Back in 2004, LIRNEasia got on the WiFi bandwagon. Ours was one of the first WiFi offices in Colombo (we had trouble getting suppliers who knew what they were doing) and we installed WiFi temporarily at the Mount Lavinia Hotel for our launch conference.
One of the unexpected results was that it caused people to hang around the conference room, including after the sessions ended (a rather surprising outcome in an exceptional beach hotel). It seems that WiFi and the easy connectivity it gives has this effect universally:
Students endure hundreds of hours on yellow buses each year getting to and from school in this desert exurb of Tucson, and stir-crazy teenagers break the monotony by teasing, texting, flirting, shouting, climbing (over seats) and sometimes punching (seats or seatmates).
But on this chilly morning, as bus No. 92 rolls down a mountain highway just before dawn, high school students are quiet, typing on laptops.
Morning routines have been like this since the fall, when school officials mounted a mobile Internet router to bus No. 92’s sheet-metal frame, enabling students to surf the Web. The students call it the Internet Bus, and what began as a high-tech experiment has had an old-fashioned — and unexpected — result. Wi-Fi access has transformed what was often a boisterous bus ride into a rolling study hall, and behavioral problems have virtually disappeared.