Geography teachers view the virtual-reality big picture with ForestLearning
Teachers from across the country were recently given the opportunity to experience and learn about innovative virtual reality (VR) teaching resources developed by ForestLearning.
The ForestVR™ toolkit for schools will educate students on the renewable cycle of timber in an immersive and engaging way, while overcoming the problems around inaccessibility and safety of visiting physical forests and manufacturing plants.
Following the completion of 360-degree filming at 28 different locations across South Australia and Victoria’s Green Triangle region, New South Wales and Queensland, footage was used to create seven VR video experiences and five virtual 360 tours. Between them, these tours have been designed to tell the seed-to-shelter renewable pine story and the forest-to--fine flooring renewable Spotted Gum story.
The new ForestVR™ toolkit for schools was launched to teachers during a workshop at the recent Geography Teachers’ Association of Victoria’s Annual Conference in Melbourne. During the showcase, teachers had the chance to experience and test the VR experiences first-hand using headsets and were given the opportunity to provide feedback.
A number of ForestVR™ teaching resources were also outlined during the workshop. These resources will accompany the VR teaching tools, developed in partnership with ForestLearning by the Geography Teachers’ Association of Victoria and the Design and Technologies Teachers’ Association of Victoria.
The aim of the workshop was to enable the teachers to become more confident adopters of VR tools and technology and to receive practical teaching tools, tips and tricks for using ForestVRTM within their classrooms.
The conference was used as an opportunity to recruit teachers to trial the ForestVR™ toolkit in their own classrooms, which forms part of a trial phase before a hard launch later in 2019.
Beth Welden, ForestLearning Program Manager, said it was exciting to see the new technology and resources in the hands of teachers and to hear their positive feedback, following the year of hard work that led to their development.
“We were enthused by the positive reactions of the teachers who experienced the resources at the conference. We are confident that with their input, we will deliver a robust, engaging and industry-first suite of resources.
“We hope to provide meaningful, immersive experiences aligned to the Australian Curriculum that will truly engage students around contexts of sustainable forestry and wood products,” Ms Welden said.
The ForestVR™ experiences and teaching resources can be found at the ForestLearning website. Lesson plans in the form of teaching and learning resources will be launching soon, following school trials and feedback.