News & Events

Forest VR - Get involved!

29 August 2018
vr

JUST as technology has changed the way we communicate, do business, watch movies and more, it’s also revolutionising the classroom. Electronic devices, the Internet and now augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) are set to transform the processes of teaching and learning.

ForestLearning is currently scoping the creation and use of these exciting new classroom tools.  Aimed to assist urban, regional and remote students to learn about the diversity of Australian renewable forests and wood products, the new tools will be a ‘first’ for the industry. The new ForestLearning resources will allow students to virtually experience forests and wood and fibre processing facilities, for a range of subject area and year level outcomes, aligned to the Australian curriculum.

 

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 Opportunities for ForestLearningVR

The opportunities of these new materials have been identified by educational researchers. In a paper ‘Enhancing Education by Augmenting Outdoor Environments’ (2015), Monash University’s Dr Michael Phillips argued that while technology can’t replace the value of real excursions to forest and wood product facilities, it can be more accessible to students and delivered by teachers with limited experience.

The forest and wood products industry possesses a unique and rich outdoor learning opportunity for teaching and learning experiences. However, the challenges include taking students on forest industry excursions including travel time and cost; teacher confidence in both the content of forests, and the behaviour management of students in new outdoor learning environments; willing and available industry hosts at times that suits a school’s curriculum calendar; OH&S issues at work site … and more.  The production of these VR tools will aim to overcome some of these issues, and can also act as a pre, and post, excursion tool for teachers and students alike.

Have you successfully integrated VR in your K-12 classroom?  Express your interest to become a ForestLearningVR education working group member

A ForestLearning project to scope and develop new AR and VR tools is being conducted in the coming year. Some industry partners from the forest and wood sector have already indicated their intention to partner in this project by providing access to their facilities (plantations, mills, native forests, wood processing) for filming or other assistance to generate such resources.

To make these tools as flexible and as useful as possible for Australian teachers, ForestLearning is currently recruiting K-12 teachers to assist us in designing useful teaching tools, including for example, identifying curriculum outcomes that would benefit from VR forest tools, designing participatory classroom VR experiences and projects, innovative ideas to safeguard usability for the classroom, and more.

ForestLearningVR working group - get involved!

Do you integrate VR technology in the classroom and have fresh learnings that would benefit Forest VR? Have you successfully used and integrated VR tools and programs, such as Google expedition or other, to engage students in participatory approaches to VR production? 

We'd encourage you to apply to be involved -  and will support you to do so. 

ForestLearning, partnering with the Geography Teachers Association of Victoria, is convening a teacher and industry working group, meeting in October 2018, to discuss and explore scope and application in K-12 classrooms and we'd love you to be there!

Please express your interest by emailing why you'd like to be involved to Beth Welden, Manager ForestLearning at beth@forestlearning.edu.au and we'll look forward to partnering with you!

 

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