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SILVA Network Annual Conference 2021 & General Assembly Online 7 & 8 July 2021

See the announcement on the SILVA Website

Digitalization in Higher Forest Education - Taeching and Learning Revisted

As one of the megatrends in modern societies, digitalization has influenced all aspects of human life for several decades. With regard to the consequences for teaching and learning in forest sciences and related fields of study, SILVA Network has dedicated two previous conferences to Information and Communication Technologies1). Many things have changed since that time, both with regard to the technological possibilities and the framework conditions at higher education institutions. In addition, the COVID-19 pandemic boosted the transition towards digitalization and distance learning in a breathtaking velocity.

While there are software solutions for all fields of education available today, universities and universities of applied sciences are adopting digitalization (or e-learning-) strategies to an increasing extent that are reaching far beyond the instrumental use of ICT. Rather, these strategies highlight overarching purposes like e.g. individualization of learning; social learning in virtual groups; strengthening the orientation towards competences in addition to knowledge. There are many examples where e-technologies are used in higher forest education, ranging from GIS-courses, marteloscopes, virtual forests to e-portfolios and overarching concepts like mobile learning. Additionally, in 2020 distance exams were replacing those in the lecture halls to a great extent.

However, against the background of the “fast track” digitalization at schools and universities, and efforts towards “Forestry 4.0”, new challenges are arising. Are we addressing these adequately?