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: http://aese.psu.edu/teachag/global.  

Yours in trying new opportunities,


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

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