With the increased need to integrate meaningful and engaging technology and ICT capability tools in schools, teachers are increasingly required to discover and learn new ways to incorporate these tools in the classroom to meet their busy curriculum.
Smartboards, webquests, ipads, laptops – the need to engage our active learners in new and interesting ways is ongoing. It can be difficult however to find ways to integrate technology in an authentic way to meet Australian curriculum outcomes – not just use technology for the sake of it, or dare we suggest, for entertainment value.
In a time where we also hope to provide real world tangible solutions to an ever-increasing concern amongst many of our students for our climate future, it’s no surprise that a recently launched virtual reality school toolkit, ForestVRTM, has caught the attention of teachers around Australia.
ForestVRTM, allows students to immersively – and virtually – learn through 360 experiences and environments about Australia’s productive forests from seed to shelter – the only carbon positive industry in Australia. The free to view and download online 360 experiences and virtual tours have students immersed right alongside forestry workers while they plant new tree seedlings, or join the log crane operators in their heavy machinery as they get harvested logs ready to be processed into paper and cardboard.
Today’s technology-savvy learners are hungry for this type of experience, and teachers will be pleased to see even their most-trickiest of students, engaged in this approach to learning. ForestLearning, an initiative of Forest and Wood Products Australia Ltd., has launched the immersive toolkit for schools at the recently held Geography Teachers Association Victoria, Australian Geography Teachers Conference, Forest Education Foundation conference in Tasmania, and the Mount Gambier ForestLearning pathways program.
The ForestVRTM Learn Through Immersion virtual reality toolkit, and soon to be launched in early 2020 teaching resources and lesson plans, was developed and designed through collaboration with the Geography Teachers Association Victoria and the Design and Technology Teachers Association Victoria and other successful early adopters of VR in classrooms, in conjunction with leading forest and wood product industry partners.
Filmed at 28 different locations across Australia, the 360 immersive experiences and virtual tours are available to view and download via www.forestlearning.edu.au/forestvr. They can also be useful tools used in conjunction with school field trips to forest areas, as they provide students with the ‘missing links’ in the productive forestry renewable cycle that wouldn’t otherwise be possible to visit for students due to OH&S, bus costs and other barriers.
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