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Australia's ''School of the Air'' Dramatically Improves Quality of Education for Students in the Australian Outback With Live eLearning From Centra

Submitted by: Centra Software

Categories: Community Development

Posted: May 22, 2002 – 12:00 AM EST


Leverages Government Program for Satellite-Based Internet Access to Replace Outdated Radio System

May 22 /CSRwire/ - LEXINGTON, Massachusetts - Centra (NASDAQ: CTRA), the leading provider of business software solutions for eLearning and real-time collaboration, announced today that Port Augusta School of the Air is providing a unique program of instruction to isolated students in Australia, using Centra to restyle their distance education program. In partnership with Appcon, Centra's exclusive reseller in Australia, School of the Air has deployed CentraOne(TM) in a pilot project to assess the need to replace a 50-year old radio-based education program for children living in an area of the Australian Outback that is 50 percent larger than the state of Texas.

Using Centra's eLearning and collaboration platform, School of the Air augments traditional classroom education programs with Internet-based instruction to give isolated students access to the same level of primary education as those students in more populated areas. With Centra, students benefit from the individual guidance they receive while working on lessons tailored for their specific needs. According to the program managers, School of the Air has made learning an easier, happier and more varied process. Tutors report a greater eagerness on the part of their students to settle down and study, to work for longer periods of time, and to experiment with freer written expression. In addition, students who have participated in this program enjoy a higher rate of completion of their primary education.

Government Initiative Provides Internet Access

Prior to the implementation of Centra, the School primarily used Royal Flying Doctor Service (RFDS) transmitters to broadcast radio lessons to an area of over 1,600 miles in radius. These lessons were designed to support a primary education curriculum, complementing the set course work with radio broadcasts. The program, however, presented several limitations, including the ability to develop and manage a highly responsive, interactive learning environment for young children. In late 2000, the State of South Australia received assistance from the Australian Federal Government to conduct a pilot program for the provision of Satellite Internet access, installation and ongoing services for children enrolled in this program, allowing the School of the Air to create a richer media learning environment. Part of this program included a free connection to a 2-way broadband Internet satellite service, including the provision of satellite equipment at no cost. Under this government initiative, School of the Air quickly set out to evaluate more effective online learning environments, including CentraOne.

"Appcon's proposal and subsequent demonstrations of CentraOne revealed the interface to be extremely simple to use and devoid of complexities," said Roger Edmonds, Project Manager for School of the Air. "The quality of the integrated IP-based audio conferencing exceeded the expectations of the evaluating committee and provided a unique opportunity for us to replicate the critical interactions of a physical classroom setting online. Centra's product was ranked above all other products we looked at in terms of compatibility and suitability for our needs."

Scaleable Software Solutions for eLearning and Business Collaboration

Used by more than 850 companies, government agencies, and universities worldwide, Centra's scaleable software solutions are based on CentraOne, a comprehensive, thin-client Web collaboration platform. Leveraging the core capabilities of CentraOne, Centra offers a suite of compatible, real-time Web collaboration products, content creation tools, and knowledge delivery systems that can be quickly installed on-site using Centra's rapid deployment methodology, or conveniently accessed through Centra's secure, full-service ASP. Centra's products -- including interactive Web meetings, virtual classrooms, and large-scale conferences -- ensure universal access to users through firewalls and proxy servers, and deliver full-performance IP audio conferencing, streaming video, application sharing, and dynamic multimedia over low-bandwidth network connections through a standard browser interface.

About Centra

Leading with an undisputed track record of helping millions of users to increase revenue and improve overall business performance, Centra provides Web collaboration solutions that enable the delivery of information in a variety of live and self-service formats, and add value through unmatched capabilities to capture interactions and content, personalize and manage this information, and instantly re-use it across the enterprise. Today hundreds of global organizations across every industry and market sector choose Centra, including Cingular Wireless, Cadbury Schweppes, Citigroup, AT&T, Procter & Gamble, McKesson, Merck, Nationwide Insurance, Sysco, and Stanford University. Centra's products are bolstered by a vital ecosystem of strategic partners, including PwC Consulting, Deloitte Consulting, EDS, KPMG iLS, Microsoft, SAP, Siebel, Cisco, and SmartForce. Headquartered in Boston's technology corridor, Centra has sales offices throughout North America, Europe and Asia. For more information, visit www.centra.com.

For more information, please contact:

Ellen Slaby Centra Software
Phone: (781) 994-1068


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