This has been seen not only in the way they deliver curriculum and assessment, but also with how they connect students with real world contexts in lei of excursion and incursion opportunities.
This time of rapid change, however, has also created a niche of opportunity to innovate school-industry partnerships and challenge the traditional status quo in teaching and learning pedagogy. To help fill this niche, ForestLearning, an initiative of Forest and Wood Products Australia, and professional industry presenters will be providing schools free live, and on-demand, Zoom webinars - Forester Time - in Semester 2 2020.
ForestLearning (forestlearning.edu.au) has for over a decade provided teachers with free quality online teaching resources that focus on integrating contexts of sustainable forests and wood products into Australian curriculum aligned lessons and activities for students. With much of this innovative educational content already designed for online delivery, the program is well placed to offer an expanding number of learning opportunities to students, including Forester Time, in this current social distancing season.
Why Get Involved In Forester Time Webinars
Advances in webinar technology, and importantly student privacy functionality, has been shown to provide an easily accessible and engaging tool for overcoming some of the challenges presented by covid19 social distancing requirements. Enabling students to tune in to Forester Time can help them make real world connections and see how learning outcomes apply beyond the four walls of the classroom.
Forester Time aims to connect teachers, learning-from-home parents and students with real time forest and wood processing professionals via the online video conferencing tool ‘Zoom Webinars’. Foresters presenting Forester Time sessions will explore a wide variety of topics from forest management, forest biology, sustainable forest certification, regeneration of forests, forestry careers and more.
Forester presenters will be working across different regions and states of Australia, and manage a variety of forest ecosystems - from the wet eucalypt forests in Tasmania, dry eucalypt forests of New South Wales and Queensland, to Jarrah forests of Western Australia, pine plantations in South Australia and most states around Australia, and African Mahogany plantations of the Northern Territory.
Over the course of the semester, Australian primary and secondary classes can participate in one or more Forester Time webinars and explore the renewable Seed to Shelter story and help answer questions such as “where does our wood come from?”, “how is technology used within Forestry operations” and “can we be sure certified wood truly is renewable and sustainable?”.
Sessions will be tailored for either primary or secondary student audiences studying Design and Technologies, Science, HASS, Geography, Agriculture and more. Teachers registering for sessions can also help shape the content delivered by presenters by communicating their intended learning outcomes for their students.
Student safety is our priority. All student attendees will have no video enabled, no group chat function, Q&A chat functionality is between students and ForestLearning expert hosts only, and live polls during the sessions will help heighten student engagement.
Background to Forester Time
In November 2019, more than 150 students from around Australia engaged in real time with a forester out in their forest workplace - all without leaving the classroom. The ‘Forester Time’ initiative was run by ForestLearning and the Primary Industries Education Foundation Australia (PIEFA) as part of National AgDay. Forester TIme allowed students to chat in real time with a forester in their forest workplace to help them learn more about their daily work, the renewable cycle of forestry and where our wood and paper products come from. Foresters from Forico (Tasmania), South West Fibre (SWF) (Victoria), Green Triangle Forest Products (GTFP) (South Australia), and SFM Asset Management (South Australia) were involved in 20 minute sessions with a classroom via smart phone in their forest workplace.
Teacher Sarah D. from the Katherine School of the Air said her students enjoyed learning more about sustainable plantation forests. “Today’s session with Kathryn the forester was outstanding,” she said. “Students were amazed that there are farms for timber and all of the perks of being a forester. It was great to link what happens in the forest with how things happen in a cattle station. It really helped students understand and contextualise what was being said.”
Forester Time 2020
Following a very successful pilot using the new zoom webinar technology with Sustainable Timber Tasmania’s Dion McKenzie and a class from Narrabundah College in mid-June 2020, ForestLearning is now able to offer these educational live webinars more broadly to all schools who wish to participate.
Kylie H., teacher involved in the June 2020 pilot said of the webinar “A huge thank you for making this happen and for your time. The webinar was great, the content spot on for us and the students all left bouncing out of the classroom! A very happy and engaged audience!”.
Feedback from students was equally positive including “I liked how the speaker really went into depth about all aspects of the job not just the sustainability part but also marketing and protecting.”, “I liked hearing how there are many different jobs within the forestry field”, and “The single most valuable thing I learnt was hearing how there are different methods for harvesting timber depending on the specific requirements of the tree types”
Express your interest to participate in Forester Time - Semester 2 2020
ForestLearning is now in the process of developing a calendar of topics and speakers for Semester 2 and is inviting schools, foresters and professionals involved in forest and wood products to express their interest to be involved.
If you’re a teacher and would like to participate or find out more, please contact us via our website (www.forestlearning.edu.au) or Facebook page (@forestlearningau), or sign on to the ForestLearning newsletter to stay informed via the website.