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Original article can be found on Bonners Ferry News.

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 (Photo  by www.newsbf.com)

"We have something pretty exciting going on that you might be interested in," Dr. Jacob Francom, Superintendent of Troy Public Schools, wrote last week. "We now offer internet service on our activity bus and we also have devices students can check out through the library that will provide internet at home. It's pretty cool stuff!"

According to the American School Bus Council, 26 million students ride a school bus each year. Even students with a relatively short commute, can spend hundreds of hours on the school bus over the course of the school year. When you add it all up, it is estimated that U.S. students spend a staggering 520-million school days on buses each year!

Now students in Troy riding the activities bus to and from games and other activities can put that time on the bus to good use thanks to Kajeet Smartbus, which allows school buses to be equipped with 4G LTE connectivity pre-configured with safe education-content filters to keep students focused on schoolwork and not on distractions.

And students who don't have internet access at home, which is quite a few in remote northwest Montana, can now visit the high school library and check out a Kajeet SmartSpot, a device that will enable students to access a 4G network on any of the four major carriers, giving them internet access on any Wi-Fi compatible device, filtered specifically for school use.

It's no wonder Dr. Francom, who is also principal at Troy Junior and Senior High, is so stoked.

"It has helped many of our students stay caught up on their homework," he said, "without the distractions and pitfalls common to the internet."

The Kajeet story began more than 15 years ago with three dads figuring out how mobile technology, kids and parents work best. Thinking of their own kids, ("Kajeet" is an acronym of the first letters of the names of the company's founders' children), they designed a service to provide their kids with everything they need to safely explore the exciting world of mobile technology.

The Kajeet SmartSpot is a portable Wi-Fi hotspot device that provides students with safe, education-only Internet access wherever there is cellular coverage, allowing them to access the Internet outside the classroom to complete homework, read online materials, collaborate with classmates or connect with teachers. 

What they can't do is access any entertainment, adult, or inappropriate content sites. No private information, such as student name, login information, account numbers, etc., is collected or retained, though the school does have the capability to track device usage trends, such as sites visited.

The Kajeet devices offer educational broadband access, with built-in filters to block not just inappropriate content, but social media sites, entertainment sites such as Netflix and Hulu ... they even have time of day controls to restrict access from 11 p.m. to 6 a.m. so over zealous students won't be tempted to work all night and miss the sleep they need to perform well the next day.

Students using the Kajeet systems even get lessons in safe internet use that will serve them well for years to come; 
  • Never respond to harassing or rude texts, messages and e-mails.
  • Never give out your password to anyone other than your parent or guardian.
  • If you wouldn’t say something to another person’s face, don’t post it online!
  • Think before posting your photos. Do not post or send semi-nude or nude pictures of yourself or anyone else!
  • Never post your personal information such as cell phone number, address, or the name of your school online. 
  • Be aware that information you give out through any website could put you at risk of bullying or other types of victimization.
  • Never agree to meet in person with anyone you first “met” online.
  • Be aware that posting information about your friends puts them at risk.

To learn more, visit the Kajeet website or contact Dr. Francom at (406) 295-4520.

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