School of the Air, Broken Hill
Obtain tickets from the Broken Hill Visitor Information Centre (corner of Blende and Bromide streets) so that your kids can participate in a real School of the Air class. They’ll have fun being in a broadcasting studio and this visit will open their eyes to the totally different lifestyle of outback kids. You’ll see them grasping to understand what it would be like to live somewhere so remote that they can’t even travel to school. Can they imagine taking all their lessons via computer in a room in their own homes, with only brothers and sisters for companions? It will be an experience that lingers and keeps them thinking.
Lane St, Broken Hill; (08) 8087 3565
■ School assembly! Time your visit for a Friday to participate in a whole school assembly where everyone joins in the national anthem, the school song and singing ‘Happy Birthday’ to students celebrating a birthday that week.
In the early 1900s, students in remote areas could study through correspondence schools, with lessons and answers being sent back and forth by post, a very slow and frustrating process. School of the Air began in the 1950s with the radio network of the Royal Flying Doctor Service being used to make two-way broadcasts. For the first time, correspondence students could speak to their teachers. In 2003, satellite classes began, and now students can see and speak to their teachers, as well as watching lessons on their computer screens.
■ Visitor times are weekdays 8.30–9.30am, but you need to arrive by 8.15am.