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E-learning and pedagogy

ICT is an important learning tool for agricultural and horticultural science, particularly given that many roles in the primary production sector depend very heavily on collecting and analysing data as the basis for planning and nearly every aspect of management.

Encouraging use of new learning environments

Through use of ICT it is now possible to research agricultural and horticultural contexts in ways that were not formerly possible. For example, students can investigate a management practice and its effectiveness, using a range of different sources. Students need to learn to recognise the credibility and validity of the information they are accessing, so this is an important part of teaching.

Creating communities of learners beyond the classroom

Facilitating shared learning includes building networks of learners who can share ideas, discuss solutions to common problems, or seek solutions to issues they encounter. As teachers, it is useful to guide students into effective use of social networking sites to explore agricultural and horticultural science issues of relevance to students. This could be through use of the Virtual Learning Network.

Offering experiences and tools to support field analysis techniques

If possible, students should have the experience of electronically recording and using (or interpreting) actual data, for example: using electronic recording systems in fruit harvesting, pasture production analysis, and lambing; using scanners in pregnancy testing; control of irrigation systems, and so on.

How might I do this?

Students could:

  • use Internet resources to research the effectiveness of fertilisers on crop production or the treatment of a disease in plants or livestock
  • use virtual production resources, for example, SIMAGRI - The online agricultural simulation game
  • share learning via blogging or another social network helping to establish a network of agricultural or horticultural science students
  • use such tools as calculators, rising plate meters, weighing machines, and software packages such as water/irrigation allocation and timing, to develop new practical skills.

What this might look like

Students could research the views of different primary producers on an agricultural or horticultural science issue (such as the impact of wind farms on high country land use) and create a visual presentation of findings.

Year 13 students could participate in an agricultural science virtual learning classroom.

Students could record the weight of hoggets on a local farm using electronic tools and analyse the results using suitable software.

Students could design, set up, and use an automated watering system in a glasshouse.

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Last updated December 5, 2011