STATIC over the airwaves and poor voice clarity are becoming problems of the past for isolated School of the Air (SOTA) students across WA.
Since June, the new Sat Web Solution system, being implemented by the Department of Education and Training, has revolutionised education for outback students.
In the past, education in isolated schoolrooms was often hampered by poor reception on HF(high frequency) radios which often meant that students couldn't hear their teachers or other students during their daily airlessons.
The new system now allows isolated students to communicate with their teachers and other students via a microphone attached to the personal computer which has replaced the HF radio transmitters used previously.
Kalgoorlie SOTA covers an area of 750,000sqkm with 42 students from Eucla in the east up to Ilkuka community in the north, and was the first SOTA base to trial the system.
According to Kalgoorlie SOTA principal Gerry Keegan, the system was trialled across all year levels and had been a great success.
"The new system allows for much clearer communication which has been a huge bonus for both students and teachers," he said.
"It also has the capacity to allow students to share files and use electronic whiteboards so they can interact throughout the lesson.
"In the past there were many students who were more isolated than others due to poor reception, yet now these students can communicate and interact, allowing them to become much more involved with their lessons.
"For instance we have just run formal debating groups with our year seven students who are split up into groups in their own virtual chat rooms so they can prepare their debates together."
"The benefits for tomorrow's students are huge and will help prepare SOTA students for their secondary education because they will already have computer literacy skills from year one onwards," Mr Keegan said.
Kalgoorlie and Carnarvon SOTA are now broadcasting, with Meekatharra coming on stream in the next few weeks, and Port Hedland and Kimberley following.