Pardon my Garden

I should apologize for the state of my garden. My lawn and native plants are suffering lately from lack of water, however, all gardens within my estate seem to be in a similar condition. It must be about eight or nine weeks without rain. I have watered my garden occasionally, however, decided to water it sparingly because the cost of water drives most households to the point where they simply rely on a wing and a prayer for their gardens to survive the drought. I watered my enough just to keep it alive!

On the other hand our vegetable garden is producing a bumper crop. Cherry tomatoes are bursting with colour and our radish are the size of golf balls. Our lettuce crop is truly awesome and our snow peas are green and crisp. Our sustainable garden is a work in progress and is an excellent place for our children to play. Pots and pans sit in different areas filled with dirt and stones as our daughter conducts her own scientific experiments and replicates our garden within her own little dishes. She has used pipe cleaners to hold the lengthy tomatoes branches to the trellis and added a few other things to make the place as artistic as it is functional. Fundamentally the productive garden is a location for enquiry learning. The garden is a location for children to test their thinking and develop new ways of doing things.

In the final semester of my Master of Education I invested several months visiting different local schools to evaluate their productive gardens. The research assisted my professional paper and final submission related to sustainable gardens. Vegetable gardens and sustainable practices hold significant value within the context of a learning community. At one particular school I witnessed students picking tomatoes and digging up potatoes that they had planted and then taking their produce to the kitchen where they then made gnocchi and neapolitan sauce. The students were highly engaged and motivated throughout the class because the lesson was personally meaningful. The content was practical, had global significance and importance for the entire group. Furthermore, each student had a role and responsibility within the project. The experience was completely collaborative and educational. The activity was skills based and content driven, yet, also entirely social.

I believe in the advantages of sustainable gardens within schools. I also think organic practices help students understand responsible gardening habits. The concept of gardening encourages healthy lifestyle and provides deep learning experiences. I also believe that technology can be used within the garden to enable learning to be blended and cross curricula. Students can use tablet technology to record data on plant growth, take photos as anecdotal evidence and also document results. Students can diagnose plant diseases while conducting research in the garden. In this instance technology is supporting the educational experience to the highest degree.

Technology can be used in agricultural studies and also HPE. One must remember that the English or Mathematics teacher does not teach technology, they simply use it to help deliver subject matter. In some respects one may think that technology is being taught, however, through the clever integration of technology concepts are being learnt almost through osmosis. Tablet technology is the way of the future and touch screens make learning interactive and personal. Devices such as the iPad allow students to interact with their peers, engage with content and produce work in a seemingly effortless manner. Regardless of subject or course, technology can aid studies and help students to learn in personally meaningful ways that are in alignment with desired learning methodologies.

In the same way my daughter discovers and explores within the garden, technology is a landscape where enquiry, learning enrichment and the world can be explored. When my children are in the garden I watch their activity and make sure my daughter is safe and that my son isn't picking up stones and attempting to eat them. I provide gloves and tools that are necessary to make the experience enjoyable and safe. There are spiders in the garden and there are also spiders in the world wide web, therefore, parents and teachers are to maintain supervision and also provide access to resources that promote success. Despite any concerns, the sustainable garden and technology have many things in common. They both allow children to explore the world around them, produce content and construct knowledge and understanding that is personally meaningful.


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