For many students in rural Arkansas, the learning doesn't stop when they leave school for the day.
Working with the Aspirnaut Program, a product of Vanderbilt University, Arkansas education officials have outfitted a number of buses with multiple ceiling-mounted screens that show educational content to students riding to and from school. Each bus has five screens, in different sections of the vehicle, showing different content. Younger students sit at the front, and the back is for older students. Each seat has headphones.
Programming is all educational, all the time, with the list of feeds including the Discovery Channel, NASA, PBS, and the Smithsonian Institute. Some students ride more than 90 minutes each way, and school officials say they are glad that the students can keep on learning.
So far, bus drivers have reported a definite drop in the noise level, along with a noticeable interest in what's onscreen. Teachers hope that that interest carries over into the classroom.
The program is similar to one done three years ago that gave students laptops and iPods to use on a bus equipped with wireless Internet.