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The Extension Educator's Role as 21st Century Platform Builders

Social media adoption is critical to Cooperative Extension’s future but only to the degree that it helps us cultivate another critical understanding: our role platform architects and builders of the 21st century. We, as Extension educators, must learn the significance of platforms beyond their more widely understood role as the basis for additional web and software innovation. How well we learn to develop the most open, generative platforms – or, to put it another way, the most optimal learning environments – of the 21st century will determine our success or failure as an educational movement. These platforms will be measured by how effectively we empower our clients to share ideas and to work together collaboratively.

More on platforms, community environments, and stacking can be found

Here is a link that will take you to an explanation of platforms in a pdf and a video


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About the Extension Foundation

The Extension Foundation was formed in 2006 by Extension Directors and Administrators. Today, the Foundation partners with Cooperative Extension through liaison roles and a formal plan of work with the Extension Committee on Organization and Policy (ECOP) to increase system capacity while providing programmatic services, and helping Extension programs scale and investigate new methods and models for implementing programs. The Foundation provides professional development to Cooperative Extension professionals and offers exclusive services to its members. In 2020 and 2021, the Extension Foundation has awarded 85% of its direct funding back to the Cooperative Extension System, 100% of funds are used to support Cooperative Extension initiatives. 

This technology is supported in part by New Technologies for Agriculture Extension grant no. 2020-41595-30123 from the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture and membership funding. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in the content are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. For more information, please visit You can view the terms of useat

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