Dr Amy Cosby, Research Fellow in Agri-tech Education and Innovation at CQUniversity Australia (CQU) has just returned from a trip to the US where she was promoting an Australian agricultural education initiative – GPS cows.
The GPS Cows program (GPS Cows) is a collaborative project funded by the NSW Department of Education, QLD Department of Agriculture and Fisheries, QLD Agricultural Training Colleges and CQU which aims to increase the knowledge and skills of high school students in emerging agri-tech. More specifically, GPS cows teaches students how to collect and analyse animal location and behaviour data, and to encourage them to consider tertiary study and a career in the ag
Dr Cosby explains that the purpose of GPS Cows is two-fold “one of them is to expose students who are not exposed to agriculture, to show them the level of technology that has been adopted in the industry. To show them that the ag industry is quite technologically savvy. But also for students who potentially are already interested in ag, to increase their capabilities and knowledge about data – how to collect data but also how to analyse the data to help us make better decisions on farms. The GPS Cows program hopes that by exposing young people at an early age to this type of data, when they get into the industry they’ll be a step ahead.”
Presenting at a workshop at the FFA convention in Indianapolis, USA Dr Cosby spoke to teachers about GPS Cows and how they can use technology in the classroom. There was a “definite interest” and the teachers present at the workshop “were really excited to try and implement it.”
It’s hoped that an uptake of GPS Cows in the US will increase connections between schools in Australia and the US. “I think we would be able to attract more people into agriculture if they understood the global scale of it. So the technology and what they’re learning about here in Australia doesn’t just apply here, you could go and work anywhere in the world if you wanted to and utilise your skills.”
To find out more about GPS Cows visit the website @ https://www.gpscows.com/
Article written by Amy Cosby, reviewed by Natacha Hes and Helen McMillan