A project in several eastern Ohio counties is bringing agriculture into primary and secondary classrooms through the Google Hangouts series “Farmtastic Agventures!”
Nicki Gordon-Coy, a high school science teacher at Sandy Valley High School and active Carroll County Farm Bureau volunteer, leads this series of Google Hangouts.
“The primary issue being addressed for the local and regional community of northeast Ohio is the lack of credible and accessible agricultural information that is easily available to the current generation,” she said.
According to Gordon-Coy, the project also addresses the lack of funding for school field trips and teacher understanding of how easy and relatively inexpensive new technologies are to use in place of field trips.In the pilot series this past year, four Hangouts, an instant messaging and video chat platform developed by Google, were held on topics such as water, pork and GMOs.
Each Hangout is a 45-minute to one-hour long session featuring different lessons covering agriculture in our world and connecting classrooms directly with farmers, food producers and other students all around Ohio. This often includes some of the experts and Hang- out guests being onsite at farms showing the students what is being discussed.To supplement the Hangouts, each participating classroom received customized Ohio “Ag Mags,” educational materials designed to meet content standards on specific agriculture topics.
Gordon-Coy was awarded an Ohio Farm Bureau Foundation grant for the pilot year of “Farmtastic Agventures!” in 2013-14, and the program will continue in the 2014-15 school year with nine Hangouts planned to cover pork, apples, poultry, biotechnology, bees, soybeans, water, trees and soils and pizza.
Michele Specht, organization director for Carroll, Harrison, Jefferson and Tuscarawas county Farm Bureaus, Cuyahoga County Farm Bureau Organization Director Anita Cook and Tuscarawas County Farm Bureau volunteer Rita Lahmers assist Gordon-Coy with the program.
To learn more about the program or get your classroom involved, visit http://ofb.ag/farmtasticagventures.