Archive for working differently

4-H LIFE: A WDinExt Podcast

I’m embarrassed to admit I had thought little about the needs of children with an incarcerated parent. I had never thought about Cooperative Extension’s ability to help those kids until I found out about the 4-H LIFE program.

My colleagues in the eXtension Educational Technology Network brainstormed a list of potential guests for the podcast, and Lynna Lawson’s name was on it. Lynna helps lead 4-H LIFE, a program for children of offenders and their families, in Missouri. After an emotional and eye-opening review of the work 4-H LIFE is doing, I couldn’t wait to talk with her.

Here’s our conversation.

Examining eXtension: A WDinExt Podcast

First, an apology. I’m sorry for the recent radio silence. The holidays and a family-wide cold/flu epidemic have me well behind. So far behind, that I am just now posting this interview that was recorded last month.

Cayla Taylor, a program coordinator at Iowa State University, talked with me about the Journal of Extension article, “Examining eXtension: Diffusion, Disruption, and Adoption Among Iowa State University Extension and Outreach Professionals,” which she co-authored with Greg Miller.

I think it brings up some interesting discussions about eXtension and its current rate of adoption among Extension professionals.

What do you think? Is eXtension being used in your state? Do you think the number of Extension professionals using eXtension tolls is a good measure of its success? Share your thoughts in the comments. Thanks!

Podcast Exchange: A WDinExt Podcast

The latest Working Differently in Extension podcast is a testament to working out loud. Justin Thomas, a family and consumer science agent with University of Tennessee Extension, gave the small gift of gratitude to Jamie Seger. Jamie, Program Director, Educational Technology, Ohio State University Extension, and Paul Hill, Extension Assistant Professor, Utah State University Extension, wrote the article, “The Future of Extension Leadership Is Soft Leadership,” for the Journal of Extension. Justin emailed Jamie to express his appreciation for the article and invited Jamie to appear on his podcast, “Blue Ribbons & Boots.”

Then it was Jamie’s turn. Since Justin said he had a podcast, she decided to introduce him to me. In network building that’s called, “closing the triangle.” Jamie’s connection with Justin forms one edge of the triangle, and her connection with me forms another. Jamie closed the triangle by connecting Justin to me to form the final edge.

I’m glad she did. Justin and I connected for an informal conversation about our podcasts, and agreed to an exchange program. Justin would appear as a guest on WDinExt, and I would join Justin on “Blue Ribbons & Boots.” I got the first shot. Age before beauty, I guess.

Be sure out check out Justin’s podcast on Facebook, iTunes, and/or Spreaker.

Here’s my conversation with Justin. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

Effective Community-Engaged Outreach: A WDinExt Podcast

Sara Axtell and Kari Smalkoski are two of the authors of the Journal of Extension article, “One Size Does Not Fit All: Effective Community-Engaged Outreach Practices with Immigrant Communities.” When I first read the article, I immediately connected it to my interest in collective action networks. Community-engaged outreach practices prioritize relationship building, reciprocity and two-way sharing of knowledge. All of those priorities have a place in a networked approach to problem solving as well.

Cooperative Extension needs to do a better job of engaging the public, not just as audience members, but as co-learners and co-creators. As Sara said in the podcast, we need to think about where the ideas for our programs come from, what issues we are trying to address and about “partnering with communities and engaging with communities way before a program starts.” Sara continued, we need to “remember that communities have their own priorities that might be different than our priorities.” When we create programs first, without including the community in that creation, it’s difficult to think of the community as anything other than audience, a group to be talked at and marketed to.

Photo credit: courtesy Ramsey County Minnesota on Flickr, https://flic.kr/p/9wsiYi 

Innovation in Extension: A WDinExt Podcast

Over the past several weeks I’ve talked with members Jamie Seger and Paul Hill, director Keith Smith about the Extension Committee on Organization and Policy’s (ECOP) Innovation Task Force.

When I spoke with Innovation Task Force members Bradd Anderson and Hunter McBrayer, I wanted to keep the conversation more general. Bradd and Hunter have really valuable insights into innovation in Extension. I hope you enjoy our conversation.

Getting Growers to Go Digital: A WDinExt Podcast

Cooperative Extension has created many decision support tools in spreadsheet, websites and apps, but are people actually using these tools?

Wendy Johnson and Brian McCornack from Kansas State University looked into the acceptance of these kind of applications and shared their findings in their Journal of Extension article, “Getting Growers to Go Digital: The Power of a Positive User Experience.”

We talked about technology adoptions, especially among crop producers, in the conversation below.

Dr. Chelsey Ahrens: A WDinExt Podcast

We’ve been flirting with Snapchat at NDSU Extension Service. We’ve created some on-demand geofilters for events, but we don’t have ant NDSU Extension Snapchat accounts.

Dr. Chelsey A. Ahrens, Specialty Livestock/Youth Education Specialist with University of Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service,  has fully embraced Snapchat for her Arkansas 4-H Livestock program. I talked about how she is using Snapchat and other social media to reach 4-H participants and their families.

Dr. Keith Smith: A WDinExt Podcast

A few weeks ago on the podcast, I talked with Jamie Seger and Paul Hill about their experience on the Extension Committee on Organization and Policy’s (ECOP) Innovation Task Force. On the latest episode, spoke with Dr. Keith Smith, who chaired that task force.

Dr. Smith is Professor Emeritus at The Ohio State University. He served as the director of Ohio State University Extension for more than 20 years.

It was great to get a former director’s perspective on innovation in Cooperative Extension. Dr. Smith is frank about Extension’s need to innovate. He referenced the Innovation: An American Imperative, the call by industry leaders for policies and investments to ensure the U.S. remains a global innovation leader, in asking if its imperative that the nation innovate, why should it not be imperatve for Extension?

Dr. Smith also mentioned the book Collective Genius: The Art and Practice of Leading Innovation by Linda Hill, Greg Brandeau, Emily Truelove and Ken Lineback. He had his cabinet read this book while at Ohio State University Extension.

Dr. Smith is a respected leader in Cooperative Extension. Here’s hoping the system hears his call for innovation.

Citizen Science and Extension: A WDinExt Podcast

The increasing public distrust of science is one of the indirect threats to the future of Cooperative Extension. Obviously, an organization founded to diffuse research-based information and innovation would have an extremely hard time functioning in a country that had stopped trusting science.

Citizen science has the potential to rebuild trust in science by engaging people in the scientific process. It could also engage people in improving their own lives and communities, sharing in the work Extension often aims to do. Citizen science benefits Extension, and so Extension should be working to encourage it.

Katie Stofer, a research assistant professor at the University of Florida in the Agricultural Education and Communication department, has spent a year researching the state of citizen science in Cooperative Extension as part of an eXtension Fellowship. She shared some of what she learned on the latest episode of the podcast.

Innovation Task Force: A WDinExt Podcast

Jamie Seger, Educational Technology Program Director at The Ohio State University, and Paul Hill, County Educator and Extension Associate Professor (4-H) at Utah State University, co-lead the eXtension Educational Technology Learning Network (EdTechLN).

They join us periodically on the podcast to discuss the emerging technologies and issues in Cooperative Extension, and what’s going on in EdTechLN. In the conversation below, we focused on the Extension Committee on Orgaization and Policy’s Innovation Task Force, which Paul and Jamie both served on.