Ask the Expert: AgTech in the Classroom

AgTech in the Classroom with Johanne Ross and Laurie Loane

Introducing technology through Agriculture in the Classroom - Canada.

Start them early…..

With an ever-growing population to feed, agriculture in the classroom is more important to introduce early, now more than ever, with the youth of today being responsible for feeding close to 10 billion mouths by the year 2050.  With a need for more food, and a trending migration from rural areas, it is certainly interesting to consider how the next generation is going to feed themselves. We know that the technology required to feed this population is evolving and we were pleased to hear that children are learning about agriculture technology from a very early age with the help of Agriculture in the Classroom.

Back in the day, agriculture in school looked like a windowsill lined with plastic cups of soil and bean sprouts reaching for the sun or an incubator humming in the corner with excited children checking their eggs daily in anxious anticipation of watching fluffy little chicks peck their way into the world. While these tried and true activities are still employed in the classroom, the technology children are exposed to has far surpassed anything even imaginable 30 years ago.

To get a sense of what is happening in the classroom, we reached out to the experts fromAgriculture in the Classroom Canada (AITC-C) who describe themselves as “the national voice for agriculture education in Canada”.  With their passion for agriculture and the food sector, they are engaging Canadian students and educators to inspire meaningful connections to agriculture and food.

 “We just felt we needed to have a national identity, a national voice, so we could start to build initiatives that would be delivered to help support the provinces; giving smaller provinces the opportunity to access curriculum-linked resources for their programming.” Johanne Ross, executive director of AITC-C, told us from her home in Manitoba, Canada.

 AITC-C provides students and educators with quality educational resources, programs, and initiatives connected to curriculum at all grade levels and subject areas. Recently, they launched thinkAG.ca - a one-stop shop website designed for teachers, students and parents to access learning resources and other interactive information that encourages all students to picture themselves working in agriculture and food, no matter what their interests are.  

 When it comes to classroom experiences, Laurie Loane, the Executive Director of Agriculture in the Classroom PEI has seen first-hand the impactAITC led initiatives have had on students. When asked if AITC is thinking about technology in their curriculum she excitedly speaks of introducing drones as early as Grade 3, during their Ag Adventure Days held in March during CanadianAgriculture Literacy Month. The students also get to explore how GPS is used in tractors for precision farming. Bernadette Forrester from Cavendish AgriServices is always excited about Ag Adventure Days which hosts over 1200 students and brings in their roguer for the students to see how big the equipment is and how important technology is in agriculture.  Our 2020 CALM book, “Reggie’s TechnologyAdventure” highlights different types of technology used in agriculture from robotic milkers in dairy to drones in field scouting.

2020 CALM book, Reggie's Adventure.

 “We want to empower students to take an interest, no matter what their grade level, in where their food comes from. AITC-C’s north star vision is to have agriculture in every classroom, inspiring every student! ” says Johanne.

They are certainly starting early, and it is so refreshing to see!  Join us next time when we talk about how technology is allowing adult learners to learn about agriculture.