Technology Use in Agriculture: Awareness and Perceptions of Australian Technology Mandatory Teachers
Keywords:teacher perceptions, AgTech, agricultural technology, professional development, authentic data
Technology use in agriculture or ‘AgTech’ (Agricultural Technology), is rapidly changing conventional farming practices and decision-making processes. To ensure the industry can successfully harness the power of AgTech, digital skill development of workers is crucial. This can be achieved by adequate education of the future workforce, today’s students. However, a key requirement for student education is to ensure teachers are aware and knowledgeable of AgTech. Teachers’ perception of agriculture is also important as they are key influencers of the next generation’s awareness of careers in the industry. This study explores the views of Australian ‘Technology Mandatory’ teachers, a compulsory subject for Years 7 – 8 students containing an agriculture component, with the aim of determining their awareness and perception of AgTech. Teachers were surveyed after participation in a professional development workshop focused on livestock tracking technologies. Results found that teacher perceptions of the agricultural industry had an impact on their knowledge of AgTech on-farm. Conversely, teacher connection to the agricultural industry did not have an impact on awareness. Instead, connection to the agricultural industry was significantly associated with demographic factors including current school location and teaching experience, as well as the use of traditional media, social media and family and friends to gather information on the industry. Overall, most participants understood the importance of technology use for improving animal welfare, productivity and profitability, and environmental sustainability outcomes, and had a positive perception of the industry.