New program provides Wi-Fi to Santa Fe school buses | KOB 4
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New program provides Wi-Fi to Santa Fe school buses

Patrick Price
May 04, 2018 02:57 PM

SANTA FE, N.M. – Students at Santa Fe Public Schools are getting a chance to learn while heading to and from school. It's all through Google's Rolling Study Hall Program, which gives students Internet access while on longer commutes.

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The new technology could give students at Milagro Middle School a potential for an extra 180 hours of instruction during the entire school year.

"Wi-Fi-connected buses with onboard educators and devices," said Alex Sanchez, program manager for the Rolling Study Hall Program.

There's a lot of new technology and support that might be unknown to many students, which is why U.S. Sen. Tom Udall backs the program.

"The issue at home is that we have many areas in the country that aren't connected," said Udall, D-N.M.

Officials with Google emphasize the importance of the technology, saying there's a digital divide when it comes to students learning outside of school.

"Some students don't have internet home. Actually, 70 percent of teachers assign homework that requires internet access and less than 30 percent of families don't have internet access," Sanchez said.

And time really isn't a concern. In fact, these students have a lot of time on their hands. Some of their commutes to and from school can span several hours, giving them the opportunity to learn a little bit more.

"For students to be able to take that time and be able to say, I need to do homework, I have this school project, let me collaborate with one of my fellow students that we're working on," he said.

Six of the 11 buses transporting students at Milagro Middle are outfitted with the WIFI technology.

"The more interconnected we are, the more we can utilize our talent and our resources," Udall said.

It'll allow students to spend less time on homework at home and more time just being kids.

The program is fully funded through $85,000 worth of grants. Google helped fund the technical aspects as well as stipends for teachers to be on board while CoSN provided educational opportunities to the students and schools.

The Santa Fe Public School District is one of 16 communities across the country taking part in the program.

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Patrick Price

Copyright 2018 KOB-TV LLC, a Hubbard Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved

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