Student Tracking: A Beginners Guide

September 23, 2021


Student Tracking: A Beginners Guide

When we talk about asset tracking, we usually refer to those components of an organization that require a certain amount of surveillance to keep operations running smoothly; for example: fleet vehicles, equipment, cargo or construction materials. But what about assets outside of big business or public works? What are the possibilities?


With back-to-school being top of mind for parents and educators, there are new opportunities for asset tracking. Schools are now seeing the value in tracking their buses, and software applications such as BusETA have allowed both parents and school administrators to keep tabs on school buses and their most precious assets of all — the students themselves.


In this post, we’ll examine asset tracking as it applies to schools and students, which we’ll collectively refer to as student tracking. We’ll examine what it is, how it works, and why it matters.


What is a bus tracking system?


Equipping school buses with electronic tracking devices is a smart idea; providing school administrators with intelligent data about their bus fleets saves time, money and resources. Connecting that data to a software solution such as BusETA gives admins a holistic overview of their entire fleet operations, from end to end. 


Furthermore, schools can share these data sets with parents for a smarter school bus experience and improved customer service. Respond quickly to parent concerns by knowing how your route is actually run compared to the schedule. BusETA is an app that is easy to use and enables parents to see the location of their child’s school bus on either their tablet, smartphone or personal computer. No more frequent calls to the office wondering when a school bus is going to arrive at its destination. With a full-service bus tracking system, parents and schools can both stay in the know with a simple swipe. 


How does school bus tracking work?


BusETA provides a smarter school bus experience by offering real-time arrival and departure information for parents and schools. The easy to use app delivers valuable information around driver time, attendance and student ridership. Parents and admins can receive notifications and updates on the bus’ location and arrival, as well as notifications when a student boards or departs the bus. Admins can easily set routes, assign vehicles and schedules, allowing parents to see live updates on their mobile app. 

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Furthermore, BusETA is integrated with our Zenduit ecosystem to create and review multiple routes, monitor multiple travellers and allow their guardians to log their information in the event of an emergency. Having access to this telematics data offers a host of benefits around vehicle maintenance, route optimization and student safety.


What are the benefits of school bus tracking?


BusETA is a flexible and intuitive solution for school admins and parents, with a roster of tools that can help optimize fleet performance, increase efficiency and improve routing. GPS technology allows you to evaluate routes that are running early or late so you can adjust them accordingly and improve efficiency by comparing planned routes against actual routes, so you can view and assess the variations that can alter even the best laid plans.


Real-time tracking offers detailed reporting and essential data sets for admins, including comparative performance analysis, including duration of routes, number of stops performed, as well as key diagnostics data. Real-time reporting offers smarter insights into critical maintenance needs, addressing vehicle issues before they become problems to optimize your fleet while ensuring the safety of students.


BusETA ensures peak efficiency with detailed safety data points, which can identify driving patterns like speeding, harsh braking/turning or other aggressive driving behaviours. These points can create powerful metrics for improved safety and performance through driver coaching. 


With our rugged GPS hardware and reliable, intuitive software, school admins always have access to critical vehicle location data to streamline daily processes. We transmit info in real-time over cellular networks to improve safety and service with reliable tracking. From the smallest school districts with only a handful of buses to the largest districts with enormous fleets, BusETA provides actionable information about buses and their precious cargo for smarter fleets and safer students.


Can you track students?


It’s all well and good to know when your child’s bus is arriving or departing. But how do you know if your child is on the bus? Commercial dash cams with a dual-facing component can certainly help identify which students are on board and give visibility to road conditions (not to mention driver behaviour), but often that data is only available to fleet managers and in this case, school administrators.


Tracking solutions that go with students, wherever they are, provide valuable insights into their whereabouts, letting parents (and schools) know exactly when they’ll get to class. Many tracking solutions allow for portable traveller tags to be used. Meaning once the tag is scanned, caregivers can accurately view and track students as they go on about their day.


Scannable tag solutions represent powerful technology and the ability to deliver flexible, intuitive solutions for parents, drivers and school administrators. Parents can stay connected to their child with real-time alerts as they board and depart the bus, while drivers have an extra layer of protection, preventing young students from getting off at the wrong stop, or missing their stop altogether.


How does student tracking work?


Using technology to track student academic performance is not a new concept in schools; indeed many districts are investing significant funds into electronic tracking devices to automate a number of administrative tasks, such as accelerating lunch lines, attendance tracking, distributing textbooks and even attending medical emergencies. Some schools combine GPS locators and radio-frequency ID tags to track school buses and their passengers, while others use the same electronic ID tags to include teachers and staff. In all instances, student trackers use real data to improve student safety. 


What are the benefits of student tracking?


Beyond knowing whether or not your child has boarded or exited a school bus at the correct stop or at the correct time, the applications for student tracking while on school property are nearly limitless, and can contribute not only to student safety, but to administrative efficiencies.


Imagine if students could use their tracking FOB not only for school admittance, but to pay for their lunch or take out library books. Student data can be used to track attendance, grades and class schedules. Moreover, as the technology evolves, tracking devices may eventually hold valuable data such as parental contacts or existing medical conditions, alleviating the need for volumes of paper records or tedious manual searches.


Is student privacy an issue?


As the technology for student tracking becomes more commonplace, so do questions surrounding privacy protection, particularly with students. How student data is used can be a sensitive topic, and no one wants to feel as though they’re under surveillance.


Just as student tracking technology seeks to increase transparency between parents, students and administrators, so too should schools have an accessible, transparent policy usage in place for data collection. Above all, the common goals for student tracking are the same, whether you drive the bus or ride in it: staying connected to keep students protected.


Interested to learn more about tracking solutions in school transportation? Contact us today!