14 February 2019
Agriculture students were delighted to welcome Adam Henson and the team from Countryfile into their lessons earlier this month to share how technology is leading the way with teaching and learning at Plumpton College.
The teaching and learning team at Plumpton have invested in 360 degree technology and virtual reality to record practical teaching sessions to be used for online learning resources and back in the classroom with other groups. As part of the Education & Training Foundations' Outstanding Teaching Learning & Assessment grant programme, Plumpton College led a regional research project exploring the effective use of blended learning and virtual reality technologies in vocational teaching.
In the 2017/18 academic year, staff and students piloted the use of various forms of virtual reality in the classroom and experimented with the creation of immersive content. The project has led to the creation of the college’s Virtual Hub. Learning resources are available on a suite of virtual reality headsets, and mobile devices, as well as being accessible remotely through the college’s virtual learning environment.
Level 3 Agriculture students were given the task of creating a video to be used to teach Level 1 and 2 Agriculture students best practice when milking the dairy herd, preparing the herd for milking, and why certain processes are undertaken to maintain the health and welfare of the herd.
Director of teaching and learning Sam Coles adds
Students lead these projects, devising the materials themselves, creating storyboards and scripts. It helps them to understand how to explain the practical work they are undertaking, especially when it a process that is part of a daily routine in the farming day, where often tasks feel second nature, and to be able to explain the importance of best practice and why actions are undertaken is an important part of learning. More and more students are studying at Plumpton College who do not have a farming background, and so utilising resources like this in the classroom before practical sessions in the parlour helps to embed learning prior to being in the environment.
We use the 360 degree video technology and virtual reality headsets across a range of our subjects and take this technology out into schools as a great way to show prospective students the amount of technology used in the land-based sectors and to prepare our students for their careers where technology will be used in everyday practice. Not only will practical skills be needed, but digital skills are also becoming increasingly important. We have to look to the future to ensure students leave us with the right skills their industry demands.
Adam got involved with the students in the classroom, helping to devise the film and script. Once the film was made and edited, Adam met the Level 2 students in the classroom to see how the VR headsets are used in study. Find out more Sunday 17th February on Countryfile, 7pm on BBCOne.
Visit Teaching with Virtual Reality where a guide has been launched for other practitioners on how to use virtual reality in their own teaching.
Since the original 400-acre College farm was bought back in 1919, Plumpton College has certainly seen a lot of changes.