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Highline students test emergency tech aboard newly retrofitted bus

Schools are looking for new ways to teach technology skills, especially in districts where kids don't have access to the costly tools you need to teach these lessons.

Highline Public Schools is using an old bus to teach kids about technology and emergency preparedness.

It pulls up at a school, deploys several activity stations, and allows kids to learn about science, virtual reality, 3D printing, circuitry, and much more.

The Maker Bus is a way for the district to share technology tools with students at several schools. A specialized lab in a building might only benefit a small percentage of the district’s population.

“It would be really costly to have these kinds of technology pieces at every school,” said Haley Wagner, a personalized learning specialist.

Highline spent $70,000 converting the old school bus into a teaching classroom. It doubles as a mobile command center, which can help the district coordinate with police, fire, and other first responders during an emergency.

The bus, which visited Mar Vista School in Normandy Park, Monday, is stocked with emergency supplies and also has a ham radio, which students got to try.

“This year we’ve had a chance to impact over 800 students, so our goal has been to reach as many classrooms as we can,” Wagner said.

A representative from the Washington Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction was at Mar Vista, learning more about the Maker Bus, and looking for ways to expand the concept to other districts.

“This should go to all the schools so everyone can see how cool it is,” said Lorelle Boyd, 11.

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