There have been many significant changes in communications technology in recent years, many of which the Alice Springs School of the Air has sought to use.
The radio was the backbone of communication from the commencement of school operations in 1951 until 2004. With the development of other technologies the school now makes extensive use of Satellite Technology.
In the early 90's many people in the Outback received upgraded telephone systems, enabling them to make direct and very clear telephone calls throughout Australia for the first time. For the School this has permitted more frequent and more satisfactory contact and follow up with students and supervisors. As clear as the current system is it should be remembered that the technology supplying the telephone service is different to that found anywhere else in the world. The system effectively still uses microwaves and has never been capable of supporting and broadband type of connection.
The school runs its own ISP (Internet Service Provider). For those families that do have IDL they have the option of connecting to the school via their own computers and modem. This allows transfer of work, exchange of ideas and support of learning in a manner that is quicker than traditional mail services. The speed and reliability of such connections is still far from what people in major urban centres would experience.
Most families now have access to television. The school conducted trials of direct television lessons beamed into the classroom in 1992. This was via satellite transmission but costs prohibited this being an ongoing facility.
As much as the technology has progressed the thing of greatest importance to the school is its sence of community. The different technologies are one element in ensuring that all members of our school community experience a sence of belonging.