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An Aspirnaut is a "student who aspires, seeks, and achieves." The [url=http://www.aspirnaut.org/]Aspirnaut Initiative[/url], whose goal is to elevate mathematics & science achievement of underserved rural students, says the challenge is: "Americaâ€™s global pre-eminence in science and technology is at risk. For the first time in generations, our children could face poorer prospects than did their parents and grandparents. Student performance in science and mathematics lags behind that of many countries, and our school system holds back high-ability studentsâ€”a vital talent pool for mathematics, science, and engineering. In rural areas, school consolidation has created long, idle bus rides and loss of community involvement in education. These challenges place rural students at a greater academic disadvantage than their urban and suburban peers."
For the duration of the Arkansas program's three-year trial, students aboard Sherdian's Bus 46 will use iPods to listen to educational podcasts, and "high ability" students will use laptop computers to connect to the Internet and interact with web-based learning programs, says ars technica. According to superintendent Scott Spainhour, students could someday receive actual course credits for the time they spend learning on the bus. At the end of the three-year trial, students who complete the program will be permitted to keep their iPods and laptops.