Calling all ag educators: five reasons why you should add evokeAG. to your professional development plan - evokeAG.

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Calling all ag educators: five reasons why you should add evokeAG. to your professional development plan

Award-winning high school teacher Scott Graham, from Barker College in Sydney, is a leader in the field of agricultural education. In eight years, he’s helped more than triple enrollments of agriculture students at the College, is examining how to improve agriculture teaching at high school for his PhD and has picked up a Prime Minister’s Prize for Science. Here’s why he thinks that attending AgriFutures evokeAG. is some of the “best professional learning that a teacher can do” and some tips for making the most of it.

4 min read

Focus on the future

Students are focused on the future – what they’ll be doing in 10, 20, or 30 years – and evokeAG. is the perfect place to tap into innovation and forward thinking.

We don’t know exactly what the jobs are going to be, but we have an idea of what the big themes and big issues are going to be.

We need to consider these big themes and issues, and to start preparing students for these. And as a bonus they respond well to subjects that do that.

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Bringing together global thought-leaders and industry change-makers, evokeAG. is jam-packed with opportunities to gain insight into these big themes and issues and how they are  impacting, and how they will impact, agriculture and food, fibre and fuel production.

evokeAG.  is both future thinking but also considers the hear and now. Speakers that are thinking a long way ahead, but there’s also the nuts-and-bolts of what’s happening on the ground. evokeAG. has both of those things in spades which I’m able to carry through into the classroom.

My students respond well to future focused content. If a subject is talking about the past or thinking about the past, or they feel like they’re stuck, then students tend to avoid it.

Tap into the tech

Students are tech-savy, used to disruption and eager to learn about agritech innovation, so staying up-to-date with the latest is vital so you can incorporate into their learning. Startup Alley at evokeAG. is the perfect opportunity for educators to upskill. There are all kinds of leaders in this space that are doing amazing things. Speak to them about where their products are heading. And teachers can collaborate with them or if they have resources that we could use.

Networking in startup alley at evokeAG 2023

Showing students the opportunities that exist in agritech is also important in showcasing the diversity of careers. Agriculture is not just being a farmer. There’s so much more to a career in agriculture, whether it’s creating innovation, implementing this innovation on farm or consulting.

We should be teaching kids about up to date, technologies as well as talking to them about what the problems are. I want to inspire them to be thinking about how they can be part of the solution.

Networking (not just with other teachers)

Away from the evokeAG. plenary stage and learning, there’s enormous benefits in the networking that happens when you bring together 1,600 delegates from 18 countries – all keen to advance the agrifood sector.

Scott Graham networking at evokeAG 2023 in Adelaide

Most of the people that I have connected with at evokeAG. are not involved in education at all. And a number of opportunities have arisen from these connections, whether it be talking to start-ups, or representatives from supermarkets or people that are there from other agriculture organisations – it’s fantastic networking.

Mixing it up

The agriculture and food manufacturing sectors are full of diversity and evokeAG. provides an opportunity to learn about that diversity in a way that can help me connect with students. When you’ve got 120 students in each year group taking agriculture you’ve got a range of interests and passions.

evokeAG. highlights innovation and technology that’s helping agriculture tackle some of the big issues like climate-change and sustainability throughout the supply chain, and I can take this learning and diversity back into the class room.

Be inspired – so you can inspire your students

Overall, evokeAG. has reaffirmed in my mind, that agriculture needs people who are clever, innovative, and passionate to tackle some of these big issues.

Academically capable students have a lot of choice in what they do in their life and many are choosing careers paths that will make a difference in the world. Agriculture is one of the best ways to deal with a lot of the major issues in the world and so I think being quite explicit about that is really important.

To address the skills shortage we need to get more metropolitan students taking on agriculture high school. The key to doing that is changing the subject’s reputation as a ‘bludge subject’ focusing instead on science, academic rigor and leveraging technology. I want to get those top students academically doing agriculture plus engineering, or agriculture plus law, so they have that agriculture background as well.

My experience at evokeAG. has helped me to emphasise that. I can say to students, ‘CEOs, futurists are innovators are leaders in this space, and they are saying that people like you – academically gifted people are needed in agriculture’.

Tickets are now on sale for evokeAG. 2024 to be held on 20-21 February 2024 in Perth, Western Australia. Following a sell-out event in 2023 we are encouraging delegates to secure their tickets, flights and accommodation early.

We look forward to seeing you in Perth for evokeAG. 2024, in the meantime, catch up on the other conversations about sustainability, climate resilience and the role of agtech in meeting those challenges from evokeAG. 2023 here.

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