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How children in Australia’s outback use the radio to learn

Educational TV and radio programmes are something that most people can identify or at least imagine, and online or distance learning is already well-established. However, it is harder to picture any of these methods as being the main source of learning material for children in compulsory education. In remote parts of Australia, however, this is entirely normal.

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Decades ago, young people who lived in areas where travelling to school was impossible still studied, either by living away from home in a boarding school or by post. Neither was a great option, so the country was ready for an alternative, which was offered by a woman called Adelaide Miethke. Her involvement with the Flying Doctor Service, which used radio powered by a pedal to communicate with patients and their children in remote locations, inspired her to use the system for connecting teachers and learners.

The School of the Air (SOA)

SOA thrived and grew to cover more territories. These days, the audience is even bigger because children who are either unwell or unable to attend mainstream school for some other reason can also use the service, as can older children and adults.

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Technological advances

The old pedal-powered radios are long gone, replaced by HF (high-frequency) radio transceivers that allow students to interact with their peers and their teacher during a class just as if they were in a regular educational setting. Of course, the internet is also used to deliver contemporary SOA learning opportunities thanks to the Optus Interactive Distance eLearning Initiative, with its Sydney-based satellite hub and five locations for teachers to work from. Lessons using web cams and interactive whiteboards connect just over 500 families to real-time education, which makes group work and discussions possible.

These days, education across the board incorporates technology that has moved way past the old days of depending on a radio signal, but most households still need an aerial for decent TV reception. Those looking for someone to help with Bristol aerial installations can rely on companies such as http://aerial-installations-bristol.co.uk/to help secure that crucial reception.

Technology has made learning possible for everyone, regardless of where they happen to live in the world. From the groundbreaking use of radio to modern virtual classrooms, let’s celebrate the right to learn.

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