The Internet can be incredibly easy to take for granted at this day in age. Most everything we do is online, and thanks to expansions from mobile networks and home internet providers, more people are connected than ever before. However, for folks that live in rural parts of the United States, getting online can still be a challenge.
To help combat this, Google’s been soft-launching a program over the last couple years called “Rolling Study Halls — an initiative that outfits school buses with free Wi-Fi and Chromebooks so students can get online and complete homework on the way to and from school each day.
Thanks to its successful early runs, Rolling Study Halls is now expanding to “thousands” of students across 16 school districts in 12 states — including Alabama, Colorado, Georgia, Kansas, Minnesota, New Mexico, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and Virginia.
Why use school buses as a way to connect students? There are numerous kids in rural parts of the country that don’t have Internet access at home, and at some districts like Gamewell Middle School in North Carolina, school bus rides can take a long time:
Approximately 67 percent of the Gamewell Middle School population is assigned to one of the nine standard yellow buses. More than 400 miles are logged on the Gamewell Middle School buses each day, and throughout the district, the average bus route is 1.5 hours in the morning and in the afternoon.
I can certainly vouch for the lack of reliable Internet connectivity as someone that grew up in a farm town of fewer than 1000 people, so I think it’s great that Google’s able to expand this program to so many more students.
What’s your take on this?