More than three dozen Cooperative Extension professionals joined in a webinar to learn more about eXtension's new Using Digital Technology eFieldbook. @ashleygriffin @Jerry Thomas and @rosehayden-smith offered a panel discussion that explored the eFieldbook content and features, the Fellowship project (including professional development activities), lessons learned, and findings from the eXtension Technology Futuring Project.
The eFieldbook was produced as part of of eXtension’s New Technologies for Agricultural Extension (NTAE) Year 1 Cooperative Agreement with USDA-NIFA, and is as part of a larger collection of eFieldbooks. (You can find the entire offering on the top navigation bar on the Connect Extension landing page). The eFieldbook includes perspective pieces with a future focus, and a focus on two technologies: Connect Extension (a social intranet), and Instagram. The eFieldbook provides original and curated resources in a number of areas, including science communications, web accessibility, leveraging content, and more.
Content for the eFieldbook was informed in part by a survey with more than 300 respondents, and was also influenced the COVID-19 crisis, which increased demand for social media content and training relating to Cooperative Extension work. Some findings from the survey were shared. Key takeaways:
COVID-19 is accelerating technology adoption. Social technology use is increasing in Cooperative Extension, but users face a varying challenges, ranging from digital access to unclear policies to a need for training and resources. Time and staff capacity also emerged as a constraint.
The kinds of peer-to-peer educational opportunities provided via the Connect Extension platform and professional development can play an important role in helping people with technology adoption. Survey respondents indicated that examples of technology use in Extension are also helpful. (The eFieldbook contains several case studies that demonstrate technology use).
One of the most interesting aspects of the Fellowship was the ability to use Connect Extension as part of the year's activities. Connect Extension was used to form a user sub-group focusing on Technology in Extension Education, where blog posts provided information on social technologies. In addition, Connect Extension was used to conduct research (via the survey function), and also to host professional development opportunities using the Virtual Chat feature.
@jerrythomas shared information about futuring work, which included a discussion of the potential of 5G, adaptive learning, artificial intelligence, assistive technologies, blockchain, the Internet of Things (IoT), and virtual/adaptive reality.
A recording of the webinar will be available here shortly.
Thanks for joining us!