Keep Your Passwords Safe!

Password Software  – Keep your passwords safe and protected.

KeePass Password Safe – For Your Desktop – Download KeePass  Classic Edition Version 1.26

What is KeePass?
Today you need to remember many passwords. You need a password for the Windows network logon, your e-mail account, your website’s password, online passwords (like website member account), etc. etc. etc. The list is endless. Also, you should use different passwords for each account. Because if you use only one password everywhere and someone gets this password you have a problem… A serious problem. The thief would have access to your e-mail account, website, etc. Unimaginable.

KeePass is a free open source password manager, which helps you to manage your passwords in a secure way. You can put all your passwords in one database, which is locked with one master key or a key file. So you only have to remember one single master password or select the key file to unlock the whole database. The databases are encrypted using the best and most secure encryption algorithms currently known (AES and Twofish).

~ Teresa

Mobile Learning Tools to Use Now

While “mobile learning” has been a buzz word in Education for at least a couple years, it’s just now making an entrance in Extension programming. Extension project teams have dabbled in Moodle-created online courses or volunteer trainings, but are these resources truly “mobile?” Meaning, if someone were to access them from their iPad or mobile phone, would they be user-friendly? Or, if we create an app for a smartphone, is that the only form of “mobile learning?” The genius of mobile learning is that it exists in many forms (not just in Moodle course or app form) and can be accessed from anywhere at anytime. I personally believe that the recent explosion of MOOCs (massive open online courses) and the popularity of apps for educational purposes presents one of the greatest opportunities to utilize technology in Extension that we have had in a long time – to put mobile technology for educational purposes effectively. We have the content and mobile technology offers us the audience. As more people begin learning via MOOCs on Coursera and iTunesU, we can be a part of that learning environment.

Of course, this is Extension. And we are slow to change and even slow to pick up on hot tech trends. It’s much easier for us to get our “feet wet” a bit before we dive head-first into technology that may or may not be useful to us. This approach can (and should) be done, but early tech adopters are already itching to begin going more mobile with their programs. Here are some tools for those folks to check out:

  • Texting Software – What’s more mobile than texting? Not much. The University of Maryland recently implemented a nutrition texting campaign and delivered all of the program’s information via texts to a low-income audience. And they saw great results. The software itself can be pricey unfortunately, so that is a barrier to its use in Extension. But the concept should continue to be explored! SNAP-Ed professionals in Ohio have also used texting as a means to remind clients of upcoming programs, and have seen a positive impact on participant retention.
  • Video – Videos are very effective teaching tools and are now being accessed by mobile devices more often than computers. Camtasia is the recommended software at OSUE to use to create narrated videos. Other (free) options are Windows Movie Maker and iMovie. Link the videos back to your social media pages or blog site. If you create a video, please ask a colleague and/or an Ed Tech to review it for you before posting. You can also post your video to the OSU Extension YouTube channel. Check out the submission form here or contact Mitch Moser for more details.
  • iBooks Author – Utilizing Apple’s iBooks Author as an eBook creator was mentioned during a concurrent session at OSUE’s Annual Conference a couple years back, many of you may have attended that session. So this tool has been floating around for a while, but hasn’t been utilized very much. If you’re interested in learning how to create an eBook with iBooks Author, there are many YouTube videos similar to this one that walk you through the process step-by-step. (The only catch is that you will need an Apple device.) Myself and at least one other Ed Tech will be attending OSU’s Digital Union iBook Bootcamp in December and will then be available to help teach and coach others to use the software. More info will come out after the bootcamp!
  • Adobe InDesign – InDesign is similar to Microsoft Publisher and may be more user-friendly for creating eBooks and other ePublications than iBooks for those who are used to working with a PC.
  • iTunesU – If you haven’t yet checked out Apple’s app for free, online education and learning, you should! Anyone who downloads the app has access to thousands of free classes and programs from Universities and experts all over the world. Ohio State has added many new courses recently, so my suggestion for project teams who are looking to expand into that space has been to take a look at the current courses to see how they could effectively use iTunesU as a way to deliver educational information from their program. MOOCs are already here to stay, and iTunesU gives us the opportunity in Extension to get our foot in the door.

Have you used other mobile learning tools that aren’t listed? Do you consider Social Media to be a mobile learning tool as well?


How the History of Cooperative Extension affects the Future

“The organization has met many challenges in the past and will continue to adjust to meet the future. Regardless of adversity, Extension has remained focused on its mission of “taking the university to the people” -Education through Cooperative Extension

In the history of Cooperative Extension information has been collected from the university, and delivered to the people whom it can benefit. In order for the system to continue disseminating information to the public it must be understood how technology fits into our playing field.  Cooperative Extension must realize where it has come from to develop an ideal of where it will go in the future. In other words, how do we keep Cooperative Extension relevant in times of exploding information at the click of a mouse?

The mission of Extension work, set forth clearly in the Smith-Lever Act of 1914 was “…to aid in diffusing among the people of the United States useful and practical information on subjects relating to agriculture and home economics, and to encourage the application of the same” (Seevers, Graham, & Conklin, 2007, p. 8). People had a need for this practical information, with little to no engine to drive it to the masses. There was no one to show, teach, or demonstrate the benefit of a new method.  Agricultural societies played a large part in the transition of education and how we view the working person. As they grew, the concern for an increase in knowledge prompted the land grants that inevitably led to the development of a college for the common person. Through a progression of many years colleges and education grew around agriculture, mechanics, business and trade (Seevers, Graham, & Conklin, 2007, p. 18-19).

Colleges saw a need for their knowledge to be shared with anyone who was interested in it. The result was a Farmer’s Institute that presented experimental field research, demonstrations, and information for the farmer’s wife and children (Seevers, Graham, & Conklin, 2007, p. 27).  As the Farmer’s Institute grew, the idea of a partnership between the Universities to the public through demonstration was formed. Through Seaman A. Knapp was a pioneer for Extension education as we know it today. His work through research, communications, and demonstrations led to a strong argument being made that there should be institutions where people could gain information relevant to farming. He believed that this education should be for anyone, even those not enrolled in a higher education institution. Finally, the Smith-Lever Act highlighted demonstrations and the passing of information through publications to people not attending colleges. (Seevers, Graham, & Conklin, 2007, p. 34)

In the 1980’s the shift of Extension changed. Agents were now serving a more diverse audience, and expanding programs and events in 4-H, family life, natural resources, and community development (Seevers, Graham, & Conklin, 2007, p. 38) “Issues of the environment along with social and economic changes in communities have created interdisciplinary approaches to problem solving and program delivery in the 1990’s (Seevers, Graham, & Conklin, 2007, p. 38).  These changes allow for Extension agents to deliver programs to the people who will benefit from the information the most. As with all changes before, their focus was to obtain the information and give it to the public.

Even more relevant a change is that of how information is passed from person to person. Only recently have we been able to exchange information from long distances via email or the world wide web. The internet is a two edged sword for Extension. While not usually verified, it allows the user to find information through the means of a search engine quickly and effectively. If the purpose of Extension is to share relevant information with the public, are we missing an entire audience that is relying on search engines for their information? With the amount of people of all ages relying on smartphones, tablets, and laptops are we providing an easy way to find information regarding the problems they are encountering at that exact moment? Extension is challenged into moving from printing, journals, and face-to-face demonstrations to those more technology-driven ways of instruction. While both service their purpose, the challenge is determining which method is most appropriate for your audience.

Extension must be willing to address new methods if we plan to remain relevant to future audiences. Taking information and extending it to the public is what drives us. Doing it in a manner that leaves people with a feeling of accomplishment is what motivates us.  “The organization has met many challenges in the past and will continue to adjust to meet the future. Regardless of adversity, Extension has remained focused on its mission of “taking the university to the people” (Seevers, Graham, & Conklin, 2007, p. 39)

There are a number of questions you can ask yourself. What are you doing to remain relevant in Extension in regards to technology? Do your audiences demand other forms or receiving information from basic communications to events and lesson plans? How are you ensuring that information from the university is given to the public? What can Ed Tech’s do to help you choose those appropriate forms of education through technology?



Seevers, B., Graham, D., & Conklin, N. (2007). Education through cooperative extension (2nd ed.). Columbus, OH: Curriculum Materials Service.


Don’t Just Google It! For Credible Sources, use the eXtension Search Portal

How many times have you had a phone call from a client asking how long to cook a certain size turkey? Or how to eradicate a certain bug that has taken over someone’sgarden? Most of us know which sources are our “go-to” sources for credible information. But when off-the-wall questions catch me off guard, I tend to use Google to find the answer. Of course, sometimes it takes a while for me to find a credible source in the Google search results! The eXtension search portal isn’t as utilized as it should be. It’s an easy way to use Google and ensure that you’re results will be credible, research based information. The combination of which, can be hard to come by online at times.

Go to the search portal: and play around for a bit to see what results come up based on your search, then compare to regular Google results. I guarantee you’ll spend less time sorting through unreliable sources!

Do you have experience using the eXtension portal? What are some issues you’ve had with Googling client questions?



CarmenConnect – Quick Start Guide

View the Quick Start Guide

CarmenConnect Quickstart Guide will get you on the right track.  Share this document with your participants.

Contains the following…

  1. Before the session – Install the Connect Add-in
  2. Run a Connection Test
  3. Within the Session
    – Check physical location
    – Check Internet Connection
    – Enable your audio
    – Use a Headset mic
    – Check the Interaction buttons

CarmenConnect – Hardware & Mobile Recommendations


For the Best Experience

  • All Participants should use a desktop or laptop computer with a wired internet connection and a headset or earbuds.  A wireless connection may not be strong or stable enough to provide an ideal experience.  Relying on the speakers and mic built into a computer can result in poor sound quality for all Participants in the session.


  • If Attendees expect to speak during the session, a combined headset / mic is recommended.  See the Headset Information page for more details.
  • To create an optimal user experience during a session while using the built-in computer audio (Voice over IP), each person should speak with a headset mic.  This equipment lets the microphone focus on the speaker’s voice without picking up ambient sound from the physical room in which they are sitting.  It also prevents the audio in the Connect Meeting Room from feeding back into the session and creating an echo.

Operating Systems

  • Adobe Connect requires the Adobe Connect Add-in enable all functions. When prompted, meeting participants should allow the Add-in to load and/or install. Installation takes less than a minute on most machines.
  • The add-in is highly recommended for Meeting Hosts, Hosts and Presenters.
  • Browser Known Issues The current version of the Google Chrome browser is incompatible with the Adobe Connect Add-in. Please see the Adobe Help article for more information: 

Tablets/Smartphones/iOS Mobile Devices

  • With the launch of Adobe Connect 9, Adobe also launched the Adobe Connect Mobile 2.0 client.  A full description of what can and cannot be done when using a mobile device can be found in Adobe’s official blog post here:

~ Teresa


Social Media: Who is Using What?

As a follow-up to my post on the POST method of strategically planning tech or social media integration, I wanted to share a recently discovered Pew Research Center articl

The landscape of social media userse on a study they published nearly a year ago. Yeah, even Ed Techs can be behind the 8 ball… or behind the “Pew” in this case. In the study, they depicted which demographics were using which social media tool, an invaluable resource for anyone looking to firm up their social media strategy. See the full report of the Demographics of Social Media use here.

Items worth noting for Extension:

    • The majority of social media users are still on Facebook.
    • The majority of those using Twitter are between the ages of 18-29.
    • 15% of social media users are on Pinterest, and most of them are women.
    • Only 13% of social media users are using Instagram, and they’re in the same age range as Twitter users

So how can you use this info as an Extension professional? After you decide who your target audience is going to be for any social media endeavor, use this study’s results to
see what social media sites your demographic is using. If you’re targeting males, you are not going to want to use Pinterest – but depending upon the age range,

Twitter might be a good choice. It also matters what they’re using these sites for. Pinterest is a wonderful tool to share recipes and home decorating ideas, but it is not a good place to house helpful links (you’re better off having a website or webpage for that purpose).

The image at the left has made it’s way around the inter-webs over the past few years and is a good tool to use when thinking about how different social media sites are utilized by their users and how you would post information on a specific topic to each site.

What social media sites have you been actively using? What has been working for you, or what do you feel isn’t working?



How to use the POST method to determine which technologies and social media tools to include in your programmatic efforts.

I went through several different versions of a title for this blog post, and that was the best I could come up with. At any rate, we Ed Techs have been very busy working with program teams and curriculum development committees to assist in helping them determine which technology tools or social media sites would be most beneficial to include in their programmatic efforts. This is a bit of a switch from our usual “mode of operation” when it comes to tech inclusion in Extension programming. Our way of thinking for many years has been to grab a hold of the technology first, and then figure out how we’re going to actually use it… or if it’s worth using at all. One of our goals as Ed Techs over the next year is to work with Extension folks to rework and rethink this trend. By thinking strategically about how tech can be most effectively integrated into Extension programming, we will achieve much greater results. The POST method is a great tool for such planning. It’s broken down below:

  • P – “People”: assess your customer or audience’s social activities. What are they using? Are they on Facebook? Or are they on Instagram? Would they appreciate the
    inclusion of a Wordle on your promo items for a program, or not really?
  • O – “Objectives”: decide what you want to accomplish. What are your goals for the curriculum, program, activity, etc? What do you want to accomplish by using technology as a part of your efforts?
  • S – “Strategy”: plan for relationship-building. Currently, relationships can be created online and then enriched in-person. What tech or social media tools would help you build relationships in an online or hybrid environment.
  • T – “Technology”: this is your end point after working through the above steps. End with the technology piece; try not to be tempted to start with it! (Even though that can be difficult sometimes!)

For those interested, there is a more in-depth explanation of POST here. (It’s an interesting read if you have 5 minutes to spare.)

As we continue our work over the next few months, you’ll continue to hear about this method. Have you used the POST method before in program planning? What has been your experience with it? What benefits could you see from Extension professionals using this method as part of their program planning?



Wordle: Building Word Clouds

Looking for a way to visually represent those proposals you may have just finished for annual conference?  The focus of this post is on a website that I frequent. Wordle is a fun and EASY way to make word clouds that represent your ideas in a more visual format.

Here is a recent example from our EERA (Maumee Valley) 4-H Volunteer Training comments that we collected (click on picture for a bigger size):


From taking the comments made about the session, I was able to copy and past the information into Wordle and share in a glimpse what our training focused on. Do you see the biggest word? “kids”. When you type words into the wordle (which we will get to soon) words that are typed more than once become bigger. So by looking at the world above, you can tell that more of the evaluations mentioned “kids” than  “responsibility”. Now you also get some words in there that don’t really do anything more than fill space, such as “by-laws”. Who would have thought that would have come up in a written evaluation?

Now hopefully I have you at least somewhat convinced to at least explore Wordle.  I will give some more ideas of implementations that may be useful for Wordle, but for now…

Let’s Get Started!

Open your browser of choice and go to the following link:

Once you are on the homepage there are a number of things you could look at. For examples look down, there are usually four examples to look at. If you click on the “more” button you can see more designs (if you need inspired)

But lets say you are inspired and ready to make text look interesting? You will click the “Create” button at the top of the page to begin creating your very own Wordle.

You have two options at this point:
Copy and paste text from your annual conference proposals OR enter a URL of a website (usually a blog)

Option #1 Copy & Pasting text for a Wordle

For those of you who like to follow directly along we will be pasting the following into the top box.

Expenses as material breeding insisted building to in. Continual so distrusts pronounce by unwilling listening. Thing do taste on we manor. Him had wound use found hoped. Of distrusts immediate enjoyment curiosity do. Marianne numerous saw thoughts the humoured. Prepared is me marianne pleasure likewise debating. Wonder an unable except better stairs do ye admire. His and eat secure called esteem praise. So moreover as speedily differed branched ignorant. Tall are her knew poor now does then. Procured to contempt oh he raptures amounted occasion. One boy assure income spirit lovers set.

(Yes, this is “random” text and there are websites to make it up for you such as Random Text Generator)

It should look like this:

(click on picture for a bigger size)

Then you will hit the “go” button below the text.

Note: You can now skip down to the section titled “Customization of your Wordle” to learn what to do next!

Option #2 Entering a URL for a Wordle

Find a webpage that you wish to “wordle” for this example we used this blog!

Click on the submit button, and the same customization below will apply!

(click on picture for a bigger size)

This is the wordle that was generated using the EdgeU Tech Blog!

Now, on to the fun part! How to make it look how you want it to!

Customization of your Wordle

From here you can customize your wordle to take on any look that you wish!

Note: The “Randomize” Button is also a unique option for giving you different looks with the same words.

A few words about Font, Layout and Color

  • Font ranges from script, to formal, to bold. Going through the list will give you a better idea of what would look the most professional in each situation.
  • Layout is a little more complicated. The two main features to know are the “rounder vs straighter edges” and orientation of the text “horizontal, vertical, half and half”.  The best thing to do is to click away and try each feature to get a feel for them, it is almost virtually impossible to “mess up” a wordle!
  • Color offers a few default color schemes to work with. If you feel adventurous you can try to edit the custom palette. You can also give variation from close, or to wild variations of color. Again, this is a play with it and see what feels right kind of feature.

How do I keep my Wordle?

This is slightly more complicated. Once you have your worlde the best thing I have found to “capture” it is to take a screen shot of your screen and paste it into a word document or paint. To capture the screen shot most computers can use the function key and then F11. Once pasted into a document you can crop and edit it for print uses.

Other Uses

  • I have used wordle to help teens to get to know themselves better. I have their peer describe them (given a list of POSITIVE terms) and turn them in. I then copy and paste the terms into wordle and it gives the teen a nice visual description of themselves. In fact, Jerry Thomas did this in one of my graduate classes, and I still have it in my office!
  • Worlde looks great on posters! For the Galaxy conference I had the evaluations of the teen leadership program printed on the poster. It was a good way to visually break up the design and fun to look at for people passing by.
  • For more professional use, I have found that if I copy and paste a large paper in worlde, it will show the words that I am using the most (the larger words remember).


I hope this beginning guide helps you all explore the visual fun of wordle! As always if you have questions please contact me at