Monday, September 29, 2014

Bringing You Along on the Quest to be a Tech Savvy Aggie…

In the spring of 2013, I set out to create a blog {E-Learn in Ag: A Quest to be Tech Savvy Aggie} to begin journaling ways of diversifying teaching techniques by integrating technology.  It began as an online notebook of sorts, but to also {hopefully} help fellow educators in their classroom.  Over the last several years, I have had the privilege of developing online curriculum and taking some post-masters courses in learning technologies.  I have learned a great deal about how effective online learning happens {and doesn’t}.  As I start this journey, I’m not sure how I feel about the title “technologist” - this implies I’m an expert in this field - but I would rather think of myself as a lifetime learner who is focusing efforts in the area of technology and to help out my fellow educators.  I am humbled and feel privileged to be asked to provide information to help my colleagues provide resources to ease the magnitude of responsibilities placed on ag teachers, find ways to be more effective educators, provide support for teacher evaluations and practically integrate technology in their classroom.  So, here we go….

After teaching for nine years in my hometown at the Juniata HS Agriculture program as a single teacher to my current role as a team member of four agriculture educators at Penn Manor High School, I have seen a wide array of differing opportunities available to educators and differences in technology utilization.  My perspective on technology is that no one technological tool will fix poor classroom pedagogy. I feel integrating technology is one more tool for your teacher toolbox.  If managed properly, it can be a way to more effectively manage time, assessments and student engagement.  In addition, I feel we must present students with as advanced technology as our districts will provide to keep them current so they are poised to be successful in future careers.  

In previous educational technology experiences, I have learned in some cases, we end up teaching the platform for the technology as opposed to effectively communicating the course content we want the student to master.  In this time period of teaching the platform (ie Moodle, Blackboard, or MindMeister), we lose them just as if we were standing in front of the room lecturing and dictating from a book with our kids slouched over in their seats daydreaming about what the coming weekend.  {Below is the visual I had of my classroom when things go wrong.}

Through my series of blog posts, I will be covering the following general topics:
  •   Easy classroom integration tools (Nearpod, Socrative, etc)
  •   Why technology and SAMR Model of technology integration.
  •   Google Drive and Education Tools
  •   Open-Source vs iPad Technologies
  •   Agriculture Apps
  •   Moodle and Blackboard use in the classroom
  •   Graphic design, video and using other types of media

I ask you to begin thinking about what you need help with in your classroom: “if I could only do this…it would be so much easier”.  Evaluate how you use technology in your classroom and what you would like to improve on.  In addition, I ask you to begin thinking about how social media plays a role in your agriculture program.  I would like to tailor blog posts to real-time problems and issues.

I hope what I have to offer will be of use to you in your classroom.  If you would like to see learning technology tidbits, follow me on Twitter @DGCornman.  

Yours in the Quest to be a Tech Savvy Aggie,

Diane Glock-Cornman
PSU Teach Ag! Technologist

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

World Wisdom with Weaver: Changes in Latitude, Changes in Attitude

"We wander for distraction, but we travel for fulfillment." ~Hilaire Belloc
"As the traveler who has once been from home is wiser than he who has never left his own doorstep, so a knowledge of one other culture should sharpen our ability to scrutinize more steadily, to appreciate more lovingly, our own." ~Margaret Mead
A Collage of my France trip
In my senior year of high school, my french club (Societe Honoraire de Francais) offered us a 10 day tour of France. It included Paris, Loir Valley, Mont St. Michel and several other places. My best friend and I decided we were going on this trip together as a last "hoorah" as best friends before we went off to separate universities. It was an amazing trip! We ate baguettes in Paris, toured the tiny medieval town of St. Michel, touched the plaque outside Notre Dame and stood in awe at the amazing chateaus of the countryside. That trip changed me. It opened my eyes to a greater world beyond my front door; it made me love other cultures and seek new experiences; it made me brave to try new things; it made me yearn to know people from different backgrounds. It made me appreciate what it means to be HUMAN.

Several years later, I had the opportunity to travel to Poland and Ukraine with Penn State CAS for an agricultural tour of several cities in these two countries. One evening, we went out to see a ballet in Lviv and our translator was called away and so was our group leader. Suddenly, we were 8 American kids with 5 Ukrainian kids. We didn't speak their language and they barely spoke ours. Suddenly, I began to speak in French. One of the girls in the group had studied there for 6 months and began to answer me! So, here we were in Ukraine communicating in French! And I realized right there that travelling to other countries, speaking other languages, and appreciating people for their culture is a beautiful gift. 

And now I'd like to encourage you (yes you!) to take that plunge as well. Experience the gift of travel abroad, learn about a new culture, put yourself in a scary situation, find that you have courage and compassion deep in your heart. TRAVEL!!

EF Tours in Dominican Republic
I know it's scary, especially these days, but my friends, it is so worth it. And agriculture is a unifying occupation in all nations. We all grow food and we all care about how food is grown. You, as an agricultural science student, have a unique opportunity to not just travel, but to make a difference in your travels. My hope for you is that you'll travel somewhere before you graduate college. It's not hard, there are more opportunities today than there were when I was in school. But you have to make that choice.  You won't regret it.  

Here are some ideas to help you out:

Talk to your teachers about EF Tours (@EFTours) (On Facebook)

EF Tours Summit Experience
This company has evolved in recent years and what they offer now is impressive. You can do everything from a service learning tour, to language immersion, to global summits. At the summits they've had keynote speakers from Al Gore to Jane Goodall work with the participants. And they can also customize a trip to suit your particular needs. In the coming months I'm going to be working with one of their representatives to develop an Agricultural Sciences Trip to the Dominican Republic for an 8 day service learning experience on a local farm. Interested? Have your Ag. Teacher contact me! I'm looking for a few schools to pioneer this trip!

2.Global Youth Institute
World Food Prize - Global Youth Institute. Technically this one is in Des Moines, Iowa. But hear me out! This is a great conference that brings together scientists, activists, students and professionals from all over the world! You have to apply to be accepted, but it's worthwhile. In addition to this, they offer the Borlaug-Ruan International Internship which gives students the opportunity to spend 8 weeks working with scientists and policymakers from around the world!

3. International Programs in the College of Ag. Sciences at PSU!
Somewhere in Ukraine! :)
On the train from Poland to Ukraine
CAS - INTAG. Most universities/colleges have a study abroad program, but #1 I'm a PSU girl so I have to support my Alma Mater and #2 I think PSU does a better job than most with the opportunities it provides! And in the College of Ag. Sciences there are so many great ways to travel and study agriculture! Who could ask for anything more?! You can do a summer abroad, fall break abroad, or an entire semester abroad. There are many options to fit your own academic needs. My advice? Don't make excuses, you are in college once so make the most of it!
4. A few others...Ketja Lingenfelter (Assistant Director for Student Global Engagement) has given me a few sites for you to check out:

Once again, these are just a few of the many opportunities you have to travel outside the U.S. I find these options to be the most practical, beneficial, and of quality for agricultural science students, but there are plenty more! Found a good one? Then comment below to share with others. And please, PLEASE consider travelling abroad. Who knows, it just may change your life!

"Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness." 
~Mark Twain

The Streets of Lviv, Ukraine
Agriculturally Yours,

Nicole Weaver

PSU Global Teach Ag! Advocate

World Traveler, Admirer of New Places

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

National Teach Ag Day! #teachag #taglive14

Did you know that September 25th is National Teach Ag Day?! Teachers and students alike will be celebrating school based agricultural education and to help spread awareness about what great opportunities and careers are involved in agriculture! 

Penn State is putting our own spin on this day! The Teach Ag! Society officers and the Teach Ag! Avengers have worked hard to make sure that we spread awareness and of course make it fun for Penn State students and the Penn State professors in the agriculture college.

 Some activities that you will see on September 25th are below! 

A faculty breakfast will be served in 214 Ferguson Building from 8AM to 11AM. 

 We have entered into the Teach Ag Day Collegiate Picture Contest with this picture:

We will be participating in the Live Webcast from 1-3 PM making our presence known through our social media! If you would like to join, please meet us in Ferguson Building Room 213 and don't forget to bring a form of technology so you can join in the conversation! If you cannot make these times don't worry! If you click on this link, you can tweet to jump in by using the hashtag 'taglive14' and direct it towards @Teach_Ag !

The Teach Ag! Avengers will also be serving popcorn promoting this day on the Creamery lawn starting at 11 AM! 

Let’s all come together as Nittany Lions, and celebrate this day together! Just think, without our agriculture teachers, Penn State would not be formally known as the Farmers High School!

We hope to see you there! 

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