eXtension is seeking applications for the 2014 fellowship program to focus on state and local value enhancement. To be eligible applicants must be Extension professionals, agents, or educators working at the local (county or parish) level. One agent/educator will be chosen from each of the five CES regions (Northeast, Southern, North Central, Western, 1890s). The five Extension professionals will work with the eXtension State and Local Value Enhancement (SLVE) program. The SLVE program focuses on adding value at a state and county level through both eXtension resources and helping Extension professionals work and engage differently using technology and new engagement concepts.
With outstanding keynote speakers (Dave Gray & Jane Hart) and more than 90 pre-conference and concurrent sessions proposed, it’s time to register for the 2014 National eXtension Conference & National Extension Directors/Administrators joint meeting. Scheduled for March 24-27 in Sacramento, Calif., the meeting promises to bring together outstanding ideas on technology, learning, working differently, and social networking in the beautiful California capitol city. Early registration for the NeXConf/NEDA joint meeting ends March 7, 2014. To register for the conference go to: http://conference.extension.org/.
The conference schedule officially kicks off with a joint reception on Monday, March 24 featuring exhibits and technology demonstrations. Other joint meeting opportunities revolve around keynote speakers Dave Gray (Tuesday, March 25) and Jane Hart (Thursday, March 27). The two groups will dine together several times during the conference and enjoy a joint luncheon celebration where eXtension awards will be presented and CES Awards will be recognized.
NEDA members will meet concurrently with the NeXConf attendees. Cooperative Extension’s Committee on Organization and Policy (ECOP) will also meet during the conference period.
Pre-conference workshops have been proposed on iFilmmaking, Building Marketing Plans, Social Media in Extension, Video Aggregation and more.
The conference will be held at the Hyatt Regency Sacramento. Hotel reservations are available now.
Join us March 24-27, 2014!
Have you considered issuing digital badges to your Extension learners? In case you are wondering what digital badges are, how they get issued, and how they can be used, then you might be interested in reading about Mozilla’s Open Badges project described at http://openbadges.org/about/. The portability of badges, the embedded learning experience details that are contained within each badge, and the ability of the badge earner to display badges in applications such as e-portfolios, blog sites and websites make them much more useful than simple paper-formatted certificates.
If the possibility of using badges to recognize the achievements of your Extension learners interests you, then you might consider the use of eXtension’s Moodle site, campus.extension.org. The current version of Moodle offered to Extension educators by eXtension allows teachers to issue digital badges that are compliant with the Mozilla Open Badges standard. In creating badges in Moodle, a teacher initially provides a complete description of what the badge is for, who it is that is issuing the badge, the contact information for the issuer, and an expiration date, if any. At the course level, the teacher can then establish the criteria for issuing the badge. That criteria can be automated based on successful completion of a set of activities or a full course, or the teacher can manually issue the badge. At the site level, a badge can be issued based on completion of a set of courses. All this information–the description, issuer, contact information, expiration date, and all criteria–becomes embedded in the badge file which is issued to the learner.
For more information on how Moodle has implemented Open Badges, see http://docs.moodle.org/25/en/Badges. If you would like to explore options for offering digital badges through eXtension’s online campus, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
As they say, “Tis the Season” and nothing can put one in the mood more quickly than enjoying the sights and sounds of the holidays. Recently, while in Melbourne, Victoria (Australia) working with colleagues interested in developing their own eXtension system, I enjoyed streets adorned with beautiful Christmas banners and signs. During the weekend it was the local symphony playing seasonal tunes including excerpts from The Nutcracker (Tchaikovsky). We were surrounded by reminders of the beauty and special meanings that go with this special time of year.
Each of us is thankful for the blessings we enjoy including our work as Extension professionals. Together we enrich the lives of those we serve by helping to provide the best information and educational opportunities possible. It’s amazing what we can accomplish when we truly work together. So, on behalf of the eXtension staff … Happy Holidays!
Dan Cotton, Director
eXtension is pleased to announce a partnership agreement with the Department of Environment and Primary Industries (DEPI) Victoria and the Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC) of Australia.
The 12-month pilot will test three learning networks in the Australia grains industry: a field crop disease network (led by DEPI Victoria); a crop nutrition network (led by the Department of Primary Industries, New South Wales – DPI NSW); and an eXtension support network (led by DEPI and GRDC). The networks will involve researchers, Extension practitioners, agronomists and producers across Australia. These learning networks will support an enhanced level of industry collaboration.
DEPI Knowledge Management Specialist Richard Vines (Right in photo above) said the eXtension pilot would provide a framework for engaging, reaching and connecting people with information, expertise and knowledge while reducing duplication. “DEPI, together with GRDC, is taking a leadership role in the piloting of new online service delivery platforms for Australian agriculture, building on what is an established and effective service platform in the U.S.,” Vines said. “Ultimately, it is about connecting producers with knowledge to help grow their business.”
GRDC Senior Manager of Products and Services Kyle Thoms (Left in photo above) said he saw enormous potential in adopting an established online system for better connecting industry to research results. “In a world of finite scientific expertise, eXtension will provide growers access to reliable research information in forms that suit them best,” Thoms said.
eXtension Foundation Executive Director Dan Cotton (Center in photo above) said the partnership would bring an established learning and information sharing platform in the U.S. to a new market in Australia. “eXtension connects knowledge consumers with knowledge experts to achieve new models of learning and engagement,” Cotton said.
eXtension will assist DEPI and GRDC in the development of the new learning networks by providing gated access to eXtension technologies and services. The pilot will allow DEPI and GRDC time to develop and implement a long-term support model. At the same time, strategies and policies will be pursued to eventually manage and support multi-national collaboration.
Brigitte Scott joined eXtension in early November as the Evaluation and Research Specialist for the Military Families Learning Network. She has a Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction from Virginia Tech, and an M.A. in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Nebraska¬–Lincoln. Brigitte will be housed at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, VA, where she lives with her two teenage daughters. Prior to joining MFLN, Brigitte worked as a Post-doctoral Research Associate at the West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission, where she led evaluation and outreach for the education portion of a $26M statewide EPSCoR grant. Brigitte has expertise in qualitative research, the sociology of education, and social justice/community change, and is interested in the application of these areas to the evaluation context.
If there were one thing Paul Hill, millennial, Utah State University Extension assistant professor and 4-H agent, could change about the Extension culture it is convincing Extension workers and their bosses that each person should spend at least 10 percent of their time on social media.
“We are change agents trying to convince people to change how they garden or raise their kids but we can be reluctant to change how we do things,” he says.
Hill believes face to face contact remains important but social media helps continue conversations and build relationships. “We’ve been isolated in counties for a long time. Today we need to use new tools to be relevant reaching new audiences as well as collaborating with other agents,” he says. “We need to scale our services and move away from the mindset of this information is mine and this information is yours. Extension should be all about teamwork rather than a turf battle.”
Hill says eXtension is a tool with the infrastructure to reach more clients.
• He uses the https://search.extension.org/ function to find answers for his clients.
• He uses https://learn.extension.org/ for his professional development as well as sending pertinent recorded webinar links off to clients.
•He tells stories to his coworkers about what he has learned using eXtension (because they do ask how he knows the stuff he knows considering he has been in his job two years and he doesn’t have an agriculture background).
Hill has a story about goats and Christmas trees…and eXtension. A client asked him if goats should be fed Christmas trees. Hill tried a general search and the idea seemed to have merit. Then he used the Cooperative Extension search (https://search.extension.org/) and found peer-reviewed articles that had cautions about using the trees for the entire diet. Then he found cautions about cattle eating conifers. At that point, Hill submitted a question to Ask the Expert so the question he was asked would be public on eXtension.org and answered by a goat expert. Goats & Christmas Trees, https://ask.extension.org/questions/159811
Paul Hill believes Extension needs to move from an entitlement mindset to entrepreneurial mindset and he’s working hard to do that.
More about Paul Hill
His blog, Soft Leadership: Lighten up, Lead, and do work that matters, at http://www.paulallenhill.com/, has posts including “Extension is Broken” and “How to Fix Extension.”
About Paul Hill, http://about.me/paul.hill has links to his social media accounts.
Paul Hill’s interview with Bob Bertsch of North Dakota State University Extension, http://www.ag.ndsu.edu/agcomm/web-services/working-differently-in-extension-podcast-files/working-differently-in-extension-056-paul-hill.mp3/view
Utah State University bio, http://extension.usu.edu/experts/htm//memberID=7347
Thirty-nine different learning events are planned for December and are listed at Learn (Learn.extension.org) for your own learning or for you to share with your audiences, and more may be added! By participating in an event you can extend your knowledge and keep more up-to-date on conversations in your areas of expertise and interest.
Everyone is welcome to participate in the events listed at Learn (learn.extension.org) as they fit your interests. As part of Extension, you may sign in with your eXtensionID to Follow to get notifications and plan to attend. Use each session’s unique URL to share links to online events in your area of expertise so that others can learn with you. Encourage your customers to also sign in with their Facebook, Twitter or Gmail account to Follow, and plan to attend. Additional sessions may be added at any time, so check back to see what’s new, or add your web-based sessions.
Add webinar-style learning opportunities you know about to which more participants would be welcome! New features in Learn allow you to add links to online materials that are resources for the event and also to add a link to your online evaluation for the session.
Selected topics in December…
December 4, 2013 How Are You Doing? A Financial Check-Up. Just in time to develop some 2014 New Year’s resolutions, this webinar will discuss twenty ways that people can assess their financial progress and identify areas of their financial life that need improvement. https://learn.extension.org/events/1316
December 10, 2013 Institutional Team Web Conference – December 2013. AGENDA: eXtension Second Life/Virtual Worlds, Professional Development, 15-Minute Strategy: POST, Around the Table, Strategic Planning Update, NeXConf/NEDA Update, Be, Grow, Create & Working Differently Awards–Deadline 12/15. https://learn.extension.org/events/907
December 13, 2013 Friday Online–Evaluation and Accountability. For any extension employees involved in developing online educational programs for Extension. Participants will learn about ways to evaluated online educational programs and brainstorm ways to report impact. An example of how reporting is done in Texas will be given. https://learn.extension.org/events/1223
December 16, 2013 Planning for Extension Leadership Councils An Extension Leadership Council (ELC) is a key ingredient for success in developing, implementing, and evaluating Extension programs that serve the local community. Will offer practical guidelines and resources for successfully engaging a local ELC, featuring Virginia’s approach to Strengthening Extension Advisory Leaders. Contents of the model include council responsibilities, criteria for membership, a sample position description, focus topics for regular meetings, and a template for meeting agendas. https://learn.extension.org/events/1362
Popular topics from November…
2013 Virtual Aquaculture Workshop Day 1- Species Culture. Watch the recording and Add your thoughts at https://learn.extension.org/events/1289
What to Grab When There is Smoke in Your Nostrils, a Howling in Your Ears or Water to Your Ankles. Watch the recording and Add your thoughts at https://learn.extension.org/events/1236
Friday Online–Accessibility & Intellectual Property Rights. Watch the recording and Add your thoughts at https://learn.extension.org/events/1222
Viewing Volunteer and Workplace Management through Generational Lenses. Watch the recording and Add your thoughts at https://learn.extension.org/events/1076
Don’t Bug Me Webinar: Keep Ants off the Thanksgiving Table. Watch the recording and Add your thoughts at https://learn.extension.org/events/845
Friday Online–Tips & Resources for Online Development. Watch the recording and Add your thoughts at https://learn.extension.org/events/1221
Go to Learn (learn.extension.org) to see more sessions in December 2013 and early 2014.
Questions and Comments? Contact Beth Raney at email@example.com. If you have web-based events for which you would like more participation, please add them at Learn.extension.org for others to join in!
National media outlets featured and cited eXtension on a number of
topics in November.
Ag safety and health – 1 mention
Animal manure management – 3 mentions
Beef – 1 mention
Dairy cattle – 1 mention
Diversity, equity and inclusion – 1 mention
Entrepreneurs and their communities – 2 mentions
Family caregiving – 1 mention
Goats – 1 mention
Grapes – 1 mention
Military families – 1 mention
Organic agriculture – 2 mentions
If you know of other eXtension mentions in national media outlets or
have suggestions of potential national news stories, contact Lynette Spicer at lynette.spicer@eXtension.org.
The mentions with links to media are posted at
The total number of visits to eXtension virtual learning environments in Second Life for the 2013 year is 71,604. The Avatar Fitness Club continues to drive traffic to eXtension in Second Life, with more than 31,000 visits to the club since September 1. This venue offers a social environment for changing habits and maintaining weight loss through regular exercise and nutrition education.
New educational content includes a 3D representation of the famous “Rethink Your Drink” lesson, which will be familiar to all Family and Consumer colleagues; training on how to use the USDA SuperTracker website; and field trips to the University of Idaho Diabetes Living interactive restaurant, where visitors can experiment with menu choices to fit their eating plans. Collaboration is ongoing with Australian Jason Jarred, a fitness blogger, certified personal trainer and exercise physiology student, to bring mixed media live fitness classes to the venue. Click here to visit the Avatar Fitness Club to see what it has to offer!