting them all the time. The only people who are always present when bullying occurs are the perp and the victim. The only person who is always available and able to convince the perp that bullying is a bad idea is the victim.

Refuse to be a victim.

Specific instructions as to how to do that would only open this post to criticism based on unimportant details, so I'm not going there. Let the principle stand: You, the victim, can break the cycle of abuse. It's absolutely heartbreaking that so many kids don't figure this out before they're 40 years old.

Re:behavioral problems have virtually disappeared (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31127130)

Fuck you for blaming the victims.

Re:behavioral problems have virtually disappeared (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31127422)

I do have Asperger's Syndrome (diagnosed by a professional, not self-) and was a frequent punching bag at school. It made me very twitchy, suspicious, and cynical. I also developed a high tolerance for physical and emotional abuse. It drove me to learn multiple forms of martial arts, hand-to-hand combat, and serve in combat arms in the army.
It's rather interesting that the "average" grunt has a higher than average IQ. He just has deep psychological issues that need to be worked out. In someone else's flesh. I very nearly took a "job opportunity" with "a family organization", but chose a different path.

If you want to create a killer, subject them to random abuse when they are young. Dog, human. Doesn't matter.

Anything harmless, that will redirect and reduce the violence rendered upon the children, should definitely be evaluated and seriously considered.

Re:behavioral problems have virtually disappeared (4, Insightful)

ZorinLynx (31751) | more than 4 years ago | (#31127468)

As with many things, this is easier said than done.

When you're treated as an outcast, and no matter what you do, you're not allowed to be part of the crowd, you have no choice but retreat to the sides and spend time with the few friends you do have.

I had no interest in sports when I was a kid. I still don't, other than sometimes watching the Superbowl or World Series because they can be fun. That, combined with my intense interest in everything geeky, made me an outcast. What should I have done, pretend to like something I don't just so I could hang out with people who don't like me anyway?

I'm sorry, I'd rather have a small handful of friends I like than a large number of "friends" who I don't care for. I'd rather not have to pretend to be someone I'm not in order to get ahead. Abandoning who you are to conform to an ideal you don't care for is a heck of a lot worse than just accepting you are not part of the "in crowd" and working to live a happy life among those you *can* relate to.

So seriously, wake up, stop blaming yourself. Blame our culture for excluding those who are intellectual. Many other countries aren't like this; their scientists are celebrities. I wish we could be more like them.

Re:behavioral problems have virtually disappeared (3, Insightful)

Krannert IT (1675504) | more than 4 years ago | (#31127808)

Many other countries aren't like this; their scientists are celebrities. I wish we could be more like them.

I would have to disagree with your conclusion. Scientists can be celebrities in any country. The celebrities you speak of have social skills. In the US many scientists have taken on celbrity status, look at Stephen Hawings (while not from the US he is celebrated in this country), Michio Kaku, as well as many others. They all have social skills which MUST be developed in order to attain their status. Other than fellow scientists, who really cares about your chosen subject unless you can explain to them why it is important.

Don't get me wrong, it is not acceptible to abuse other people, I am not at all in favor of beating people up or picking on them. I am not saying that victoms aren't victoms, just that building social skills is critical if you want to be part of society. You can have an IQ of 180 but if you can't communicate with anyone why should anyone else care?

Re:behavioral problems have virtually disappeared (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31127706)

It sounds like it's all in your head. I really doubt you've done anything that can qualify your claims. It sounds more like confirmation bias.

Re:behavioral problems have virtually disappeared (1)

cvtan (752695) | more than 4 years ago | (#31127762)

Grown ups cannot help you deal with a bullying problem. I am not a big supporter of violent responses, but in my experience, the only thing that works is to punch the bully in the nose. This is unfortunate, but true.

Re:behavioral problems have virtually disappeared (1)

hitmark (640295) | more than 4 years ago | (#31126802)

maybe at school or similar, but in a bus with the only adult present being the driver?

Being the one usually getting hit. (3, Interesting)

maillemaker (924053) | more than 4 years ago | (#31126842)

Since I was the one usually getting hit, frankly I dont' wouldn't care what they are were hunched down on as long as it isn't me.

Re:behavioral problems have virtually disappeared (1)

TorKlingberg (599697) | more than 4 years ago | (#31127126)

Why is the Slashdot house view that kids should always be doing exactly what kids 50 years ago were doing? Since when is stuffing a large number of kids in a cramped space for hours with little to do considered important for their development? Anyway, this is high school students. What's so wrong about them using laptops and the internet?

Re:behavioral problems have virtually disappeared (1)

John Hasler (414242) | more than 4 years ago | (#31127260)

> Since when is stuffing a large number of kids in a cramped space for hours
> with little to do considered important for their development?

Since public schools were invented.

Re:behavioral problems have virtually disappeared (1)

pak9rabid (1011935) | more than 4 years ago | (#31127434)

well, that depends on what you consider a behavioral problem. I find it healthier for a bunch of kid to be noisy and hyperactive (even if this involves occasionally hitting each other) than to be all hunched down on their 7'' netbooks checking Facebook.

Well yano...this comes from the same organization that would rather have their kids hopped up on amphetamines than acting like kids.

Re:behavioral problems have virtually disappeared (2, Insightful)

JoeCommodore (567479) | more than 4 years ago | (#31127796)

Me too

Part of school is the social dynamic; yeah I was a outcast nerd, but I got most of my meager mixed social experience from school. It is one of the few controlled environments where you are forced together and taught to interact and communicate. This is very important.

Also I have issues of children being distracted from the outside when in vehicles, I fear that might lead them to difficulty in paying attention to whats going on outside when they learn to drive.

And the zombification of our children continues... (4, Insightful)

Liquidrage (640463) | more than 4 years ago | (#31126650)

Just like good parenting...

Stick a TV/DS/Xbox infront of your kid and they act all perfect.

Can't wait for the virtual elementary school. Just strap your kid to the gurney and put the goggles on 'em.

Re:And the zombification of our children continues (5, Insightful)

miggyb (1537903) | more than 4 years ago | (#31126724)

Right, because before putting wifi on the bus, there were so many opportunities for learning and self-achievement

If anything, making people shut the fuck up in the bus will help the introspective types that just want to be left alone so they can get some reading done. From personal experience, the most distracting thing about reading in the bus was not trying to read through the bumpiness and the constant starting and stopping. No, the most distracting thing was the guy next to me trying to get into a fight with the dude directly in front of me, reducing my personal space to whatever my eye's shortest focal length could be.

Re:And the zombification of our children continues (2, Interesting)

CAIMLAS (41445) | more than 4 years ago | (#31127136)

Right, because before putting wifi on the bus, there were so many opportunities for learning and self-achievement

Actually, you're right. They're missing the mark on the public school mission, and what public schools are best at: socialization.

Really, there's no better argument for mass public schools: get along with those around you and you'll be a good adult, or some such shit. The education is shit, so nothing to remark about as a positive there.

So, truly: the wifi is detracting from the Mission Statement. Someone will probably have to get rid of it.

Re:And the zombification of our children continues (1)

noidentity (188756) | more than 4 years ago | (#31127578)

If anything, making people shut the fuck up in the bus will help the introspective types that just want to be left alone so they can get some reading done.

Indeed, even Mike Tyson agrees [nyiix.org] .

Re:And the zombification of our children continues (1)

subsonic (173806) | more than 4 years ago | (#31127816)

Its not about "shutting the fuck up" or even being introspective (which one should be able to do without a computer/mobile device in their hands). Its about being able to handle yourself without some sort of on demand self-determined audio/visual stimulation.

I am genuinely concerned that kids are living in a world where they are almost always able to distance themselves from the here and now. They are not as empathic, not inclined to listen or engage in, or with, the unfamiliar when its not self-directed. Not that kids aren't 'bored enough' but its being able to genuinely think and act creatively in an otherwise blank slate of time that kids are missing out on. /plus I like to think, "what happens when the bombs fall and we don't have technology to coddle us every single second of our lives?" Power outages become truly devastating when kids are emotionally tethered to their devices.

Re:And the zombification of our children continues (-1, Troll)

markdavis (642305) | more than 4 years ago | (#31126726)

+++ MOD PARENT UP!!!

This is just so typical. Let's not teach children to behave, have patience. imagination, read books, or anything else. Let's just DISTRACT/ENTERTAIN them.

And how many people think that the majority of the kids are using it to do homework or research or learning?

Re:And the zombification of our children continues (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31126742)

These are the most insightful parent and grandparent I have ever had the pleasure of having.

Re:And the zombification of our children continues (1)

cptdondo (59460) | more than 4 years ago | (#31126846)

Well, reading is "distracting" and "entertaining". My kids use their computers to play games, sure. Listen to obnoxious music, sure. But they also study the videos of their swims, (they're competitive swimmers), do homework, write poetry and stories, and such. (I'm sure they're going to be Nobel-winning authors. NOT. But they have fun with it.)

This just takes it up to the next level. I hated riding the bus; I'd rather take the subway. Too many kids being assholes on the bus.

I think all in all this is good. The bus driver has to drive, not be a nanny. The more attention s/he can pay to driving and not to screaming fighting kids, the safer everyone is.

And, best of all, listen to the kids. They like it, although no doubt they didn't quote the disaffected ones.

Re:And the zombification of our children continues (1)

Kjella (173770) | more than 4 years ago | (#31126906)

There's not one minute of my childhood I wished I'd be crammed in a bus being forced to sit still and shut up because it builds character and patience.

Life is short. Wasting away your life because you think you have so much of it is one of the worst things you can do. /says the guy posting on slashdot.

Re:And the zombification of our children continues (1)

couchslug (175151) | more than 4 years ago | (#31126940)

"This is just so typical. Let's not teach children to behave, have patience. imagination, read books, or anything else. Let's just DISTRACT/ENTERTAIN them."

If the choice is between being a bullying beast and a zombie, zombify the little fuckers so they leave the smart kids alone!
BTW stop pretending that "teaching" them to behave is a fucking option without the ability to IMPOSE discipline which is what builds SELF discipline!

Getting them to sit down and shut up is a great accomplishment, and the smart kids can use the net access to their benefit.

Re:And the zombification of our children continues (1)

Dan541 (1032000) | more than 4 years ago | (#31127022)

They are learning to run a virtual farm on facebook.

Re:And the zombification of our children continues (1)

Karlt1 (231423) | more than 4 years ago | (#31126776)

ust like good parenting...

Stick a TV/DS/Xbox infront of your kid and they act all perfect.

Can't wait for the virtual elementary school. Just strap your kid to the gurney and put the goggles on 'em.

So what exactly should the bus driver be doing? Isn't better if he can concentrate on driving the bus instead of disciplining kids?

Re:And the zombification of our children continues (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31127622)

So what exactly should the bus driver be doing? Isn't better if he can concentrate on driving the bus instead of disciplining kids?

Isn't it obvious? He should just drive the bus and ignore the whole Lord of the Flies re-enactment going on in the back.

Re:And the zombification of our children continues (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31126780)

shouldn't that be googles ?

Re:And the zombification of our children continues (4, Funny)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 4 years ago | (#31126868)

Or the idiot parents that get the DVD player in the minivan. That one blows my mind. "Going to the store kids! pick out a movie for the 5 minute ride!"

wow..... just wow....

Re:And the zombification of our children continues (2, Interesting)

demonlapin (527802) | more than 4 years ago | (#31127034)

I can think of a vast number of trips in the car that I experienced as a child that would have been improved a million-fold by the presence of a movie. Driving is usually boring. I did a lot of reading on trips, but that was trouble on long trips - I wouldn't always finish the book when we were near a major metro area.

Most things that kids get dragged along to are things that the adults really don't want the kids around for - like grocery runs - but that would be too expensive to hire a babysitter for every time you wanted to do them. Couple that with increased expectations of supervision by the authorities (see here [latchkey-kids.com] ; Illinois requires supervision at all times for all kids under 14, and the site and several states' CPS suggest that children should be 12 before they're ever left alone), and you've got kids spending a lot more time in the car than thirty years ago. I was left home alone by 7 or 8 for short trips, by 10 for several-hour blocks, and by 12 I was babysitting my sister all day during the summer. I also walked home from school, about a mile, from third grade on. (If the weather was nice, I'd ride my bike both ways, but I liked to sleep late too much to wake up early enough to walk there.)

Re:And the zombification of our children continues (4, Insightful)

Ritchie70 (860516) | more than 4 years ago | (#31127538)

I followed your link, then another link, and found the Illinois law actually says:

Illinois law defines a neglected minor, in part, as "any minor under the age of 14 years whose parent or other person responsible for the minor's welfare leaves the minor without supervision for an unreasonable period of time without regard for the mental or physical health, safety or welfare of that minor."

So based on that little snippet, it says "an unreasonable period of time" and "without regard for their safety."

And that pretty much leaves it to the judge unless those terms are defined.

I don't think it's unreasonable to leave a 12 year old alone for 3 or 4 hours after school if it's a responsible kid.

I do think it's unreasonable to leave him alone for 3 or 4 days.

Re:And the zombification of our children continues (1)

demonlapin (527802) | more than 4 years ago | (#31127782)

You know, it's times like these that I wish I had a sockpuppet account just so I could mod up an insightful commentary on my post.

Re:And the zombification of our children continues (2, Funny)

Sponge Bath (413667) | more than 4 years ago | (#31127058)

Adopt the restraint technique used for Hannibal Lecter in Silence of the Lambs: Face mask, straight jacket, and tied to a hand cart for easy mobility.

Parent: How was school today?
Child: mmrrmmph...
Parent: Awww, isn't that special.

Re:And the zombification of our children continues (1)

hamburger lady (218108) | more than 4 years ago | (#31126924)

well, you gotta remember these are long-ass bus trips we're talking about. more than an hour each way. conversation with the kid next to you only goes so far, and i'm sure at least some of the kids appreciate the chance to work on some homework.

Re:And the zombification of our children continues (2, Interesting)

gmuslera (3436) | more than 4 years ago | (#31126958)

Pretty much depend on what they are doing while there, what you consider "education", and how much you consider education what they would be doing if that werent implemented. In any case, the main difference between internet and the things that parents put them at home, is that tv is not even interactive, and games are usually alone, no interaction with others.

Anyway, if they are so plugged at the bus, then at home they wouldnt be tv/ds/xbox, but pretty much at what they are doing at the bus.

BTW, i live in Uruguay, where most school children have an XO (and few days i read that they plan to give them to even younger kids), and there seem to be a trend to be quieter and plugged to them for some children at least. I hope that that kind of education don't have a clear negative effect (if it will be the end of childhood, please that be the A.C.Clarke version)

Re:And the zombification of our children continues (1)

slugstone (307678) | more than 4 years ago | (#31127490)

This is a school bus ride. No teacher involved. You can ride the bus to help the school bus driver with the kids.

Re:And the zombification of our children continues (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31127556)

You cannot possibly be a parent. The Wii, DS2, PS2 and any other gaming system we have had in this house has caused nothing but infighting and sabotage.

sounds ominous (4, Insightful)

digitalhermit (113459) | more than 4 years ago | (#31126654)

I know, I know. This is robably a good thing. Kids fighting on a school bus is probably not the safest thing. But on reading the article, I can't help but compare it to medicating a kid so he doesn't run around as much and so he's docile and well behaved and compliant and conforming. That's scary to me.

Re:sounds ominous (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31127046)

All this "compare it to medicating a kid" talk completely overlooks the safety aspect of the situation. If you're the bus driver, your attention needs to be on the road and on traffic, not the guys in the middle of the bus trying to fight. But, it's ultimately the driver's responsibility for maintaining discipline on the bus. If they're not being a distraction to the driver (you know, the one person during the ride that literally holds these kids' lives in the palm of his hand), then it's a much safer bus. (Sure, you could hire bus monitors for EVERY BUS, but that's terribly expensive and/or cuts into the drivers' already meager pay. You have to have some way to retain bus driving employees and currently, it's with benefits - cut into their pay and you lose drivers only to replace them with cheaper people. Yes, I mean 'low quality'.)

Second, it's not like there was much of an opportunity for education on the school bus prior to this idea. At least this gives them the *chance* to learn and explore knowledge. Whether they take that chance (instead of gaming or "social networking") is up to the kids.

Embrace the power of porn... (3, Interesting)

Manip (656104) | more than 4 years ago | (#31126666)

The boys are all looking at porn, and the girls are on social networks discussing how to get their boy's attention or how to make themselves look nicer than the professional porn stars...

In all seriousness however, in ten years I imagine that the internet will be accessible in every location and being unable to access the internet in the middle of the desert or on top of a mountain will result in some serious complaints to the phone companies.

Re:Embrace the power of porn... (1)

owlstead (636356) | more than 4 years ago | (#31126970)

Boys looking at porn with a bus-full of their classmates? Girls making themselves looking nicer than professional porn stars - you think porn stars in general are beautiful? Are you sure you aren't projecting your own look at the world to everybody else? Or is this place you are living in that screwed up?

Re:Embrace the power of porn... (1)

kent_eh (543303) | more than 4 years ago | (#31127256)

Boys looking at porn with a bus-full of their classmates? Girls making themselves looking nicer than professional porn stars - you think porn stars in general are beautiful?

Of course not, but the girls see that those porn stars have the attention of the boys, and they want to draw that attention so....

The WiFi on the Bus... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31126674)

Song:
The WiFi on the bus goes up and down,
up and down, up and down... /Song

Meh (5, Funny)

ascari (1400977) | more than 4 years ago | (#31126692)

Over engineering if you ask me. The same result can be accomplished with a roll of duct tape. Silence is golden, duct tape is silver as the saying goes.

Re:Meh (3, Insightful)

selven (1556643) | more than 4 years ago | (#31126746)

Or make them propel the bus using pedals with their own feet. That also keeps them busy and saves energy too.

Re:Meh (3, Insightful)

hedwards (940851) | more than 4 years ago | (#31126806)

Or, you know, make sure that kids have to live closer to where they go to school and then make them walk to school. Even cheaper than duct tape.

Re:Meh (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31127006)

180 school days / year * 2 walks (home and back) * 50 calories per walk = 18,000 calories
18,000 calories / 250 calories per candy bar = 72 candy bars
72 candy bars * .75 cents per candy bar = $54.00

According to This site: [americansc...ouncil.org]

Average fuel use per school bus per year (gallons) 1,714
Total fuel used by all school buses per year (gallons) 822,857,143
Cost of diesel fuel per gallon (Source: Energy Information Administration, June 26, 2009) $2.608
Cost of gasoline per gallon (Source: Energy Information Administration, June 26, 2009) $2.642
Cost of diesel fuel per bus per year $4,471
Total cost of diesel fuel for all buses per year $2,146,011,429
Annual cost of fuel per child transported by school bus $43

It would, in fact, be cheaper (on average) to transport children via bus than to feed them candy bars to make up for the lost calories on the walk to and from school. Sure, you could probably find healthier and cheaper calorie sources, but what fun is that?

Re:Meh (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31127338)

This is America we're talking about. The majority of people have more than anough fat to burn off. ;)

Re:Meh (3, Interesting)

kent_eh (543303) | more than 4 years ago | (#31127302)

Or, you know, make sure that kids have to live closer to where they go to school and then make them walk to school.

You have never lived outside of a densely populated urban area, have you?
As a farm kid, I spent about an hour on the bus each day.
I did ride my bike some days when it was warm enough, but 6 miles each way (2 of which were gravel road) took a lot of time away from chores, homework and sports.

Our bus driver installed a car stereo in the bus (at his own expense) and put on the rock station to keep us quiet.

Re:Meh (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31127396)

but more buildings are not. I'm assuming that this is in rural AZ. Say 45 kids that are a on a 3 hour loop out from town. Not everyone wants to live in a population center. I guess the other option would to be "everyone farther than X from the school needs to arenge their own transportation to school." That would leave alot of the poorer families without education, but that seems to be the "american way" as of late.

Re:Meh (1)

Qzukk (229616) | more than 4 years ago | (#31127664)

Bah, if schools took their babysitting responsibilities seriously, they'd run from 9 to 5 with activities before and after so that the working parents could drop their kids off at the daycare on the way to work and pick them up on the way back.

Re:Meh (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31127386)

The Americans spent hundreds of dollars installing wifi and purchasing netbooks to keep their kids quiet. The Russians just used a roll of duct tape.

Had nothing to do with the Ritalin? (1)

syousef (465911) | more than 4 years ago | (#31126738)

I don't know about this. I'd assume that if kids were behaving so wildly Internet access wouldn't help the situation. Kids would just beat each other up for mobile devices, surf for porn etc. Personally I think they've found a way to emit Ritalin waves via the wireless transmitter. Now please excuse me, I'm late to an appointment with the drycleaner. My tinfoil hat was getting rather dirty.

Benefit of Online Social Networking (2, Interesting)

gregux (600239) | more than 4 years ago | (#31126800)

The kids never actually have to interact with one another. Problem solved.

Re:Benefit of Online Social Networking (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31126850)

Sign me up!

Anonymous Coward (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31126854)

Sounds great! Growing up in a mixed suburban / rural environment, I had to endure an hour-long bus ride each way every day for the first three years of high school until, finally, the county added a second high school 15 minutes from my house in my senior year. Of course, by this point, I had gotten my first car, so I no longer had to ride the bus anyway. I spent those hour-long bus rides the first 3 years of HS sleeping with my walkman on- it sure beat staying awake from 6-7am every morning riding on the bus. I can only imagine what fun I might have had with a system like this in place - not that I would necessarily use it for educational purposes, but it sure would have helped to fill that long, boring ride with something more productive than sleep.

$200 router, $720/year for service (2, Insightful)

Overzeetop (214511) | more than 4 years ago | (#31126874)

In a time when school budgets are being slashed, this is pretty expensive. You put this on 50 buses and you've just lost a teacher.

That's really about the only thing which would make me dislike the service. Buses are notoriously rowdy places, and hotbeds for bullying. If you have a long bus ride, it probably could function as a partial study hall - especially with the filtering that most public schools put in place. Even if the kids are just pulling up online magazines to read, or chatting with friends, it's not that bad - their gainfully occupied and relatively quiet.

A bunch of posters seem to think that a bus should be rowdy. Why? Is the bus driver not normally distracted enough? And what, exactly, is "normal" or "free" about sticking 30 kids in an enclosed space for 45 minutes twice a day with nothing to do? It sucks. Might as well give them something to do that doesn't involve carrying (yet more) books to read on the way, or give them an option other that talking/arguing with the 6 other kids that happen to sit near them.

Re:$200 router, $720/year for service (1)

John Hasler (414242) | more than 4 years ago | (#31127292)

> A bunch of posters seem to think that a bus should be rowdy.

The school busses I rode weren't rowdy. But then, that was fifty years ago...

Re:$200 router, $720/year for service (1)

longhunt (1641141) | more than 4 years ago | (#31127404)

I wonder how long it takes them to hit the 5GB/month data limit, with 45 kids watching video.

A day?

An hour?

wifi imply loaded bus (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31126912)

great roberry target

mental and social development (1)

arikol (728226) | more than 4 years ago | (#31126914)

mental and social development is more that just studying.
Boys and girls use different methods to increase their social competence and one important element is their little fighting, shouting and jumping. The girls should also make noise and difficult towards each other. This is necessary. Educators should know this. Well, good educators, anyway.

And kids should not be studying on the bus at all. This attitude of "more TIME spent studying = better" needs to go the way of the Dodo. Socializing is probably even MORE important. And I know most of /. probably got beaten up on the school bus, but that was also a part of finding our social circle and knowing how to behave around jocks and other idiots. Part of the reason that you are an alpha geek is that you figured out that you don't have anything in common with those half-simian mooks on the school bus..

But seriously. BAD idea.

Re:mental and social development (1)

demonlapin (527802) | more than 4 years ago | (#31127088)

If you get your studying done on the bus, where you're trapped and basically can't do anything about it, your time is yours as soon as you get home, which almost anybody would prefer. I did homework at home maybe one night a week when I was in high school, mainly because I got it done while I was still at school. Same idea - it's a study hall.

Of course, I never rode a bus...

Re:mental and social development (4, Insightful)

selven (1556643) | more than 4 years ago | (#31127210)

The internet is more than just studying. You can take a Wikipedia link hopping trip and see what you learn, you can read the news, you can read and post on Slashdot, and you can go on Facebook/Myspace/Twitter/email. Notice how the first three are educational but without relating to your school subjects and the last two are in fact forms of socializing.

Re:mental and social development (1)

John Hasler (414242) | more than 4 years ago | (#31127416)

> mental and social development is more that just studying.

Yes. It involves engaging in social and physical activity (including real productive work) in mixed groups of children and adults.

Too bad most children never get that. Instead they get public school and television.

Re:mental and social development (1)

argent (18001) | more than 4 years ago | (#31127528)

And I know most of /. probably got beaten up on the school bus, but that was also a part of finding our social circle and knowing how to behave around jocks and other idiots.

And part of that was jocks learning how to behave around normal people. I've had bosses who were jocks. Did they beat me up? No, they asked me for advice, 'cos that's what they were paying me for. One of the ways they learned that was by being around people who were actually doing geek stuff when they didn't have to.

Learning that you don't have to be a rowdy yobbo to have fun is useful. Who knows, maybe some of them will actually discover that it's handy to have a few geeks in their social circle earlier in life.

They're being poisoned by the WiFi (1)

SlappyBastard (961143) | more than 4 years ago | (#31126928)

Geez. Everyone knows that all signals cause cancer or enable the government to control our minds!

New? (0, Troll)

ockancc1701 (703931) | more than 4 years ago | (#31126968)

So what is novel about this, the WiFi on the bus, or the fact that it is a school bus? Internet access is getting more and more widespread, this was only a matter of time. http://www.oxfordtube.com/wifi.html [oxfordtube.com] I used WiFi on a bus to Oxford two years ago.

Not in Asia (2, Funny)

jginspace (678908) | more than 4 years ago | (#31127050)

I just took a trip to Penang. Wifi buses are widespread there - perhaps 1 in every 5 that pulled up. I just wonder when bystanders will start staging 'accidents' so they can finish their surfing ...

Naturally (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31127014)

Kids behave nicely if you give them drugs-, I mean The Internet

Been done before (2, Informative)

barberousse (1432239) | more than 4 years ago | (#31127316)

I occasionally take the Montreal-Magog bus in Quebec. This is a 90 minutes ride, mostly highway. Still, the bus has access to the Internet through free wifi. It's especially good considering most of the ride is through rural areas.

It's good and bad. (1)

MrCrassic (994046) | more than 4 years ago | (#31127366)

This is a good thing in the sense that it gives students an opportunity to be more productive during a time that they normally wouldn't be. However, being rowdy and stupid on the school bus is part of being a high-schooler. Kids at that age should be loud and crazy, simply because they won't get the opportunity to do that elsewhere or when they age. Sure, some people might get the short end of the stick (I did when I was in HS and middle school, though I almost always walked to school), but I always thought it was part of growing up.

While I don't regret the way my high school years panned out, some social issues I'm facing now would have certainly been made easier to deal with had I relaxed a little back then. Being quiet and structured all the time has its flaws.

Re:It's good and bad. (1)

RyuuzakiTetsuya (195424) | more than 4 years ago | (#31127818)

Kids at that age should be loud and crazy, simply because they won't get the opportunity to do that elsewhere or when they age

That's an interesting assertion.

Got any proof?

New Policy Needed (0, Offtopic)

b4upoo (166390) | more than 4 years ago | (#31127378)

It is an outrage that students get stuck on school buses for hundreds of hours each year. We need laws that assign students to the closest school available and also laws that requite counties to build schools that serve every area as best as can be done. I am aware that Texas sprawls quite a bit and Arizona surely has similar problems. But we see students in highly urban areas who still are on busses for three hours a day.

From free-WiFi-all-over-the-place courtry. (2, Informative)

zoom-ping (905112) | more than 4 years ago | (#31127420)

Most Estonian railway and bus companies have been offering free WiFi via Kõu (thunder) [www.kou.ee] on longer rides for some years now. Loving it.

Why Take Laptops to School? (0, Troll)

TheStonepedo (885845) | more than 4 years ago | (#31127564)

I graduated from college in the winter of 2006. With the exception of the computer science department, very few college students needed personal laptops at school.
Why should primary or secondary school students lug laptops from home to school and back when most schools have controlled computer labs and most towns have public libraries? The complexity and cost of distributing and maintaining laptops seems unnecessary.
Laptops and per-bus wifi seem like an expensive way to lessen the dullness of trips to and from school.

Bad Idea (1)

BlackHawk-666 (560896) | more than 4 years ago | (#31127636)

Some say your school years are the best years of your life, but that's really looking through rose tinted glasses. There's bullying, isolation, social discomfit, inferiority complexes, and all manner of other things. There are good things too, and for most of us it's the friends we make at school.

I agree with the general consensus, those kids aren't studying up for the next exam - they're on Facebook / Twitter / Myspace or downloading pr0n. Now, what they should be doing instead of placing a bloody great big laptop shaped barrier between themselves and the other kids is SOCIALISING with the group of people that will most likely be their friends from here till death. Who are your friends in middle age? It's your school chums and work mates for many. Any new barrier between them and you is a potential lifelong loss of friendship.

Now if you'll excuse me, I'm off to Facebook to see what my old school friends and previous work mates are chatting about today.

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