I mentioned recently my jaunt down to Memphis for the Tennessee Association of Independent Schools' annual Technology Institute, but it's been bugging me lately that I didn't share out a particularly interesting coincidence. The closing keynote speaker, Nashville educator Jim Kelley shared out several great videos. One in particular struck a note that sounded like home: the NBC News feature coverage of Vanderbilt's own Billy Hudson and his "Aspirnauts" program, the fantastic initiative he's brought to his small Arkansas home county to bring laptops to children on rural school buses. I gather that rural communities struggled for years to keep their local schools, finally succumbing to the urbanization of their counties and thereby losing the tax base needed to support local schools. As a consequence, students in Arkansas often spend up to 5 hours a day riding school buses.
As I reported quite some time ago (June 2007) in my Snacks4theBrain! interview with him, Hudson thought to himself, hmmmmm, what if they had internet connected laptops and media devices that would let them put that previously wasted time to productive use? The NBC video says much more than I might about his project, and I humbly offer it here. To read more about it, visit the story's archive at MSNBC.com.
Enjoy, and if you happen to know any corporations looking to make a really significant contribution to the future of education, what if school buses all over the nation were outfitted like this? Take a look at the difference it's making in its pilot group: