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Published on November 30th, 2015 | by Alexis Argent

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Kanawha County Schools implement 4G LTE WiFi to enable learning and improve student outcomes

The largest school district in West Virginia provides secure connectivity on school buses for increased educational time

Cradlepoint, the global leader in cloud-delivered 4G LTE network solutions (Cradlepoint 4G Routers) for distributed enterprises have announced that Kanawha County Schools has chosen Cradlepoint to support in vehicle connectivity for the county’s 158 school buses. Kanawha County Schools is the first West Virginia school district to provide students with WiFi on buses throughout the district. In vehicle connectivity enables Kanawha County students to complete homework assignments, access electronic textbooks, and utilize educational software from school administered instructional tablets during commutes to and from school and sporting events. With the abundance of after school activities, WiFi access will offer students the resources to get ahead in their schoolwork without compromising evenings and late nights.

Students can spend upwards of 45 minutes to an hour on the bus each day. Between extracurricular activities and responsibilities at home and work, often times these students are up late at night and in the early morning trying to complete their school assignments,” said Dr. Ron Duerring, superintendent at Kanawha County Schools. “With WiFi-enabled buses, we are providing our students with a controlled and monitored learning environment that gives them the flexibility to meet both their personal and academic commitments. We believe this is one more innovative and leading-edge way we are meeting the educational needs of our students.”

Kanawha County school system has approximately 28,000 elementary, middle, and high school students in its district. Last year the county distributed over 14,000 tablet computers to its middle and high school students to complete homework assignments, access online reading material, and utilize educational software. WiFi access is limited to school issued tablets only and offers the same secure, controlled network access that is available in the classroom. In the future, the county has plans to use its buses to provide free WiFi to local community neighborhoods that currently do not have Internet access.

When this initiative began, we conducted extensive research on the connectivity options available and quickly concluded that Cradlepoint was the right partner to help us extend the learning environment for our students beyond the classroom walls,” said Leah Sparks, director of technology at Kanawha County Schools. “Students are not only reaping the benefits of being able to establish connectivity while on the buses, but our bus drivers are also reporting calmer, better-behaved conduct during the commutes.”

Today’s students are growing up with the expectation of ‘always on’ connectivity. By providing in-vehicle connectivity on school buses Kanawha County students are able to utilize down time in a more productive way, enabling better student outcomes. Teachers also have the resources to extend their educational influence outside of the classroom as they turn travel time to and from field trips into instructional time,” said Ian Pennell, chief marketing officer at Cradlepoint. “Cradlepoint is ensuring the most efficient and reliable 4G LTE connectivity to guarantee these critical learning tools are always accessible. Kanawha County is demonstrating a proactive approach to providing their students with the necessary tools to be successful in their educational careers.”

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