Francy Mata, a junior athlete at Dr. Jorge Alvarez High School in Providence, knows geometry is not his strong suit.
That sense was underscored when he shared his PSAT test results with Adrianna Ramirez, a senior at Providence College who is tutoring Mata in a new mobile learning lab making its way around New England.
For Mata, who is an all-star linebacker, excels at track and field and hopes to be college-bound next year, taking time out of his after-school hours to work on improving his PSAT scores for the SAT wasn’t an option. But working with Ramirez on Monday mornings has helped him identify his weaknesses and focus on them, and doing the work on a wireless device has made it easier, he said.
“I never thought you could actually do schoolwork on the tablet,” he said. “I had used a tablet to play games. It’s definitely helping me a lot.”
Gutted and retrofitted with comfortable seating, wireless Internet connectivity, individual workstations and wireless tablets, the school bus picks up Ramirez and other PC tutors one day a week and brings them to Alvarez, where the students there take an hour out of their school day to study for the college entrance exam they expect to take or retake in May.
“The old chalk-and-talk SAT classes serve some kids,” explained David Tedeschi, the teacher/leader for guidance at Alvarez. “[But] the technology in this medium is engaging many more students. You’re engaging students in a way they’re comfortable. It’s the way of the world now.”
Conceived and outfitted through a partnership between Verizon Wireless and Samsung, the bus provided a mobile learning space for students in inner-city Boston and Worcester, Mass., last year, and then came to Providence in the fall of 2013, said Shakey Kessisian, Verizon Wireless’ associate director of marketing for the New England region.