School of the Air

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School of the Air studio in Alice Springs

School of the Air is a special type of school in the sparsely populated regions of Australia . Primary and lower secondary school pupils are taught distance learning.

The transmission was initially carried out using shortwave radio and is now being converted to internet technologies. The homework is also sent to the teacher via the Internet. Each student receives around one hour of group or individual lessons per day. The rest of the day he learns with the materials sent under the guidance of his parents, older siblings or a hired tutor.

There is a School of the Air in Broken Hill , Alice Springs , Mount Isa and Meekatharra, among others . Alice Springs School was the first of its kind and was founded in 1951. It currently has around 120 students, who are spread over an area of ​​1,000,000 km². About 15 percent of these children are Aboriginal.

The Alice Springs facility has a visitor center that is open to tourists every day of the week. You can also follow the morning transmissions.

In January 1960, the first School of the Air Queenslands was founded in Cloncurry , based on the Flying Doctors , and four years later relocated to Mount Isa with the Flying Doctors . Around 220 children (from around 150 families) are currently being taught, from pre-school to 10th grade. The catchment area stretches from the Northern Territory border in the west to Richmond in the east and from Burketown in the north to Birdsville in the south. The school is fully funded by the Queensland Education Authority. The families are provided with a telephone and headphones by the school until all students in the family have left school.

In a 30-minute lesson, one teacher speaks to a maximum of 10 students. There are also two pairs of teachers, so-called field teams. They visit all registered students in their four-wheel drive vehicle. It takes 40 weeks of travel a year to visit all students. Subjects are linguistics, math, geography, science, art, media, and librarianship. German is a second language. CD-ROMs, videos and books are sent to the students from the fully automated library. In the meantime the internet is also being integrated here. Teachers and students communicate via webcam and headsets. The teachers can switch students on and off, depending on the individual conversation or group work. A tour takes place on school days at 9 a.m. and 10 a.m.

Since the children live relatively isolated, the School of the Air is their first opportunity to socialize with other children outside of their own family. This is encouraged by annual meetings where the children of a class travel to Alice Springs for a week and spend time with their classmates and teachers.

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