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Educating the Educators: Connecting Secondary School Teachers to Technology in Agriculture

Published by the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers, St. Joseph, Michigan

Citation:  2018 ASABE Annual International Meeting  1800394.(doi:10.13031/aim.201800394)
Authors:   A. J. Lindsey
Keywords:   Education, Professional Development, Secondary School, Technology.


The integration of technology into the fabric of agricultural production has resulted in many new career opportunities in STEM fields with applications both on-farm as well as in the industry supplying services. However, many of the current techniques and tools may not be well known outside the field of agriculture. Secondary school students may not decide to pursue post-secondary training and careers in agriculture due to limited exposure of how STEM fields are applied during production. The objectives of this research are to: 1.) Enable secondary school teachers to learn about the major agricultural systems through hands-on experiences, Extension talks, and learn how to analyze the data with accessible tools; and 2.) Empower teachers with educational modules to achieve student learning objectives and enable rapid incorporation into current curriculum. One session occurred during in July 2017 with 14 teachers. Participants learned about tools like proximal sensors (NDVI, apps) to evaluate crop health, how different planting technology is being used, and how data from drones is helping scouts and farmers. Teachers also participated in data collection and analysis processes, and were provided worksheets and files to bring the activities back to the classroom. The greatest changes in teacher knowledge were associated with improved understanding of career opportunities in agriculture as well as the use of NDVI in the field. Three additional workshops are planned for 2018 and 2019. The author would like to acknowledge the USDA-NIFA Professional Development Opportunities for Secondary School Teachers Program (PD-STEP), Grant 12122221, for funding these activities

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