Academic journal article The Agricultural Education Magazine

Helping Teachers Teach the "Future of Agriculture"

Academic journal article The Agricultural Education Magazine

Helping Teachers Teach the "Future of Agriculture"

Article excerpt

As we enter the second decade of the 21st century many agriculture teachers are faced with the problem. "How do I teach the emerging technologies in agriculture with reduced budgets and no training in these technologies." For the past several years, the Agriculture and Extension Department at Virginia Tech has been trying to help Virginia agricultural education teachers solve this problem.

Lets, take a look at what can be done on a local and state wide basis to promote the teaching of emerging technologies in agriculture. In 2002 our high school's agriculture department applied for and received a federal grant to conduct research in the area of Robotics in Agriculture. Part of this grant was used to purchase Lego Mindstorm robotics kits and to develop curriculum materials in area of Robotics in Agriculture. During the years since receiving this grant, our department has conducted three state wide workshops in the area of Robotics in Agriculture for in-service teachers and two workshops on the national level in this area.

For the past four years this project has lent out robotics kits to agriculture departments across the state for local teachers to teach this technology to their classes. This project has allowed teachers to receive training and the materials to what could have been an expensive technology, at no cost to their local departments.

A second technology which our local agriculture department cooperated with Virginia Tech to train our state's agriculture teachers was GPS. Just like Robotics in Agriculture this technology is an expensive one to teach and is an area which many of our teachers had not been trained. Like in the Robotics in Agriculture technology, the cost of the equipment was covered by small local grants. This allowed for the purchase of a small classroom set of handheld GP S S. Training for the instructor was provided by the local school division.

Since 2003, with cooperation between our state agriculture teachers association and the Agricultural Education Department at Virginia Tech, five GPS training workshops have been presented. During this time workshops were presented by Virginia teachers to agriculture teachers in South Carolina and Kentucky. Over the past two years though a grant at Virginia Tech 20 GPS units were purchased and are now loaned out to agriculture teachers who have under gone our training. …

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