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TAS Country : February 23rd 2012
uary 24, 2012 17 asmania and GlobalNet Academy director Ian Whitehouse says new technologies will greatly improve learning capabilities. row from NBN Pictures: REMI CHAUVIN professional and nationally recognised skills at the same time. Botanical Gardens project manager Marcus Ragus said the NBN E-Learning project demonstrated what broadband could do in moving ahead with technological changes. ''It is a cost effective and engaging process to learn in,'' Mr Ragus said. ''Technology is one tool to access learning and participation.'' Mr Ragus, along with Ian Whitehouse, project manager from GlobalNet Academy, fleshed out the concept of delivering the nationally accredited horticultural course by employing super-fast broadband. Mr Whitehouse said the project offered an ''incredibly flexible learning environment''. ''The project gives us an opportunity to engage with schools, and also pilot the use of other social media, for example Facebook,'' he said. The project also allowed students to utilise quick-response tags to quickly access information and learning with mobile devices from their own production gardens. Garden plots within the Botanic Gardens have a scanner code and by using a smartphone or tablet the user scans the code and receives more in-depth information and video on the plants through a dedicated website. ''This is a really exciting project -- one that opens up a whole new dimension in teaching,'' Mr Whitehouse said. For project details go to: http://nbne- learning.wikispaces.com/ 2012+Projects. GREEN THUMBS: Bella Dyer and Benjamin Findlay water the school garden. Gardening helps students bloom KAROLIN MacGREGOR Primary school age is the ideal time to get them thinking about agriculture' THE revival of a school vegetable garden has been giving students at the Hagley Farm School a taste for agricul- ture. Agronomist and vegetable garden volunteer co-ordinator Seona Findlay said as a keen gardener herself she first became interested in re-establishing the school vegetable garden two years ago when her son started at Hagley. ''It's something I was really quite passionate about,'' she said. ''The main idea behind it is to be able to teach the children about how food is grown and how much effort goes into producing our food.'' From an initial involvement of just one class the vegetable garden program at the school has steadily grown and last year there were 70 students directly involved with the project each week and another 50 involved in others ways. ''The feedback we've had from the children and the parents has been fantastic,'' Mrs Findlay said. ''They absolutely love getting out in the garden and we have different classes involved with different things like growing the seedlings for us to plant in the garden, collecting insects and things like that.'' The students have grown a range of vegetables in the garden this year including garlic, broad beans, carrots onions peas, potatoes and unusual crops such as wasabi and mushrooms. Mrs Findlay said they had also planted a flower garden nearby to attract bees and other pollinators and made scarecrows to keep unwanted bird pests away. The vegetable garden also includes a worm farm, chooks and compost heaps so the students also learn about ways of recycling in the garden. Besides growing the vegetables, the students have also been learning about cooking them and have enjoyed eating a few too. ''I think vegetable gardening is a great way to introduce children to agriculture and get them interested at a young age,'' Mrs Findlay said. ''A lot of the time if we don't get students thinking about agriculture as a possible career until high school or university, by then they've already made up there minds about what they want to do. '' I think primary school age is the ideal time to get them thinking about agriculture and the opportunities there are out there because they are sponges at this age.'' Mrs Findlay said she hoped to get more industry involvement with the project so the students can learn more about agriculture on a broader scale. This year about six classes at the school will be involved with the project.
February 16th 2012
March 8th 2012