Music - Instrumental in remote areas

27th November 2009 at 00:00

Having ditched dial-up and embraced broadband, Dumfries and Galloway Council is now able to deliver its music lessons via video-conferencing - free and to a higher technical quality.

Since 2005, young musicians in remote Dumfries and Galloway schools have honed their talents with the help of tutors 60 miles away. For the first two years, the scheme, which allows primary pupils to learn the trumpet, trombone and horn, was paid for with a grant from the then Scottish Executive. Subsequently, the authority had to bear the cost of the ISDN links - pound;9 an hour for the calls and pound;120 per school for line rental - but no longer, following the installation of broadband.

Alan Cameron, Dumfries and Galloway education officer and project manager, explained: "We have moved to the happy point where we have completely free access into schools via 42-inch plasma televisions."

Video-conferencing is also being used to satisfy international interest in the scheme. Earlier this month, Mr Cameron took part in a live question- and-answer session with delegates attending an education conference in Florida, without having to leave Scotland.

See Alan Cameron in conversation with ICT guru Stephen Heppell on lessons delivered by video link from Dumfries to pupils in the remote Drummore Primary, Scotland's most south-westerly school: http:www.youtube.comwatch?v= Sf2DhHhMOE0.

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