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!

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