Virtual reality (VR) teaching technology is being embraced by students at a school in Queensland’s Western Downs in an effort to inspire more children to seek professions in agriculture. The moment students at Dalby State High School’s Bunya campus put on their VR goggles and take up the controller, they feel as though they are moving from one pen to another in a garden. a massive tractor.
The Endeavor Foundation has worked with teachers and students to design and develop this state-of-the-art technology, enabling students with and without disabilities to experience cattle and rural farming. Student girlfriend Erin Taylor believes VR technology offers a safe way to experience the industry.
“I think it’s a really great experience not to go in there because people might be scared and don’t know what to do,” she said. Through a partnership with Arrow Energy, the Endeavor Foundation has begun developing a VR program to prepare students with disabilities for after-school life. In 2020, she reached out to Dalby State High School to test some of these programs, which are now being implemented in her 30 schools in Queensland.
The school recognized that with his 42% of the country’s feedlot occupancy within a 120-mile radius of Dalby, there are excellent opportunities for students to find work in this industry. However, many young students were afraid to handle cows. So the school turned to Endeavor to see if VR technology could be the solution. Chris Beaumont, partner at Endeavor Service Design, worked with some seniors from Dalby State High School to bring the VR Ag program to life.
“We came here to film a lot of students doing their daily practice of entering the Ag certificate, with an emphasis on safety,” he said.
According to Beaumont, learning to drive a tractor is a good example of the benefits of this VR program. “You can put it in a hypothetical scenario first to protect everyone,” he said. “We let them learn what they need to do before they’re ready to actually do it on the farm.”
As with previous programs, Endeavor designed his VR Ag program for students with disabilities, but soon realized it offered added value to students of all abilities.