Interactive learning now a “virtual” reality in Australian schools
360-degree filming has recently been completed on the New South Wales north coast to help tell the spotted gum timber story to school children in the most visual and engaging way
The captured footage incorporates a range of forestry operations including the Grafton nursery (pine and eucalypt seedlings propagated), Divines State Forest native forestry operations and Hurfod Forests.
Virtual tours were also captured at the Hurford hardwood green mill and dry mill, which would otherwise be inaccessible to school groups.
Another highlight of the filming was the opportunity to interview NSW Forestry Corporation Aboriginal Partnerships Liaison Officer, Rachael Cavanagh, and her six-year-old daughter. The interview gave the Australian school students an immersive glimpse of the work being done with the region’s native state forests partnering with Aboriginal communities to demonstrate indigenous Australia's connection to forests and country.
During the interview, Rachel and her daughter identified some commonly found bush foods, such as the wombat berry (which apparently tastes like bubble gum!), all of which surely engaged the young ForestLearning audience.
Andrew Hurford, Hurford Hardwood Director, said the ForestVR Education toolkit for schools and the 360-degree filming is a unique and imaginative means of telling wood’s story as a renewable resource.
“It’s like nothing I’ve seen before – both the filming and the end result. The camera captures everything around it in a 360-degree sphere, so when you are presenting, you can interact with it in the same way as you would with a school group on a real school excursion.
“The 360 tours and videos themselves are really quite amazing to see, and will give students for the first time a great opportunity to engage with, and virtually visit all aspects of the renewable forest and wood products industries that are not usually accessible to school groups due to safety precautions,” Hurford said.
The activities of the ForestLearning program are designed to educate children on forestry from a young age, equipping them with a broader understanding and acceptance of timber products as they grow up and become consumers. We hope to inspire some of the industry’s future leaders to consider a career in the sector through these initiatives