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Sony brings remote education to the deaf and blind

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Sony Australia has released that it has collaborated with the Royal Institute for Deaf and Blind Children (RIDBC) to develop a videoconferencing solution for the RIDBC Teleschool, a project to give vision and hearing impaired children in remote and rural areas access to specialist education.

The Teleschool will give regional and rural-based Australian children with a hearing or vision impairment access to education provided by highly specialised staff who are located in Sydney.

While in the past, children in remote areas have missed out on access to specialist teachers due to their physical distance, this new system, which utilises Sony videoconferencing systems, ensures children do not fall behind in their schooling and develop to their full potential.

Senator the Hon Nigel Scullion, Minister for Community Services, opened the RIDBC Teleschool at an event in Sydney.

During the opening, a Teleschool session took place between the children in Darwin and in Sydney, where Senator Scullion saw first hand how videoconferencing schooling makes a real difference for the children.

Sony Australia has assisted the Teleschool in setting up a video conferencing network at the
RIDBC office in Sydney, enabling them to meet the needs of deaf and blind children in rural and remote areas.

The videoconferencing system joins a range of services including email, telephone and mail that the RIDBC provides.

According to Sony Australia, its videoconferencing technology allows the RIDBC to virtually transport its specialist teachers into children's homes. The technology will bring the teachers and pupils closer together, strengthening their relationships while delivering the ideal in specialist teaching services.

According to RIDBC, the Teleschool enables it to offer education to children who have been restricted by their location. With The help of Sony Australia, RIDBC is able to offer over 70 families across the country access to specialised education for deaf and blind children.

Sony brings remote education to the deaf and blind

How it works

During a Teleschool session, the child and one or both parents are connected via videoconference from home or a videoconferencing centre to RIDBC Teleschool headquarters in Sydney.

This provides them with access to specialist teachers and therapists who use the Teleschool as a base. The staff work with the children to develop the specialist skills and strategies needed to support their education.

The set up

A student communicates with the RIDBC Teleschool from home or a videoconference centre via a private SDSL network. At home, the child uses a Sony PCS1P Video Communication System, which incorporates a camera unit and communication terminal which is connected to the family TV.

The teacher/therapist is able to monitor the child in its natural home environment via a TV which is connected to a Sony PCSG50 Group Videoconferencing System. On a larger scale, the PCSG50 also enables the Teleschool to simultaneously host a number of videoconferencing sessions.

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