Google today announced an expansion of its Rolling Study Halls initiative that gives 16 additional school districts and “thousands” of students access to Wi-Fi and Chromebooks on their buses. The program will expand on two pilots in North Carolina and South Carolina that include 16 additional school districts, starting with the Deer Trail district in Colorado. If all of this goes well, Google will reclaim about 1.5 million hours for “thousands” of students by the end of the school year.
By proving dependable Wi-Fi access before and after school helps those that might lack broadband internet at home, and gives them two opportunities daily to complete their homework, assignments or study for their exams while on the bus. Google is contributing mobile Wi-Fi routers, data plans, and Chromebook devices. This program is in the work of a partnership between Google and the Consortium for School Networking (CoSN).
Google adds that schools will set the policies for the onboard access, so they are able to limit kids to class-related websites. There’s no question that Google will benefit from this program: the company brings Chromebooks in front of students who might only see them in classrooms, if ever at all. It helps to level the playing field for rural kids who had to either cut into greatly limited free time or suffer academically.