ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Distance Education - Aussie Style

Updated on March 25, 2016
JanTUB profile image

Jan T Urquhart Baillie has many sides to her personality, born out of a difficult life, and success due to her optimism and practical skills

Outback Australia schooling

In the 1950s (loungeroom in the era pictured), children who lived in remote areas of Australia's outback were schooled by short-wave radio sets set up in their homes. Teaching was done by voice only.

I was on the School of the Air when I visited Charleville in the early 1990s, and was impressed with how the teacher made herself understood in a craft instruction topic.

Picture of very early SOTA - student using a short wave radio set to 'go to school'

Console in use 1950s
Console in use 1950s

"ASSOA-Images" [William Newman] September 2006. Alice Springs School of the Air 25/08/11

Information on the early days

of Charleville School of the Air

Charleville SOTA: Now the largest such centre in the world, employing 10 teachers catering for 385 primary age children within 1000 km of Charleville SOTA had only one teacher and 45 children when it started in 1966.

It provides supplementary material and contact for these children who are already using the Correspondence School material. The Correspondence School concentrates on written work, SOTA on oral, whilst trying to provide a classroom atmosphere for the children.

Schools of the Air bridge the oral communications gap in many ways. They:

Provide a three way communication from teacher to child, child to teacher, and child to child;

Assist the home tutor by explaining problems met in correspondence papers and answering queries directly;

Enrich the written program with music, news and group activities such as plays and clubs.

Develop a sense of closeness and of belonging to a special group or classroom;

Motivate the pupils to improve the quality of response to correspondence lessons;

Increase in pupils the dualities of self-confidence, initiative, self reliance and sense of responsibility; and

Build a concept of a teaching team between the SOTA teacher, the child, the correspondence school teacher and the home tutor.

The child benefits from the feeling that the teacher is close at hand and the knowledge that he or she is being supported by the team approach of SOTA and PCS, and is motivated by hearing the response of his or her peers, to perform well. (Charleville School of the Air, "Information Booklet", 1986, page 3)

Aussie kids living in remote parts of Australia get a great education because of SOTA

Fifty Four Years strong!

Attribution: By Sven Tombers (Own work) [GFDL (, CC-BY-SA-3.0 ( or CC-BY-2.5 (], via Wikimedia Commons

60th Anniversary

of the School of the Air

June 1951 was when the School of the Air was launched.

Sixty years later in May 2011, every Australian state has a School of the Air (SOTA).

The tyranny of distance has enabled this unique form of education to flourish. Children who live hundreds or even many hundreds of kilometres away from a bricks and mortar school can tune in each day and learn in their homes.

In the past, they used two-way radios, but now with the advent of satellite technology, they can even see their teachers on the computer, and the teachers can see them.

See and hear about school - in remote Australia

Phiggles The Flying Scientist
Phiggles The Flying Scientist

Phiggles The Flying Scientist

Some of Australia's most isolated children living in remote areas of Australia received the science lesson of their lives in June and July.

Science teacher, Phill Higgins, better known to the children as "Phiggles The Flying Scientist", took to the skies in his tenth annual "hands on" science program to share the fun and logic of science with kids at remote stations in Western Australia.

Information from Australia Post— Phiggles' sponsor.

Teacher at computer with webcam
Teacher at computer with webcam

Computers and satellite schooling

for isolated Assie kids now

Nowadays, they sit at their computers and learn in real time.

How much easier for the kids.

They can see what the teacher is doing and she can see them via webcam.

© 2011 Jan T Urquhart Baillie


This website uses cookies

As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

Show Details
HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)