Winners for the 2017 Times Educational Supplement Foundation Education awards will be announced tonight and Hartpury College will be hoping to pick up a coveted prize.
Hartpury has been nominated alongside seven other institutions in the “Outstanding use of technology for improving teaching, learning and assessment” category. This award rewards those who have demonstrated innovative use of technology within their institution.
As the only specialist agricultural college in attendance at the awards Hartpury will be represented by eleven members of the agriculture department. The glittering awards ceremony will take place at the Grosvenor House hotel in London this Friday, 24th February, and the evening will be hosted by comedian Rob Beckett.
One of the key innovations which has contributed to Hartpury’s outstanding learning provision in agriculture is the use of the latest technologies in practical teaching at our commercial Home Farm. The farming industry is rapidly embracing new technology which has become vital in ensuring the best livestock and crop production.
Hartpury’s students are keeping up to date with this technology by using a smartphone app which allows them to analyse real time data from livestock. Data from the animals’ electronic identification tags includes information on traits, such as daily weight gain, which are important to track to monitor animal health and performance.
Janatha Stout, Director of Agriculture, said: “It is an honour to be attending the TES FE Awards and our staff and students deserve to be incredibly proud of their achievements. By investing in the latest technologies we are keeping students up to date and providing them with enhanced learning opportunities.
“We are continually working to ensure our courses provide excellent academic provision while preparing students to work in industry and in 2015 100% of the students who completed their course in the summer went on to find work.”
Beyond the classroom students can access online learning platform Moodle, which enables resources to be accessed anytime. Farm Mechanisation lecturer Mark Dodgson has even developed a bespoke online welding package to allow students to continue learning between practical sessions. The interactive software includes videos, images and welding sounds that help students nail down the theoretical underpinnings of welding.
Other technology that is being utilised includes the use of GPS and satellites to aid crop production, using soil mapping and variable rate technology which allows seeds and fertiliser to be applied in the most economical way.