Mobile classroom brings communications education to high school agri programs

Jan. 18, 2011
Contact Information:

Dr. Leslie Edgar, Assistant Professor, Agricultural and Extension Education
479-575-6770, ledgar@uark.edu

Don Edgar, Assistant Professor, Agricultural and Extension Education
479-575-2037, dedgar@uark.edu

Fred Miller, University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture
479-575-5647 / fmiller@uark.edu

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Kristin Pennington, left, demonstrates the features of video editing software

Agricultural and extension education graduate student Kristin Pennington, left, demonstrates the features of video editing software to Conway High School West agriculture students John Zimmerman, Bailey Webber, Lane Andrews and Andrew Lang during the mobile classroom visit to their school Dec. 6, 2010.
(Click on image to download full-resolution version.)

Anna Acres videos the school's greenhouse

Greenbrier High School agriculture student Anna Acres videos the school's greenhouse facilities during the University of Arkansas visual communications mobile classroom visit Dec. 10, 2010.
(Click on image to download full-resolution version.)

Britian Morris, photographs fruit for a video project

Mena High School agriculture student, Britian Morris, photographs fruit for a video project he and classmates created promoting Mena FFA program's annual fruit sale during the University of Arkansas visual communications mobile classroom visit Dec. 9, 2010.
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Charles Stills, left, Faith Smith, Alex Khang and Jana Graham capture video and photographs

Prairie Gove High School agriculture students, Charles Stills, left, Faith Smith, Alex Khang and Jana Graham capture video and photographs for a mechanics lab safety video the team created to promote agriculture as Prairie Gove High School agricultural science instructor Clint Hale observes. The activity was part of a visual communications mobile classroom visit Dec. 14, 2010, and is sponsored by the University of Arkansas Department of Agricultural and Extension Education.
(Click on image to download full-resolution version.)

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — A mobile classroom from the Dale Bumpers College of Agricultural, Food and Life Sciences at the University of Arkansas is providing hands-on communications training to high school agriculture students in Arkansas.

“Visual Communications on the Road in Arkansas: Video and Photo Creative Projects to Promote Agriculture” was developed by agricultural and extension education faculty through a grant from the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture in cooperation with the U of A Division of Agriculture and the Bumpers College.

The program includes a two-week-long curriculum on communicating agriculture that can be taught in any agriculture class, said Leslie Edgar, assistant professor of agricultural and extension education. “There are three complete instructional modules,” she said. “They cover photography, writing — for storyboarding — and videography.”

Each module includes a lesson plan, instructional PowerPoint, in-class activities and suggested assignments. The curriculum is flexible and a teacher could take more than two weeks to cover the content, Edgar said. The full visual communication curriculum can be viewed online and downloaded from the Web: http://aeed.uark.edu/5422.htm

Once high school agricultural teachers complete the curriculum the mobile classroom visit — a daylong, hands-on video shooting and editing workshop. The 16-foot trailer contains an instructor station with television and computer workstations to support up to four student teams. Its technology complement includes cameras for each team to shoot video and still images and computer software to edit photos and video.

The mobile classroom is accompanied by up to four instructors and graduate students, each paired with an agricultural communications and agricultural education student from Bumpers College. Each pair leads a team of up to four high school students during the workshop.

Edgar said the student teams apply the skills they learned during the two-week course to produce three- to five-minute videos promoting agriculture. The completed videos are posted on YouTube, where they can be seen at http://www.youtube.com/user/AEEDVisual.

“The program provides an opportunity for high school students to learn about career opportunities in agriculture and agricultural communications through interaction with U of A faculty and students,” Edgar said.

While participating students are in the visual communications workshop, UA faculty and students lead other agriculture students in activities and presentations highlighting the concentrations in the U of A’s agricultural, communication and technology major.

The “Visual Communications on the Road in Arkansas” program has been conducted in the Greenbrier, Mena, Conway and Prairie Grove high schools during the fall 2010 semester. Edgar said the course and mobile workshop are available for use in all Arkansas high schools and she hopes to place it in six schools during the spring 2011 semester and six more the following fall.

A summer workshop is planned to train high school agriculture teachers in the use of the visual communications curriculum.

For more information about the program, contact Edgar at 479-575-6770 or by e-mail at ledgar@uark.edu.