What happens when you have to drive more than 500km to reach your school? Well, you just don’t go.
Living in the most rural parts of such a vast country as Australia can make the most everyday things seem impossible. For instance, what happens when you have to drive more than 500km to reach your school?
Well, you just don’t go. Instead, you plunk yourself in front of a plastic box that delivers your teacher to your own home, or at least virtually.
In 1951 the world’s first School of the Air was established in Alice Springs, creating a new way of learning for kids in remote areas. And at 1.3 million km2 with an average of 120 students enrolled each year in 16 air schools, this is the largest classroom in the world.
The radio used to form the backbone of this type of teaching, but today students connect to their online classroom via satellite technology, which has enabled much better interaction between teachers and students, and even dance and PE classes.
The Alice Springs School of the Air Visitors Centre is one of the many schools around Australia that offers visitors a chance to listen in on “live” lessons during school hours. Here you can also learn about the history and technology of this airborne form of learning.
Alice Springs School of the Air, 80 Head Street, Alice Springs. (08) 8951 6834, www.assoa.nt.edu.au
Did you know?
The School of the Air is a very successful concept with most students ending up in the top ten percent of all Australian students.