Schoolchildren served up 'on-farm experience' without leaving classroom

Dairy Australia is using virtual reality (VR) to bring the paddock to schoolchildren, many of whom have never been on a farm, met a farmer or know where milk, butter, cheese and yoghurt comes from.

The research and development organisation hopes to bridge the gap between dairy farming and primary schoolchildren by bringing on-farm experiences into the classroom to help them understand how dairy farmers work to supply nutritious, sustainable food to fuel a healthier Australia. 

Dairy Australia’s VR initiative will allow schoolchildren in the classroom to be taken through the entire process of making dairy foods, from the paddock and milking shed, to packing and even cheese making.

Dairy Australia spokesperson, Jess Phillips, said educating the next generation about the dairy industry and the importance of dairy foods for overall health and wellbeing is critical.

“We know young Australians are more conscious of what they are consuming than ever before. However, an alarming 60 per cent of school aged children are not getting enough dairy during a critical time for bone growth,” Jess explained.

“Through the use of virtual reality, this new experience allows students to learn in an engaging way, that is easily accessible to educators – and helps students connect with the food they consume each day.”

Western Dairy, the Western Australian regional arm of Dairy Australia, recently acquired two VR headsets to use at school visits and career expos.

“The virtual reality headsets will add a new dimension to the educational resources we can provide to students and those considering a career in dairy,” Western Dairy Workforce Attraction Lead, Gemma Longford, said.

“We are excited to be able to offer this experience and bring the whole dairy production line to the classroom without students actually leaving it.”

This interactive education initiative is the latest development in Dairy Australia’s commitment to education, further extending its offering beyond popular curriculum program Picasso Cows and Discover Dairy resources.

Dairy Australia’s VR initiative is being launched ahead of National Agriculture Day on 18 November, which this year celebrates innovation.

The Dairy Australia VR content can be found here.


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