Distance Education

As modern technologies are being integrated in the education sector, classrooms all over the world are incorporating virtual learning environments and educational technologies to support learning and teaching.  E-learning provides the capability for classrooms full of students to sit in front of a monitor and receive a lesson given by a teacher hundreds, or thousands, of kilometres away.  Students in remote parts of the world no longer have to travel long distances to receive an education but can stay with their families while gaining the benefits of an education.

While e-learning may once have seen students sit in front of a monitor watching the teacher give the lesson without access to any other resources, new technology allows teachers to display a wide variety of additional multimedia resources, from websites to slide presentations. Synchronous oral interaction is now also possible and it can greatly benefit students allowing them to ask questions – either via keypad or microphone - and receive answers in moments. Allowing students to be actively involved in the lessons greatly aids the learning process.

 

Important innovations in satellite technology and low cost receiving antennae are making low cost direct to home satellite services increasingly available. Satellite services are advantageous where other networks are not available poor infrastructure or reception) and for multimedia push delivery to a large dispersed population. The provision of e-learning to remote students by satellite is consistent and occurs faster than other currently available methods of transmission. And the teaching does not just take the form of watching teachers give lessons - very large-sized web-based training modules and multi-media-rich transmissions can easily be transmitted using satellite technology allowing students access to large amounts of data, allowing them to learn at their own pace. There is virtually no limit to the number of remote locations that can receive satellite transmission, provided the remote locations maintain the necessary equipment.

 

E-learning is a key element of mobilising and sharing human resources to strengthen capacity for applying information and communications technologies to human development. Recognising the importance of providing citizens, and especially children and youth with the opportunity to participate in the knowledge society, one should agree to use new technologies made available by satellite services to address the needs of national educations and health systems.