Growning New Technologies

Article excerpt

Our world is rapidly changing. In order to prepare our students for the challenges of the twenty-first century workforce, it is necessary for our instructional strategies to change to reflect those advances in technology.

Even as communities nationwide evolve from rural to urban, nearly twenty percent of our nation's workforce remains connected to the industry of agriculture/agribusiness. It is, of course, a well-documented fact that each year the total number of acres devoted to production agriculture continues to decline. This fact highlights the need for incorporating new concepts and technologies into our Agricultural Education programs.

The Agricultural Science and Technology program at Mansfield High School serves some 350-plus students each year. Agriculture/ agribusiness courses at the suburban Texas school range from the traditional to the exotic. The use of technology is incorporated into each of the 21 courses offered.

A long-range instructional goal of the local school district is to provide appropriate technology, adequately supported by technical infrastructure and to integrate this into each classroom. With this goal in mind, the five Agricultural Science and Technology teachers at Mansfield recently wrote, submitted and were subsequently awarded a grant by a local education foundation entitled "Growing New Technologies".

Incorporating technology into the classroom is nothing new at Mansfield, though finding the available resources to keep pace with technology continuities to be a great challenge, however. The program was among the first to introduce computer technology for student use during the early-to-mid 1980's. The school's Computer Maintenance and Repair and StRUT (Students Recycling Used Technology) programs have allowed the Agricultural Science program to build and maintain the equipment necessary to allow each Agri-Science student the opportunity to have hands on experience on computers as a part of each Agricultural Science and Technology course. The program's basic premise that keeping pace with advancing technology helps train better prepared students, has been well supported by the school's administration and the community.

All six classrooms used for Agriscience have multiple fully networked computers for use by both students and teachers. …