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Free online agri-tech teaching modules available for download

Published:30 July 2020

Women in Agriculture teachers at the 2019 Symposium

Twelve learning modules suitable for Year 7-12 students featuring agri-tech tools and systems are now available for download at www.womeninagri-tech.com.

The modules can be used in a range of classroom setting across Australia, from science to mathematics and, of course, agriculture.

They were written by the participants of the Women in Agri-Tech Project, held in 2019 to foster a strong network of female teachers into becoming leaders in digital literacy, STEM and entrepreneurship in regional, rural and remote areas.

Orange High School agricultural studies teacher Melanie Campbell completed the Women in Agri-Tech program and has written a module on the on-farm decision making platform ASKBILL (www.askbill.com.au).

ASKBILL is a web-based software platform that provides timely and accurate predictions of sheep wellbeing and productivity using weather, stock and pasture information to sheep producers across Australia.

Ms Campbell says she’s seen great uptake of the module at her school and hopes that, by sharing it online, other schools can use it as successfully.

“The module walks the students through data collection and entry for a sheep enterprise as well as assisting students in making on-farm management decisions,” she explained.

“My students really enjoyed getting involved in the management of the school farm and understanding the thinking behind decisions on things like when to buy and sell livestock.

“If a school wishes to do this module but doesn’t have a farm, the teacher could contact a nearby farmer and ask if the students can collect data on their farm. I can see huge benefits that would extend far beyond this module from such a relationship.”

Sue Pratt is the agriculture teacher at Balaklava High School and the immediate past-president of the Agricultural Teacher's Association of South Australia.

Mrs Pratt created her module around the usage of soil moisture probes.

“Students who complete my module will understand how farmers can use soil moisture data to support decision making in their business. They will learn more about soil, how to test and analyse soil moisture, including using soil moisture probes,” she explained.

“To me, one of the most exciting things about these agri-tech modules is that it’s not just about agriculture, these modules would fit into so many other subjects like science, maths, technology and STEM.

“This reflects the reality of careers in agriculture. So many students think agriculture is just being a farmer, which is a great career, but students also need to appreciate there are so many other amazing jobs in disciplines like coding, plant breeding, product development, IT and the list goes on.”

Women in Agri-tech Project Leader Dr. Amy Cosby says the modules will be a great resource for teachers all over the country.

“These modules have been written and tested by teachers who are passionate about agri-tech so we’re really excited to make them available to the broader teaching community,” she said.

“While each module is a stand-alone resource, they work together to respond to the fact that women are underrepresented in the agri-tech space.

“Currently, women comprise of close to 50% of the Australian workforce across all industries. However, in agriculture, females make up only 30% of employees.

“Of primary concern is the lack of women in leadership positions in agricultural businesses, with only 14% of females in management roles and representing only 18% of people on boards.

“To change this trend, the next generation of young women need to be inspired and encouraged to consider a future in agri-tech and the Women in Agri-Tech teaching modules do exactly this.”

The modules are available for download here: www.womeninagri-tech.com.

Women in Agri-Tech is an initiative of CQUniversity Australia and funded by the Australian Government Department of Industry, Innovation and Science.