Distance Education - Aussie Style
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'
"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 (www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html), CC-BY-SA-3.0 (www.creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/) or CC-BY-2.5 (www.creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.5)], via Wikimedia Commons
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
Remote Learning - in Outback Australia
- The School of the Air and remote learning - australia.gov.au
The School of the Air and remote learning Australia is a huge continent and is home to some of the most geographically isolated and remote communities in the world. How do children living in these communities go to school?
- School of the Air | Home
School of the Air is a Distance Education Centre located in Broken Hill. The school was established in 1956 and now caters predominately for the geographically isolated students within a radius of approximately 300km from Broken Hill
Homeschooling - in Australia
- Australia Homeschooling - A to Z Home's Cool Homeschooling
Resources, support groups and laws for homeschooling in Australia. From your Homeschooling Guide, Ann Zeise.
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.
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