eXtension Awards Nine Innovation Grants; 49 Proposals Submitted


The eXtension Foundation has identified nine projects that will be funded as part of its 2015 Innovation Request for Proposals. Funding ranges from $29,000 to $150,000. Forty-nine proposals were submitted. The granting period runs from July 1, 2015 to June 30, 2016. Grantees will be required to provide quarterly written reports along with face-to-face meetings with the eXtension Foundation to gauge impact, conduct at least one professional development session on the project and list it in Learn, and make a presentation at the 2016 National eXtension Conference next March. Awardees [project title, lead institution and principal investigator] are:

Building Personalized Learning Experiences for Adult Learners through Adaptive Learning Techniques, Michigan State University, Ellen Darnell. This project will evaluate and pilot adaptive learning tools for future Cooperative Extension programming. The team of experts will research several existing adaptive learning tools and consult with experts in the field of online learning who are currently implementing adaptive learning into their programming. They will design and deliver adaptive learning activities within existing online courses through several selected pilot projects.

Elevating of the Role of Spatial Reasoning in Communication and Decision Making in the Cooperative Extension System, University of New Hampshire, Shane Bradt. This project will empower CES staff to create interactive, online maps to collect and share spatial information, as well as, tell compelling stories. It will provide CES staff and administrators with access to relevant spatial data layers (i.e., census, political boundaries, watersheds, natural features) for their geographic region. It will advise Communities of Practice (CoP) and Learning Networks (LN) in the effective use of geospatial technologies in projects and grants.

Extending Reality: Instant Access to Extension Resources Using Augmented Reality Innovations, University of Tennessee, Heather Wallace and Emily Tipton. This project will explore Augmented Reality (AR) to engage consumers in a manner that will revolutionize daily life and transform research-based information access. This project is an innovation incubator to test augmented reality in consumers’ daily lives and will serve as a pilot in development and use of augmented reality software and existing content from eXtension and land grant institutions. While virtual reality “tests” possible scenarios, augmented reality applies solutions in real-time by projecting layers of data onto real world environments, creating deeper and more meaningful experiences for users.

eXtension Geo-Citizens Design Forest Farms, Virginia Tech, John Munsell. This project accelerates Cooperative Extension’s use of virtual high performance GeoDesign computing to improve the precision of farming systems in a changing climate. The project advances Cooperative Extension citizen science 2.0 by bringing programmers, geospatial experts, land management specialists, and citizen scientists together in a customizable, collaborative, and convivial virtual workspace to create a precision agriculture computer application. The project enhances flipped and interactive Cooperative Extension remote training methods over broad geographical regions through novel synthesis of videography and problem solving scenarios. The project strengthens Cooperative Extension inclusivity with a multi-institution, multi-state physiographic data collection and aggregation partnership. The project also demonstrates lasting NEW eXtension partnerships where computer simulation supports land use precision and citizens support computer simulation.

Lighting the Education Fire with Virtual Environments and Oculus Rift Technology, University of Idaho, Joey Peutz, Brian Cleveley and Lori Wahl. This project proposes to extend Cooperative Extensions’ outreach via 24/7 public experiential learning tools using the Oculus Rift virtual reality headset, web browser-based virtual environment (single and multi-user) and an app accessed through mobile devices supporting 3D virtual worlds. The primary demonstration project is a simulation to learn about home safety when threatened by a wildfire. The project offers the opportunity to experience a wildfire safety experience as an immersive 3D simulation with participants customizing the experience variables. The ability to access the same simulation content across three different platforms is also a new way of delivering knowledge making it more flexible and adaptable to meet the changing needs of Extension and their constituents.

Track that Crop: A Mobile App to Aggregate Crop Variety Data in Alaska and Beyond and to Increase Citizen Engagement with Cooperative Extension Service, University of Alaska, Heidi Rader. This project will create a mobile app to conduct citizen agriculture research. Alaska Master Gardeners will help test the app followed by recruiting additional citizen scientists statewide and nationally. Extension’s roots are in “extending” research-based information to the public. This project turns this traditional model upside down by asking the public to conduct and share research (also known as citizen science). The project proposes developing a mobile app to aggregate location-based crop variety research conducted by Master Gardeners, gardeners, and farmers.

nEXT Talks: Igniting Innovation in Extending Knowledge, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension, Chrystal Checketts. This project expands a platform designed to inspire innovation in Cooperative Extension program delivery by quickly connecting educators to material on emerging topics. These “talks” are timely, proactive, interactive and position educators nationwide with information to position them as front line resources in their communities. Using streaming video and social media, nEXT Talks allow audience members to engage with subject matter specialists within and outside the land grant system.

Spark Lab Innovation Center, Ohio State University, Mark Light. This project will instill that inspiration or “spark” that youth and adults need to learn, discover, and grow in a creative environment. This goes beyond just setting up a “makerspace”. It will be an overall center of innovation framed through the education lens of a land grant university system. This project will transform a local Extension office beyond the traditional into the innovative by bringing entrepreneurship, university education opportunities, and a technology and maker space together in a dynamic and still to be explored relationship. The project will connect local businesses, residents, and educators to promote innovation, learning, and creativity in a hands-on space. It will also create a physical space model that can be reproduced by Extension in other states nationwide.

Virtual Communication Camp, North Dakota State University, Becky Koch and Bob Bertsch. This project will prepare educator teams to focus on key messages and use innovative communication skills to plan a communication strategy to help bring about behavior change. This project moves a traditional face-to-face model to a virtual learning experience especially designed to encourage teams to incorporate new and innovative technologies that meet their target audience’s needs.

Educational Technology Learning Network Wraps Successful Year

The Educational Technology Learning Network (#EdTechLN) is close to wrapping up its first year! Since the creation of the ExtEdTechs.org blog in October, 2014, more than 50 posts have been published to the ExtEdTechs.org blog by 12 authors in 10 states. Visitors to the site have viewed more than 6,000 total pages and have come from every state except South Dakota!

Forty-eight contributors from 32 different states have participated in the twice-monthly #EdTechLN TweetUps. The average “TweetReach” from each TweetUp is 25,706 overall impressions. The next #EdTechLN TweetUp will be May 21 and will wrap up a month-long focus on digital scholarship. Extension directors and those who serve on promotion and tenure committees in various states will be joining us to offer their insight. Participate by going to:twubs.com/edtechln and use your Twitter credentials.

Agriculture, Forestry & Climate Science Learning Network (CS-LN) Forms Advisory Board

The Climate Science Learning Network Advisory Board is comprised of Cooperative Extension specialists and agriculture and forestry professionals with links to producers and the Land Grant University System (LGUS).

The primary function of the Advisory Board is to provide guidance on the needs of principal CS-LN stakeholders. These stakeholders are numerous and include Climate Hub leadership and staff as well LGUs, and state, county and allied professionals. The Board will guide the overall design of our Learning Network and identify critical needs of Cooperative Extension in climate science to guide the development of eLearning professional development modules by the CS-LN.

Members include: Joel Paz, Mississippi State; Brenda Ortiz, Auburn University; Marck Thomas, Fort Valley State University; Laura Legnick, Warren Wilson College (NC); Jose O. Payero, Clemson University; Luther Smith, American Agronomy Association; Rama Radhakrishna, Penn State University; Heather Darby, University of Vermont; Amy Rowe, Rutgers University; Juliana Barrett, University of Connecticut; Linda Nagel, University of Minnesota.

Program & Staff Development Group Seeks Members


The National Association of Extension Program and Staff Development Professionals [NAEPSDP] (http://www.naepsdp.org) was formed to provide an organized forum for Extension professionals who are engaged in program and staff development to:

–Improve communication & collaboration

–Share resources

–Enhance multi-state efforts

–Sponsor and promote educational training programs and activities that advance program and staff development practices

–Advance the professional status of program and staff development Extension professionals by encouraging continuous improvement

Who Should Join?

–Program developers, designers, evaluators

–Human resources, training, and organizational development professionals

–Information technologists, instructional designers, graphic artists, system administrators, programmers

–Administrators and managers

Why Join?

–Access to professional development webinars

–Reduced rates for annual conference registration

–Opportunities to present at a national conference

–Opportunities to receive national recognition

–Improve communication, networking, and collaboration

–Access to resources and our membership list

Membership Dues

NAEPSDP membership dues are highly affordable, and members who have paid their dues by August 31 receive a discount on registration for the annual conference. There are three categories of membership:

–Active Member – $60

–Student Member – $25

–Life Member – $240

Check out the website at http://www.naepsdp.org for more information.

‘Safety in Agriculture for Youth’ Needs Game Testers

image for May update 2015

The Safety in Agriculture for Youth project is seeking 4-H groups ages 13-17 to test the prototype of a learning simulation game about farm safety. Your feedback will help to shape the future of the game development.

Each group must be supervised by an adult leader and have access to newer laptop computers and a high speed Internet connection.

The testing will take place in June, and will involve a time commitment of two hours. Participants will try the prototype and give feedback via a short survey and group discussion. Later in the summer the groups will be invited again to see their suggestions as incorporated into the game.

Applications will be accepted until May 29. The form is available here http://goo.gl/forms/57pU44cY3T

For more information contact LuAnn Phillips luann.phillips@extension.org

Meisenbach Named Interim eXtension CEO

Terry Meisenbach

Terry Meisenbach

Elbert Dickey

Elbert Dickey

Effective May 1, Terry Meisenbach is the interim Chief Executive Officer for the eXtension Foundation. Meisenbach follows Elbert Dickey who has served as eXtension Executive Director from January 2014 to April 2015. The eXtension Foundation Board of Directors is in the search process for a permanent CEO. Meisenbach will serve until the new Chief Executive Officer joins eXtension.

Journal of Extension Re-opens RFP

Extension Journal, Inc. is reopening its invitation for proposals to provide editorial services for the corporation’s flagship product, the Journal of Extension. Editorial services required range from initial review of all submissions, to writing advice for authors, to working with reviewers, to copy editing of all issues. Please consider our invitation. The deadline for proposals is May 31, 2015, with the contract to begin January 1, 2016. For the full RFP go to: http://www.joe.org/rfp.php

Plenty of Learning Opportunities Available!

2015 has begun with some very interesting and useful learning opportunities found in eXtension’s Learn! Here I’ve included upcoming ones on various topics for which people have expressed interest by Following, as well as recent learning events in April which have a recording available. Many other and newly added events are also listed Learn.extension.org so check there for a more complete set of offerings. These learning events are open to all who are interested… check each event listing to see if there is registration needed before the event. Share with your colleagues, clientele, etc. since participation is online from a home, office, etc.

Popular Upcoming Learning Events

Recent events with Recordings
All Bugs Good & Bad
2015 All Bugs Good and Bad Webinar Series: Common Termites of the Southern United States – Biology, Behavior, and Management, at Learn.extension.org/events/1853

Citizen Science
SciStarter: a place for Citizen Science Projects, at Learn.extension.org/events/2077

Enhancing Biosecurity at Fairs and Shows, at Learn.extension.org/events/1973
Gender and Vulnerability in Emergency Contexts, at Learn.extension.org/events/1972

Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity: Working with LGBTQ Clients, at Learn.extension.org/events/2073

Evaluating Your Marketing Channels, at Learn.extension.org/events/2091

eXtension Innovation Teams
Innovation Team Web Conference–April 2015, at Learn.extension.org/events/1955

Farm Safety & Health
Safety Policies for School-based Supervised Agricultural Experiences Programs, at Learn.extension.org/events/2039
What is the SAY National Clearinghouse?, at Learn.extension.org/events/2041

Health Research
Extension Health Research in Michigan, at Learn.extension.org/events/2079

Healthy Food Choices in Schools
Get Smart with the Alliance’s Food & Beverage Resources!, at Learn.extension.org/events/2093

Manure and Nutrient Management in Tile Drained Lands, at Learn.extension.org/events/2020

MFLN Family Caregiving
Understanding Narcotic Medications for Service Members, at Learn.extension.org/events/1723

MFLN Family Development
Wellness Strategies, Burnout Prevention, & Mindfulness-Part 2, at Learn.extension.org/events/1879
Wellness Strategies, Burnout Prevention, & Mindfulness-Part 1, at Learn.extension.org/events/1878

MFLN Personal Finance
Entrepreneurship Essentials for Service Members and Military Spouses, at Learn.extension.org/events/2018

Network Literacy
Google Analytics Overview, at Learn.extension.org/events/2081

Organic Production
Innovative Approaches to Extension in Organic and Sustainable Agriculture, at Learn.extension.org/events/1965

Empowering Youth Voice on Extension Advisory Groups, at Learn.extension.org/events/2013

Small & Backyard Flocks
Neurological diseases of poultry and immunity/vaccination, at Learn.extension.org/events/1792

Women in Ag
Risk Management and Your Agritourism Business, at Learn.extension.org/events/2076

Go to Learn (learn.extension.org) to see more sessions, and to add learning opportunities being offered by you or your institution so you may include more for participation and learning!

Questions and Comments? Contact Beth Raney at beth.raney@extension.org. 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!

We Need YOU!!! Take the Wearable Tech Survey


Are you using wearable technology? Do you want to? eXtension would like you to share your interests and uses by taking a short CES Wearable Technology Interest Survey and joining the Wearable Technology user group.

Wearable technology is becoming increasingly popular in today’s society and by 2018 global mobile data traffic from wearable devices is expected to increase nearly twelve fold from 15 to 175 petabytes per month according to statista and will be a 12.6 million dollar industry by then as well. Already Cooperative Extension educators are exploring wearables that track fitness & health, provide security, create efficiencies through smart watches and in-sight glassware and cameras. Researchers in our system are engineering devices for animal agriculture and looking for ways to connect to Cooperative Extension educators for testing and deployment.

To date, a small group of educators and engineers have started conversations around wearables, sharing their experiences and tests in the field. This Wearable Technology group has been established by eXtension and is striving to reach out to other educators and researchers who are interested in these topics. eXtension invites all individuals to join the Wearable Technology user group in People. The Wearable Technology group would like to know how you are using and experimenting with wearable technology by completely a short CES Wearable Technology Interest Survey.

Taking the survey and joining the user group in People will help connect you to others in the system to explore new possibilities, share ideas, resources and stimulate collaboration. Learn more by joining the Human Augmentation and Wearables Google+ Community Page too.

OSU’s Villegas Certainly Not ‘Droning’ on About ‘Drones’

With more than 15,000 plus folks holding eXtension IDs and some fraction of those working hard in learning networks, user communities, and communities of practice there’s bound to be a star somewhere in the bunch. Whether he’s ready for American Idol or The Voice is up to him but Victor Villegas, Oregon State University Technology & Media Support Coordinator is turning people on to unmanned aerial systems with songs.


Victor is one of the leaders of the eXtension Unmanned Aerial Systems user community. Unmanned Aerial Systems or UAVs (Unmanned Aerial Vehicles) are more commonly known as “drones”, a term used by the media and general public. Victor used to fly full size airplanes but now pilots drones with both feet on the ground…whether nano drones that fit in the palm of your hand, remote controlled planes and helicopters, or virtual vehicles that operate on screen more like a video game than a flight simulator.

And, to top it all off…Victor’s married his love of this unique technology with his own unique talent…singing and songwriting. And, he’s getting famous for it. NetworkWorld recently featured him in an article “Meet the Tech Dude Who Doubles as the Weird Al of Drone Songs”. The article highlights Villegas’ penchant for drones and creative song writing…”If You Get a Drone for Christmas” or his personal favorite “Dronie, Dronie”. Reggae, doo-wop, holiday carols, and even disco address this new technology with humor and creativity. But behind all of Victor’s music is his message…drone safety.

Details of Victor’s story can be found in the NetworkWorld article and a play list of his video and musical stylings can be found on YouTube or on SoundCloud.

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