Forestry in action: ForestLearning PL workshop at AGTA conference
03 November 2023
ForestLearning attended the Australian Geography Teacher’s
Association (AGTA) 2022 conference in Hobart this September, running a workshop for educators and a trade stand for attendees to learn more about forestry in education – as well as try out some of our ForestVR™ headsets!
The presentation, ‘Reshaping Fieldwork Experiences with Immersive Technologies – A case study using ForestVR in the Geography classroom’ demonstrated how ForestVR can be used to benefit educational outcomes in the geography classroom and outlined how the tools can be used as virtual field trips or used before or after field trips to forests.
Beth Welden, Program Manager ForestLearning reflected after the event,
“ForestVR is a fantastic and engaging tool to give students as an introduction to a range of different forest environments and forest cycles. For geography students, much can be uncovered about forest landscapes and environmental change through 360-degree videos and photo tours – and the students love it!
“The 360-degree tools provide a world-first glimpse into the complex forms, features, and cycles of Australia’s forests and allow learners to visit forests around Australia without ever having to leave the classroom.”
With the help of Planning Forester James Newman from Forico, teachers also learnt of how geography is used every day in forestry. James outlined and shared first-hand information and case studies on key topics such as:
- the use of LIDAR and drone technology to assess forest areas
- the uses of geology in forest planning like how topography influences soil erodibility
- the tools used for stream management
- recognising and respecting Aboriginal heritage sites while forest planning
“The aim of my talk was to show educators how the resources found on the ForestLearning website and used in the classroom are in fact a true reflection of how foresters work day to day,” said Newman.
At the end of the workshop, attendees were given a sneak peek into a number of existing and new geography resources as well as a sneak peak of what’s coming up next from ForestLearning!
All workshops will be available to view soon at the AGTA conference website.
But that wasn’t all of the forestry fun attendees had at the conference!
On Thursday and Friday (29 / 30 September), the conference wrapped up with engaging forestry field tours. These field trips highlighted the natural beauty of Tasmania’s forests as well as their importance to the environment. All learning from the tours was directly linked Australian curriculum outcomes.
The Forest Landscapes – Protection, Cycles, Connections and Choices tour run by Kate Battishall and Darcy Vickers from the Forest Education Foundation had participants visit local forest areas surrounding Hobart and explore how forests can be used as a focus for teaching and learning across the geography curriculum for Grades 7 to 12.
Participants also explored concepts of forest literacy that will help build environmental maturity among students through interactive, field-based activities and discussion.
Also, sponsored by the University of Tasmania and PIEFA, the Tahune field tour led by UTAS future fellow Kathryn Allen explored research into the carbon storage capacity of forests through stations called “Flux Towers” and how forests are responding, or not, to the effects of a changing climate.
The tour included a visit to the Tahune airwalk and a walk past the Huon pines.