school bus The Huntsville ISD Board just voted to purchase a new upgrade on their school buses. The buses will have Wi-Fi installed, which runs through a router. Anywhere the bus goes, the students and bus driver will be able to access the internet. The District knows that many kids have to ride on the bus for an hour each day, some more and some less. They want to allow the students the ability to use their computers and work on their school assignments while riding on the bus. The Wi-Fi will have the same internet filters that are used at the schools.

The technology that the district is purchasing has additional benefits for parents:

⦁ GPS will allow parents to know where their child is picked up and dropped off. Parents will be able to see when their child is within a 5 mile range of their drop-off point. The school district will have the ability to track the buses and know where they are at all times.

⦁ The district will be able to send out tweets and messages to parents. The messages will be about the bus schedule, how many stops the bus has that day, if it is early, or if it is running late. The parents will also receive messages notifying them that the child was picked up and is on their way to school. Parents will also be notified that their student has arrived safely at an out-of-town game. Parents will be notified when the bus is 15 minutes away, so they will no longer have to wait for a late bus.

HISD already has cameras with audio and visual installed on the buses. The school district will have a live view of those cameras. The cameras allow the district to see the doorway, inside the bus, and a view out of the front windshield. This will be especially helpful during emergency situations.

The driver will use an android tablet that will be placed in a cradle mounted on the bus. The GPS will allow drivers to have turn-by-turn directions of the route, ensuring that they make correct stops. It will also have pictures of the students, so that the bus driver can recognize them and report that the student is on the bus. Both of these items are especially helpful when a substitute bus driver needs to drive a route.

Another unique and important safety feature is that mechanics will be notified and be able to diagnose problems with a bus from a distance. When the bus shows an electronic notification, like a “check engine” light, the mechanic can determine how to proceed. If necessary, the bus can be stopped and the mechanic dispatched to repair it without any further damage. This will save the district money because it will prevent more expensive repairs to the buses, by diagnosing them right away. In a scenario like this, parents would be notified immediately about the breakdown. In this case, another school bus would be sent to take the children to their stops.

The students will be able to use the Wi-Fi with any device they have. This will be a great asset to them. It will t each the students time management skills by giving them the opportunity to complete their homework while riding home on the bus.

Next year, the district plans to provide every student in 6th grade and above with a Chromebook that will have their textbooks from every subject installed on it. The HISD will have 15 buses equipped with this technology for the 2016-2017 school year.

Any additional questions? Go to this link,, scroll down to Tim Hooks and e-mail him.