In March 2021, Asia Education Foundation began delivery of its inaugural HarvestEd program with funding and support from Queensland Department of Education.
Asia Education Foundation is continually driven to equip students with the intercultural learning and global perspectives to navigate a shared future with the Asia-Pacific region and enable youth to activate the agency to create ideas for better communities locally and internationally.
HarvestEd does this through delivering agriculture learning for global citizens.
Accessing remote regions of Queensland including Aramac, Blackall, Bundaberg, Capella and Gin Gin, HarvestEd uses the iSee spatial video conferencing platform to connect students digitally.
This virtual classroom setting allows collaboration and communication between students, facilitators, guest speakers and mentors, as they address and discuss agriculture issues, technologies and innovation through the lenses of design thinking, intercultural learning and international markets.
Aramac, for instance, is a rural outback town located 1138 km north-west of Brisbane and has a population of just 300 people. Through platforms such as iSee, these students can connect with people they typically wouldn’t be able to.
Image: HarvestEd Program Coordinator, Brendan Hitchens, leading a session in the iSee platform.
Along with the digital connection, HarvestEd connects regional Queensland to opportunities in the Asia-Pacific region.
Across four phases, the program covers the themes Future Farming, Connecting Communities, Seeding Change and Harvesting Potential, enriching students’ intercultural learning through not just diverse local perspectives, but the contexts of Asia, strengthening their connections to the local and global community. Take for example the fact that four out of the top five export destinations for Australian agricultural products are countries in Asia, including China, Japan, the Republic of Korea and Indonesia.
The cross curricular focus of HarvestEd addresses critical and creative thinking, ethical understanding, personal and social capability, and intercultural capabilities, as students begin to problem solve important issues and become active and informed citizens.
Image: Students collaborating during a HarvestEd session in the iSee platform.
These students are passionate about agricultural issues such as changing weather patterns, environmental damage, feeding an increased global population and farmer’s mental health.
Many of these students also live or work on farms or have a family connection to agriculture, so they bring a wealth of prior knowledge to the program.
In connecting online, they share this knowledge and lived experience, together with their passions and interests in subjects such as STEM, to work collaboratively with other students across Queensland to not only imagine, but design practical and creative solutions to these complex problems.
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