Academic journal article The Agricultural Education Magazine

Changing Pedagogical Paradigms for a New Millennium

Academic journal article The Agricultural Education Magazine

Changing Pedagogical Paradigms for a New Millennium

Article excerpt

Current curriculum development initiatives and educational delivery approaches in schools around the nation have not kept pace with the rate of technological change that the United States has experienced over the past decade (National FFA Organization, 1999b). The National Research Council (1988), in Understanding Agriculture, emphasized that for agricultural education to remain viable, educators should emulate the best current programs while generating new ways to deliver the material.

How have North Carolina agricultural educators adapted to this challenge? What challenges do the teachers face in implementing instructional technology? What advice do teachers have for preservice teachers in relation to instructional technology utilization? Two North Carolina agricultural education teachers, in Greensboro, North Carolina, Mr. Shawyn Newton, at Southeastern Guilford High School and Mr. Jeremy Johnson, at Southern Guilford High School, shared their experiences.

Both teachers indicated their programs have been greatly impacted by instructional technology. Mr. Newton indicated that instructional technology has allowed him to have greater access to teaching resources, and increased communication with other educators. Mr. Johnson indicated that he utilizes instructional technology as a tool to enhance learning. Through a series of computer modules, he is able to challenge students to make use of their problem solving skills, by working in groups to solve case studies. Students then organize their findings into PowerPoint presentations and reports. Some of the student's work is posted on the department's Web page. Mr. Johnson acknowledged that technology has enhanced his lectures through the use of PowerPoint, which allows for the incorporation of graphics, using a ceiling-mounted projector. Mr. Johnson uses the software package ProLandscape by Drafix, which allows students to take a picture of a real home, design a landscape, and then photo-generate the landscape upon the home.

Barriers exist that hamper incorporation of technology into the instructional setting. Mr. Newton stated the lack of funding for instructional technology in agricultural education is a major hindrance. Another major obstacle identified is the lack of computer preparation students receive in previous grades, especially those students with special academic classifications. Mr. Johnson identified the lack of Internet access. Even though his program is equipped with a twelve computer modular facility, donated by Norvartis Corporation, Internet access is still a major barrier. …

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