Sunday, December 21, 2014

#teachagtech -> Using Infographics in the #TeachAg Classroom

Using Infographics in the #TeachAg Classroom

Using infographics in the #teachag classroom is another fun way of evaluating understanding in a creative way.  Infographics are becoming extremely popular to concentrate incredible amounts of information in an easy to read, compact form.  I have asked my students to create these graphics on two separate occasions this semester and even if the final project is neat to look at, there is a learning curve to develop the necessary operation skills along the way.  You will have to take some time and show students how each program works.  {For example: Do you select and slide the word bubble or just click and type.}

However, once students learn these programs are more intuitive than they originally thought, they begin to have fun with the graphics.  I feel it is important to introduce new forms of communication into the classroom as much as possible.  Using web-based infograph generators like Piktochart,, and the site I used to create the Chapter Degree Infographic above:  

If you would like to have the Greenhand Degree version of this, please visit my personal web page for the Greenhand Infographic.


If you have specific needs regarding technology in your classroom or have additional questions about infographics, please feel free to connect with me via the TeachAg! Technology Help Ticket

Yours in the Quest to be a Tech Savvy Aggie,

Friday, December 19, 2014

Spreading Christmas Cheer with #AgEdu "Parody" Videos!!!

We are proud of all of our #psuaged15 students, but these two groups of students went above and beyond in making us chuckle as the completed a "recruitment video" assignment for AEE 413: Program Planning lead by Dr. Ewing, @jce122.

All About Ag Ed ("All about That Bass by Meghan Trainor" Parody)
Group Members:
Amanda Forstater, @CityAggie
Jillian Gordon @jillianpsu
Toby Neal, @tjn5065
Cory Scott, @CJScottAgEd

Join FFA("Fancy by Iggy Azalea" Parody)
Group Members:
Laura Metrick, @Its_LauraBeth
Howard Poole, @howie_poole
Jasamine Graybill, @JasmineGraybill

If you are interested in having fun like this and changing the world one student at the time, join the @TeachAgPSU team! Email for more information!

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

World Wisdom with Weaver - Wrapping It All Up!

Kayla Hack and I at World Food Prize (October)
"Wrapping it all up" - do you see what I did there?!  :) 

Happy December to you all! As 2014 draws to a close and many of us begin the holiday festivities, I know that we can't help but reflect on the year that has unfolded. This has been one of my best, and most challenging years - I had a baby, I took a semester off of teaching, and I took the role of PSU Teach Ag! Fellow while completing my M.Ed.

Last December, I had decided that I wanted to finish my M.Ed. but had no idea how it'd be possible to accomplish this with a baby on the way and no ability to take summers to study at PSU. Then came the idea of the educational leave. My school was so generous to grant me this opportunity and I'm thankful that I was given this chance to improve myself personally and professionally. It's amazing to me how things somehow work out!

The biggest question I ask myself is "would you do it all over again if you had the chance?"and the response would be YES! Now, I was naive about some things - I didn't quite realize the learning curve I had for becoming a mother, which complicated the learning curve I had as a grad student - but I think this experience has made me stronger, more confident in myself as a person and teacher, and has reinvigorated me as an educator. I look forward to returning to the classroom and employing what I've learned to my students.

Through my work, I met amazing people like the coordinators for World Food Prize and the state youth institute coordinators. Amazing people doing amazing work to help our students grow in global competence. Through  my work as a grad student, I hope to bring those same opportunities to more of our Pennsylvania students so they can experience the amazing program that is the World Food Prize and Global Youth Institute.

My wonderful husband, Jesse!
I'm forever a changed person from this experience and I'm so thankful that I was given this opportunity. I wish to thank my professors and mentors at Penn State who guided me through this process and who will push me this spring to finish my research and walk across that stage in May! I also want to thank Twin Valley School District for believing in me enough to let me take off a semester and go "do my thing." It's not everyday that you find yourself working for a district that "gets you" and lets you wander off for a few months! I want to thank my mother, father and sister who traveled to PSU several times to help me take care of my son, and who also were his primary caregivers during my multiple trips! And of course, I'd like to thank my husband and son who were flexible, supportive and overall just wonderful for sacrificing so that I could do this.

Finally, I'd like to thank you, reader, for taking time out of your day to check out my blogs. If you ever want to look back at them, go ahead and CLICK HERE! and you'll find them! I know my mom (in true mom fashion) has kept a printed binder of all my posts, so you could always ask her, too! There are some pretty good little nuggets of ideas and curriculum for incorporating global learning into your classroom. I hope that in the new year you'll employ a few and work towards improving global competency among ourselves as professionals as well as our students.

David wishes you all a Merry Christmas! (photo: CarrieKizuka)
As for this experience, would I recommend it to others? Absolutely! As part of my duties as a fellow, I developed a description of the position so that, while I was the first Global Teach Ag! Fellow, I will hopefully not be the last! This is a remarkable experience and I hope that other Ag. teachers in PA will realize that every so often, we need to take a break to reinvigorate and re-inspire ourselves. It can be daunting to do what we do year in and year out; we work harder than a lot of teachers just by the nature of our job, and we need the ability to charge our batteries and come back stronger. These last few months did that for me!

Although this is my last official post, I am still around if you need me and always willing and passionate to talk about global learning. Over the next few months, I'll try to stop in and share some of what I'm doing in the classroom. I hope that the last few weeks of 2014 are blessed and happy for you and your family and that 2015 is your best year yet!
(photo: Carrie Kizuka photography)

Agriculturally Yours,

Nicole Weaver
PSU Global Teach Ag! Fellow
Agricultural Science Teacher


Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Digital Early Field Pre-Service Teaching Experiences: A Virtual Partnership between Minnesota & Penn State

They say never say “never”…..and it rings true!  I have always said, I never want to take an online class and I would never want to teach one, well… I was wrong!  This semester Janae Bickhart (@JanaeBickhart) and I were give the opportunity to be teaching assistance for a class in Minnesota from Penn State!  Yep, it all happened in Ferguson Building room 206 on Penn State's campus at University Park. It was unique, it was real and it was innovative.

Mr. Eric Sawatzke (@ESawatzke), Agriscience Teacher and FFA Advisor at Dassel-Cokato High School leads a unique, real and innovative program in Minnesota.  Eric will take a group of students to South Africa in August to engage in international agriculture.  To develop global agriculture learning objectives and asses global competency in a high school Global Agriculture and Agribusiness classroom, Dassel-Cokato Agriculture Program and Penn State Global Teach Ag! formed a partnership.   Janae Bickhart, 2015 AEE student teacher candidate and myself, Kayla Hack, 2017 student teacher candidate signed up for the challenge. 

How did this happen?
"The ability to talk to someone outside of our school.
 Gave us a second view on things."- Dassel Cakota Student
Every Friday the teaching assistants would video chat with the students in MN to teach a lesson.  The focus: Global Agriculture.  Lessons ranged from hunger issues worldwide to the importance of cooperatives as an agriculture business model for developing nations.  As teaching assistants we engaged virtually in the classroom Fridays and assisted with other 
grading and homework guidance. 

"It was something different, it made class more fun. I actually looked forward to Fridays not just because of the week end, but because of being able to talk to Penn State. It made the class way more interesting!"- Dassel Cokato Student

This opportunity was unique, it was taught from an office weekly to students across the country. 

It was real, the students through video were real, interactive, funny and impressive high school students that took an interest in global agriculture. We received real experience teaching lessons and using innovative technology.

It was innovative, when something is new creativity ripples, adapting lessons to be taught virtually while students were still able to have concrete and reflective experiences in class took creativity. This opportunity provided professional development for a pre-service agricultural 
educator and a twist on classroom learning. 

Unique. Real. Innovative. - Penn State Teach Ag!

To learn more about the PSU Global Teach Ag! Initiative check out our website:  

Yours in trying new opportunities,


Kayla Hack
Global Teach Ag! Intern
2017 Agricultural Education Student Teacher Candidate

Thursday, December 4, 2014

#teachagtech -> For the Love of Nearpod

For the Love of Nearpod

For the Love of Nearpod...Awesome Presentation and Formative Assessment Tool!

We are surrounded by apps, new technologies and constant reminders of better tools for our classroom.  It can be overwhelming.  However, every once and a while, a platform truly does deliver what it promises.  Nearpod is one I have come to trust and appreciate as an effective tool in the classroom.  Nearpod takes ordinary presentations and makes them interactive.  You can use Power Point Presentations you already have developed and use them in Nearpod (they just need to be converted to PDF format.)

Here is a short video on an introduction to Nearpod:

Here is a video on the teacher's perspective in Nearpod using an animal science based presentation:

Here is a video on the student's perspective in Nearpod as the teacher is presenting a "Live Session":

You have many options when creating your Nearpod to add various forms of assessments.  You can do open-ended questions, polls, drawings, and quizzes.  The following video will help with showing you the various options within Nearpod:

I hope this great interactive tool can help diversify your teaching techniques.  I know I have enjoyed planning lessons around using Nearpod and increasing the engagement of my students.

Happy Nearpod'ing!


If you have specific needs regarding technology in your classroom or have additional questions about Nearpod, please feel free to connect with me via the TeachAg! Technology Help Ticket

Yours in the Quest to be a Tech Savvy Aggie,

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

World Wisdom With Weaver - More Global Classroom Activities!

So, I've been working feverishly on my M.Ed. project and finding resources left and right. I came across one that I think has some really fun potential and wanted to share it! It's some curriculum that is global and STEM related. What great buzz words!
The group is called "Practical Action" and their main goal is to use technology to alleviate poverty in developing countries. They work in over 45 developing countries around the world.

One section of their website includes lesson plans that utilize problem solving and critical thinking to develop solutions to real-world global issues. The one I found first is called The Squashed Tomato Challenge and deals with tomato farmers in Nepal. Did you know that tomato production is HUGE in Nepal?! Well, it is! This lesson teaches students about the tomato industry in Nepal and a common problem that farmers in the higher altitude regions face when harvesting and transporting their product to the local markets. The lesson includes links to teacher notes, students, certificates and helpful videos. I plan to try this out in my classroom!

Want something else? Well then check out their STEM Challenges Page. It includes lessons for "Beat the Flood," "Wind Power," and more! 

Another link under the Global CREST Challenges includes even more activities. From their website:

Global CREST challenges are based around Practical Action's work, which uses science and technology to address global issues such as energy, water and food. They give students a real insight into how science and technology can be used to tackle challenges faced by communities in the developing world, and how they can be part of the solution. 
Check it out and I hope it helps you in the classroom! Let me know if you use any of these lessons! I'd like to see what is done with the challenges!

Agriculturally yours,

Nicole Weaver
PSU Global Teach Ag! Fellow
Agricultural Science Educator


Monday, November 24, 2014

#teachagtech -> Family Friendly Apps for these Holiday Times

Family Friendly Apps for the Holidays (and Classroom Too)

Cornman and Glock Family Spread - Thanksgiving 2013

Family Friendly Apps for the Holidays (and Classroom Too!)  Every year it seems the holiday season approaches more quickly.  I remember being told as a child, "enjoy your time now because time goes quicker as you grow older."  Sadly, I see this happening and can attest to the adage "times flies as you get older".  So I see time spent with family and friends as becoming more precious every year.  I hope during this holiday season, you are able to spend it with loved ones.  Thanksgiving is the holiday in which we travel the most, so the odds are good you will be able to see family you haven't seen in a while.  I know around this time this is when board games or puzzles were dug out to keep that healthy competition alive within the family dynamic.  If you make your way through some of the "old school" games and want a few fun alternatives, I thought it would be fun to show you a few apps you can use both in the classroom, but also just to have some fun.

The first app is colAR.  This is a 3D coloring app where drawings become 3D images.  They basically jump off the table at you and many are animated.  It truly suspends your concept of reality...or basically lets you step back and have a good chuckle.  Besides having fun with family, this can be used within the classroom directly as with the animal cell print out or as an interest approach for a creative project.  I especially like the "Dot Day" printable where you can draw anything within the circle and than once the you open the app and point your camera towards the paper you just drew on, it will animate the "dot".  {If you would like additional info on the Dot Day printable, please se this site from FableVision Learning.}  Go to the colAR website and scroll down for printables for your personal or classroom use.  At a later date, I will post about a more sophisticated app dealing with virtual reality.

Here is a video on what you might experience with colAR app:


The second app I would like to show you is Sock Puppets.  This is live animation app that allows you to voice record role playing situations.  At home, it could be a fun way to interact with family or ask a child to clean up their room.  At school, it could be a way for students to demonstrate they understand a concept via the role playing app.  It is easy to set-up and record.  You pick your characters and setting and than click the red record circle to record your voices.  If you need a tutorial, here is a YouTube video to guide you.

Here is a screenshot of the screen to record your voice prior to animation.

Another great live animation app is PuppetPals 2.  In this app, you can actually take a picture of yourself and use it as one of the heads of the interactive characters.  This is yet another opportunity for students to demonstrate understanding or to exchange information in a fun and interactive manner.  Here is a trailer on YouTube about PuppetPals 2.  

I hope these ideas can help in your classroom and add a bit of fun with family.  

All my best to you and yours during this holiday season.


If you have specific needs regarding technology in your classroom, please feel free to connect with me via the TeachAg! Technology Help Ticket

Yours in the Quest to be a Tech Savvy Aggie,

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

World Wisdom With Weaver - Multicultural Activities for the Classroom!

I know from years of teaching that this time in the school year is such fun - class holiday parties, assemblies, decorations throughout the halls. But these next few weeks can also be frustrating when trying to maintain focus, discipline and the drive to continue with the curriculum when the students have turkeys, cornucopias, sugarplums and holiday breaks on their mind.  I also know it's frustrating when family vacations coincide with these weeks and take students out of class for long periods of time.

My challenge to you is to see this time as a chance to broaden student minds. Take advantage of those days of "holiday ennui" when the students are antsy and you are just waiting for that bell to ring. I am supplying you in this blog with some activities you can use in class to promote multicultural learning and help students with cultural perspective. Most are lighthearted on the surface, and can help to get excess energy out, but they lead to good and deep discussions. 

Keep these in your toolkit to pull out when necessary. And hey, add one that I may have missed (just comment below - I'll even send you a little something if you do! Well, I mean as long as you email me your address!)
  • BARNGA - We played this game at the Global Learning in Agriculture Conference (#GLAG14) that was held November 7-8. It was a blast! It's a basic card game that has a great deal of teachable moments and discussion starting points. Most kids will get wrapped up in the game, but will then will have their minds blown when you start to point out some of the inner workings of what is happening. I have linked a few resources on the Global Agriculture Space on NAAE Communities of Practice. Check it out! 

  • Penn State Resources - the College of Agricultural Sciences, Agricultural Research and Cooperative Extension has developed (from what I could find) these two online resources that includes over 20 different activities. Not all are gold, but there are some good nuggets in there. Most are generalized, but can be tweaked to be more "global" and agricultural with some slight changes. Here are some of my favorites.
    1. Diversity Activities - My favorite from this one is Proverbs. It's a neat activity that could potentially lead to some other discussions or lessons. As an extension, it might be cool to research some of these sayings and find their origin in the culture.
    2. More Diversity Activities for Youth and Adults - From this one I liked Unequal Resources. It's made to fit economic diversity as I interpreted it, but easily you could change this to different "resources" that are unequal. 

  • Global Education Activities - This WEBSITE has links to all kinds of activities. These ones are more agriculturally minded, but have some great messages. Not all are for High School level, but there are several that are and can be used effectively in an Ag. classroom.
Enjoy the time leading up to these next two holiday breaks!

Agriculturally Yours,

Nicole Weaver
PSU Global Teach Ag! Fellow

Monday, November 17, 2014

Mark Anderson (@duecehorse1) National Agriscience Ambassador Shines at National Convention! #goFFA #TeachAg

Mark Anderson (@duecehorse1)

When you become a part of the Agriculture Education family, there are so many opportunities for you to grow professionally and personally! 

Mark Anderson (@duecehorse1), an Agriscience teacher at Elizabethtown, took that additional step to further expand his education by becoming a National Agriscience TeacherAmbassador! Through his hard work and dedication to agriculture education, he was selected to present a workshop to several teachers around the nation and on stage during one of the sessions at National Convention in Louisville, Kentucky.


Mark Anderson speaking on stage during a session

His ambassador position began when he learned about it through Mike Clark, Greenwood’s Agriscience teacher, and through the NAAE website. He was looking for something to “re-spark” his passion for agriculture. Through several applications that asked about his philosophy of teacher is and how he incorporates inquiry based learning in his classroom, he was selected to become a National ambassador! 

During the summer months, his training started where he would attend a one week work camp that started when the sun came up and wouldn’t be over till the sun went down! They learned about inquiry based learning, teaching strategies, and much more. 

Pj Simon (black shirt and pants) with her National Ambassadors
When asking Mr. Anderson what would be some advice he would have for future and present teachers, he stated “Step out of your comfort zone and don’t ever be discouraged when trying to reach your goals!” Showing his passion of agriculture throughout the week, he was truly able to teach how we can have our students grow as learners! 

As P.J. Simon (@pj_Simon), DuPont’s Program Administrator, says, “It’s not about changing the curriculum, but the way you teach which get’s the students to ask the right questions.” Overall the week was a success for highlighting our student’s success, and highlighting our outstanding teachers nationwide. 

To learn more about starting on the path to having a career that makes a positive impact on the lives of students across the globe by becoming an agricultural educator, please contact the agricultural teacher education program at Follow us on Twitter at TeachAgPSU, on Facebook, or on our blog!

 Olivia Murphy-Sweet
Student Blogger
Teach Ag! Avenger
Twitter Handle- @OSweetMurph
 2016 Agricultural Education Student Teacher

Thursday, November 13, 2014

#teachagtech -> Using Socrative in the Agriculture Classroom

Using Socrative to Engage Students in the Classroom

Using Socrative to Engage Students in the Classroom.  All agriculture educators are constantly juggling the living mechanism we know as agriculture education.  We manage many facets involving with the FFA, classroom instruction and SAE.  Tools that can be instantly and easily incorporated into the classroom are incredibly important.  Socrative is one of those tools and was introduced to me by my teaching colleague Neil Fellenbaum upon arriving at Penn Manor several years ago.  It is easy to create formative assessments to gage student understanding and provides a multitude of avenues to assess student learning.  It also allows you to collect student data to be used to differentiate instruction, regroup for review or be confident for a summative assessment.  I have used it many times as the "ticket out the door" or to do fun games to review for a test.  It is a very easy platform to use.  When you sign up, you receive a "classroom" number that is unique to you.  Students log on and use your classroom number to gain access to whatever challenge you place before them.

Here is an overview video on Socrative:

How to Create a Quiz:

How to Run a Quiz:

When you are finished with any type of evaluation, you can have reports sent or stored in many forms:

This is merely an introduction to Socrative.  As innovative educators, I'm sure you will find creative ways to incorporate this platform into your classroom.


If you have specific needs regarding technology in your classroom, please feel free to connect with me via the TeachAg! Technology Help Ticket

Yours in the Quest to be a Tech Savvy Aggie,

Diane Glock-Cornman
PSU Teach Ag! Technologist

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

World Wisdom with Weaver - Global Learning in Agriculture #GLAG14

Well, it seems that the temperatures in the north are starting to really match up to the time of year. This weekend I spent my time in blustery, but fun, Penn State!

From November 7-8, the College of Agricultural Sciences hosted the first "Global Learning in Agriculture" (#GLAG14) conference. Over 50 teachers, undergrads, professors, and professionals met at the Atherton Hotel to learn together.

I was fortunate enough to be a part of this two day event and was able to learn so much from those who spoke and shared.

Krista Pontius shares her travel experiences.
The first evening kicked off with some keynote presentations on lessons learned from experience by Dr. Kenneth Cushner (Kent State) and Dr. Kirby Barrick (UFL).

Dr. Melanie Miller Foster (@GlobalMelanie) shared with us a very fun presentation on Risk Management. Although a serious topic to consider when taking students abroad, she definitely managed to make it an engaging presentation.

I also enjoyed the two group presentations of the night. The first was led by Eric Sawatzke (@ESawatzke), an Agricultural Science teacher from Minnesota. He's currently working with our very own Kayla Hack (@HackKayla) and Janae Bickhart (@JanaeBickhart) to develop curriculum for his classes that involves distance education from these two amazing young ladies. They reflected on their experiences with this class so far and all that they are learning and creating.

The group assembles and mingles!

After that, Megan Merrill (@megan_merrill), an Agriculture Science Teacher from Springport, Michigan, and Jeff Garrison of the AEC Spanish Institute discussed their experience working together to provide Megan's students with a study abroad opportunity to Turrialba, Costa Rica. It was really interesting to hear how Megan put the trip together so quickly and was able to provide such a unique and engaging experience for her students.

On the second day, we got down to the nitty-gritty!  

(L-R) Jeff Garrison, Eric Sawatzke, David Bittner

Dr. Cushner led an AMAZING learning experience for the group. We discussed the concept of Intercultural Development and the hangups that we have to consider when learning to become more intercultural in our thinking and teaching. To illustrate some of the concepts, we played a game called "Barnga" and considered perceptions and misconceptions can cause barriers to our growth. We learned about Robert Hanvey's Dimensions of a Global Perspective and worked on ways to integrate these concepts into our lessons. 

After lunch, we were treated to a panel discussion moderated by Dr. Andrew Thoron of the University of Florida. The panel consisted of a professor (Dr. Dennis Buffington, PSU CAS Professor Emeritus of Agricultural and Biological Engineering, Distinguished Professor of Moscow State Agro-Engineering), a current Ag. Teacher (Krista Pontius, Greenwood PA Agriscience Teacher, NAAE Region VI Vice President, Past PAAE President, @KristaPontius) and a current AEE undergrad (Jasmine Graybill, PSU AEE Major, 2015 Student Teacher, @JasmineGraybill). This panel discussed their experiences with traveling, learning and teaching abroad and their plans and dreams to incorporate global learning into classrooms.

Dr. Cushner is just amazing!
We ended the day with some excited group brainstorming sessions and some challenges from the group, specifically, "Wouldn't it be cool if". Each participant walked away with a vast amount of resources, prizes, and a text on Global Learning. 

In the coming months, we plan to continue our growth by discussing the books on NAAE CoP as well as posting lessons and ideas to the site as well (Space: Global Agriculture).

It was an exciting and inspiring weekend. I like that it was a mix of people at different places in their careers and working in the field of global learning and competency in different ways. It was an atmosphere of sharing and collaboration and I feel confident that good things are to come from this group of highly motivated and global-passionate people!

If you didn't attend, you truly missed out! 

Agriculturally Yours,
Nicole Weaver
PSU Global Teach Ag! Fellow
Agriscience Educator

Got to share the experience with my wonderful former student, Jill Gordon!

Monday, November 10, 2014

#psuaged16, Olivia Murphy-Sweet- National Teach Ag Ambassador!

Olivia Murphy-Sweet (@OSweetMurph), a 2016 student teacher, was chosen to represent the National Teach Ag Campaign as a 2014 National Teach Ag. Ambassador. Through an application and phone interview process, Olivia was selected to be one of 12 Ambassadors across the nation.

Olivia will participate in numerous events throughout the year spreading awareness about the shortage of agriculture educators across the nation. During the National FFA Convention in Louisville, Kentucky, Olivia worked at the National Teach Ag booth interacting with the many FFA members, advisors, parents and others.
 "It was awesome to work with 12 outstanding individuals from nine different states. I loved spreading the word about Agriculture Education and making an impact!"

Olivia's greatest takeaway from her experience with the National Teach Ag Campaign so far, is that she has had the chance to meet teachers all across the country that are willing to share and help you with anything. She said "after meeting the other ambassadors and many Ag teachers, their enthusiasm and passion for the program re-lit my spark and excitement to teach! I cannot wait to work with these ambassadors throughout the year!"

Olivia and the other National Teach Ag Ambassadors!
Olivia is excited to take the skills she learns through this experience to her student teaching next year! Her position as a National Teach Ag Ambassador requires her to teach lessons to students, attend important events all year and be one of the faces for the National Teach Ag Campaign. All of these will impact what she can bring to her future career in a different and new perspective!

To find out more about the National Teach Ag Campaign, check out their website!

To learn more about starting on the path to having a career that makes a positive impact on the lives of students across the globe by becoming an agricultural educator, please contact the agricultural teacher education program at Follow us on Twitter at TeachAgPSU, on Facebook, or on our blog!

Laura Metrick 
Student Blogger
2015 Student Teacher

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

World Wisdom With Weaver - Global Learning Blogging!

I'm a surfer. No, not the sun-kissed glistening skin, bleach blonde, "gnarly" dude surfer. I'm a web surfer. Yes, the internet can suck you in to a vortex of funny cat videos, kids being adorable, 50 pins that I'll never actually do, etc. But, it can also be a realm of knowledge, growth, and new ideas to challenge and expand your horizons.

And it connects us to people from all over the world - different cultures, races, religions, ideas - who can share ideas.

In short, global learning and the ever-expanding internet are pretty much hand in hand.  Through this blog series, I've found that to be an ever constant fact. I'm honored to share my insight and discoveries with you, but there are plenty of others out there who are more well-traveled, more eloquent and writing more about global competency!

For this entry, I sought to find other bloggers who are using the Internet to share their ideas and experiences of global learning.

In particular, I'm going to highlight five resources:

1. Matador Network - @MatadorNetwork (also @MatadorU) This isn't a blog per se, but it is a vast resource of travel information and first-hand experiences from people who are living, working, thriving, and writing about travel. In particular, I found an interesting article written about the American vs. European view of travel (Americans Need a Thesis Statement for Travel). I enjoyed the article thoroughly. Now, teachers, some of this content is not G-rated, so I suggest pre-viewing before sharing. But it has some great insight from people who travel. A great resource to use with students. Their contributors come from all over the world and share stories about travel, living in other countries, learning culture, and taking photographs. 

2. Education Week - @educationweek Yes, once again, this isn't a blog I've given you, but please open THIS LINK. On the page are several blogs about teachers and international education/global learning. You have to register to read the entirety of most of the articles, but they have a FREE option (it lets you read three articles/blogs per month. Or you can subscribe for about $60 a year). Some ones of note?
  • A Global Artology Program - Guest blogger Jamaine Smith discussed this program developed by a Build A Bridge initiative. Students from Philadelphia spent weeks over the summer in an experiential learning program. It enlisted the help of artists, science teachers and medical students to develop the curriculum. They worked in and around Philadelphia doing various activities and then got to speak to students from Ecuador as part of the program. I highly recommend the read - cool stuff happening here!
  •  Real World Connections to Global Learning - I like how this blog discusses how the blogger's school has incorporated global learning into multiple academic disciplines. Meghan Sullivan covers efforts from the World History teachers to the French teacher and even discusses how they partnered with Proctor and Gamble in regards to clean water. They have typically done a lesson on water where they collected water to test the quality. Proctor and Gamble provided them with a lesson on "Children's Safe Drinking Water Campaign" and water filter packets. The students then had to clean the water with the packets provided.
3. The NEA FoundationGlobal Learning Fellow This blog series (you have to scroll down toward the bottom of the page to link to the blogs) followed a group of 30 teachers who traveled to China in June of this year. It was part of a year-long fellowship. There was one in 2013 to Brazil. 

4. Global Learning PartnersBLOG - "Speaking of Dialogue" This blog has some fun posts about global learning. I encourage you to stop by and check out a few!

5. Shady Side AcademyGlobal Learning Blog This one is so cool! The students at Shady Side Academy are able to participate in diverse travel programs that take them across the globe and involve them in culture, service experiences and more! This blog is in the words of the very students who are traveling - a great way to show your students the benefits of travel!

Do you have any to add? Please comment below! 

Oh and hey! Have you checked out the NAAE CoP Global Agriculture page? You haven't?!? Well, HERE IS THE LINK - Global Agriculture Space. It's a great place to collaborate with other teachers, share your ideas/curriculum and get ideas from others regarding global learning in agriculture! Let's make it a great resource for everyone!

Agriculturally Yours,

Nicole Weaver
PSU Global Teach Ag! Fellow
Agriculture Science Teacher

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

#TheNextNorm World Food Prize: Perspectives from the Global Teach Ag! Intern

The World Food Prize is an event to recognize those that are taking on “The Greatest Challenge in Human History”, feeding the world by improving food systems and quality.   Norman Borlaug is at the heart and history of this event.   Dr. Borlaug is known as the father of the green revolution and credited with saving millions of lives because of his research.   He was a Nobel Peace Prize winner and hoped to have an award to recognize others in food and agricultural improvement.  The World Food Prize was started as a result of that.  Paired with the World Food Prize was the Global Youth Institute, where students from across the country took on “the greatest challenge in human history”, researching their way to being #TheNextNorm

So what is this hashtag #thenextnorm all about?  It is about giving students opportunities and avenues to find and research ideas to become the next Norman Borlaug, and to challenge the norm of society around the world.  I have no doubt the roomed filled with over 150 students held “The Next Norm”.  

Students sharing their research!
These “next norms” are innovative, inspiring and they are our future. As one of the speakers said, in some generations put a man on the moon or created the computer, this generation will  feed the world.  The students at the Youth Institute did not take that lightly, they chose a developing country, one factor effecting that countries food insecurity, and came up with solutions to improve food systems through anything from education to infrastructure.  As they shared their findings with a panel of experts,  their passion and determination filled the room.

Agricultural Education around the country differs, but if we want one thing to tie it together, maybe it should be Global Agriculture.  Why?  My question is why not?  These student proved it to me this week, as a high school student stood in front of laureates, expert faculty and his peers and said, “We came up with a whole list of problems… ..but we came up with two pages of solutions.”  They made me want to learn more on my own, research on my own and join them.  

2014 Laureate, Dr. Rajaram shared a conversation that happened between him Dr. Borlaug, and it applies here as well. He said, It didn’t happen right away but it was a process involving a global team.  We have a team, are you willing to join us?

Check out what Secretary Vilsack had to say to encourage young people in agriculture!

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

World Wisdom With Weaver - Global Learning with Infographics

Yes, I know, Diane Glock-Cornman is our tech guru...but at the World Food Prize/Global Youth Institute, I had the awesome opportunity to take part in a teacher's professional workshop hosted by Donna Nesbitt (Director of GlobalEd Network of Central Ohio). She is also a consultant with the Asia Society. Although this organization is devoted to promoting understanding and developing relationships between Asia and the United States, they have a large collection of education materials that can be applied to global learning in a much larger context. Check out their Educational Resources for some ideas.

At the WFP/GYI, Donna led a group of educators from around the country in a lesson centered on infographics.  First, Donna defined global competence - "The knowledge, capacity, and disposition to understand and act on the dynamic interrelated global issues that confront humanity."

Then, we discussed 4 aspects of a globally competent student - the ability to Investigate the World, to Recognize Perspectives, to Communicate Ideas, and finally to Take Action. (Global Competency Matrix)

Finally, Donna provided us with an activity to develop an infographic. Not sure what an infographic is? I'm sure you've seen one...

Infographics are  visual way of representing information to an audience. These can be used for a variety of topics, but are utilized quite well for the concepts discussed in a global leadership curriculum or class. Infographics are also a way for the lesson to be SAGE (Student Choice, Authentic Tasks, Global Impact, Exhibition to an Audience). These are absolutely relevant and authentic tasks as they are used in a wide variety of professions. Students are probably pretty well-versed in these already! This lesson would be great to culminate a unit on global issues.

So, how do you use this in class?  Start by introducing infographics as a way to represent data. Then students will do this:

  • Choose an issue
  • Define your position on the issue.
  • Gather numerical data.
  • Identify your audience
  • Choose the best format to tell a story with the data.
  • Choose design elements like colors and symbols
  • Create the infographic
  • Get feedback on your infographic.
You can provide students an article or source of data, or you can give them free reign on the issue/information.  Be sure to check all sources for validity.  

As far as making the infographic - there are many options! Students can choose "old-school" and can make one with paper. Particularly artistic students may even prefer this as they can cut apart  magazines or create drawings and juxtapose images with content. Students who are kinesthetic/artistic may prefer this method. Student who prefer technology can try their hand at creating one on the computer. They can simply use Publisher, Powerpoint, or Word. If they want to get a little more creative, here are some websites that provide free (or free versions) programs to help create infographics:
  • Google Developers - You can create a website that is is an operational infographic. 
  • (get it?!) This is a free web-based infographic tool that offers a dozen or so free templates to start, and these are able to customize to fit your needs. There is a library with shapes like arrows and shapes and you can even upload your own graphics and photos to use.
  • Piktochart - This is the one a fellow teacher at my worktable recommended to me. She has been using it for a while and enjoys it. You can modify fonts and color schemes, and it has some pre-loaded graphics and basic shapes and images. There's a free version of this, or you can really commit and upgrade to a pro account (about $170 per year)
  • (get it?!) This site makes infographics, videos, web experiences, and presentations. This one is cool because you can easily share the infographics you create on social media (There's that "exhibition to an audience" piece!!)
  • Venngage - This one was pretty awesome and I think the one that I'll be using in my International Agriculture Leadership class the next semester. It's easy, it's free and you can publish your infographics! You can even animate them!
So, get started! Your students are sure to love this engaging and interactive way to use technology and data to learn more about global agriculture. Please share your results in the comments, or even tell us about other infographic websites we can use! Sharing is caring :)

Agriculturally yours,

Nicole Weaver
PSU Global Teach Ag! Fellow
Agricultural Science Educator

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

World Wisdom with Weaver - Ms. Weaver goes to World Food Prize!

Des Moines @ Night (view from Hotel Room)
Oh readers! The last ten days have been some of the most remarkable of my life! I am beyond excited to share my experiences with you, so sit back, relax, and enjoy reading my tales of World Food Prize!

Each year, the humble city of Des Moines, Iowa busts at the seams as hundreds of scientists, politicians, professionals, researchers, students, teachers and others descend upon it for the World Food Prize. Begun in 1986, this event was initiated by Norman Borlaug to (from the website): "recognize - without regard to race, religion, nationality, or political beliefs - the achievements of individuals who have advanced human development by improving the quality, quantity or availability of food in the world." 

Each year, since 1987, a Laureate has been named and awarded a monetary prize through a sponsorship funded by businessman and philanthropist, John Ruan. The World Food Prize event allows committed parties from all over the world to come together, share, challenge, and try to solve the issue of providing food for the population. 
Kayla and I in the lobby 

I arrived Wednesday night and was soon joined by my roommate and partner-in-learning for the event, Kayla Hack (@HackKayla), the PSU Global Teach Ag! Intern. We were both a little nervous and unsure of what to expect, but we're both adventurous, so we were ready to see what WFP had to offer! Our first day there, we traveled to the Marriott Hotel and were immediately immersed in the hustle and bustle of the event. We zoomed up to the 2nd floor and joined one of the Borlaug Dialogues being held there. The first was a round table discussion on Soil Health and Fertilizer. Then we were honored to hear Dr. Pamela Anderson (Director of Agricultural Development, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation) address the group.

Kayla and I were lucky enough to meet Dr. Emma!
Next, came a presentation regarding the development of the African smallholder and women's education. This was also my favorite presentation of the entire event. Dr. Emma Naluyima Mugerwa was dynamic, interesting, inspiring and humorous all at once! Her presentation was magical and had every person in the room wanting to drop everything and return with her to Uganda to help her realize her dreams! If you can, I recommend you checking out the WEBCASTS from the event. They were all so interesting.

At the luncheons we were served meals that centralized or highlighted particular foods or people - our first meal centered on the soybean, and the other meals honored the keynote speakers including Dr. Rajaram, the 2014 WFP Laureate! Delicious meals and great company! We met a family farmer from England who had been nominated to attend by his county, a specialist in animal genomics and biotechnology who makes educational parodies of hit songs, and an adviser for a company that provides micro-financing to name a few!

Dr. Rajaram receives his award at the luncheon
But, the World Food Prize wasn't the only event occurring! In addition to the esteemed participants of the event, there were 170 students accompanied by their teachers, parents or advisors attending the Global Youth Institute. These students had developed a research paper detailing information on a country and issue they chose. These ranged from water quality in India to infrastructure of Japan and providing hot lunches to children in Bolivia. They mingled with the World Food Prize participants and participated in learning sessions during the week.
Borlaug and Ruan family members!

Teachers also challenged themselves. There was a teacher professional development workshop that I attended with Kayla. We learned some techniques to incorporate global learning into the classroom (I'll share in a future blog!).  We even met up with fellow Pennsylvanian Tiffany Turrentine (teacher at W.B. Saul HS in Philadelphia)! She made PA proud by sharing her expertise and creativity with the group!
Tiffany share her visual of global issues

On Saturday, the students had their chance to shine! They were split into several smaller groups consisting of 7-10 student presenters, 3 panel members, and a mediator. Teachers, parents and guests were able to move about the rooms. There, each student summarized their research and recommendations in a 3-minute presentation. The panel members (consisting of field experts from around the world) then made comments and asked questions. After all presentations, each group then elected a representative to share out to the whole group later in the day.

On Saturday, I also saw the posters and met some of the 23 Borlaug-Ruan International Interns from this year. Three accomplished young ladies were kind enough to share with me on video their experiences. Students attending the Global Youth Institute are eligible to apply for this amazing experience. Why would any student not want to take advantage of this opportunity?!

I want to personally thank Jacob Hunter, Keegan Kautzky, Lisa Fleming and Libby Crimmings. These amazing people have made this event possible and were so kind to welcome Kayla and me in and teach us about the program. 

Students and teachers, I absolutely encourage you to investigate this opportunity. The students I met during this event where poised, creative, respectful, mature and full of amazing potential. We ABSOLUTELY have those qualities in PA students! Students can apply to be interns internationally or can work stateside with the Washington Carver Internship. Please check it out, you will not be disappointed! 

Kayla & I and the WB Saul reps got to meet Dr. Rajaram!

As always my friends, keep looking for those great opportunities to travel, share, grow and learn. Although I traveled to a destination within the US, the things I experienced have changed me forever. Travel, meeting people of diverse backgrounds, challenging yourself in new situations and simply putting yourself out there can have positive and lasting affects on your life!

Agriculturally Yours,

With Dr. Ngumbi of Auburn University (originally from Kenya)
Nicole Weaver
PSU Teach Ag! Fellow
PA Agriculture Teacher
Hooked on World Food Prize!