Insights from the Best Conference I’ve Ever Attended

In October 2017, Jamie and I had the incredible opportunity to attend DevLearn in Las Vegas. DevLearn is an international conference on learning technologies and focuses on how to develop a top-quality workforce with effective learning and skills development opportunities. Jamie offered two scholarships to OSU Extension staff and after submitting an application, Cindy Folck and Ed Brown were selected to travel to Vegas with us for this amazing adventure. Below is a recap of our collective insights from the conference.

What was the most valuable thing you discovered or learned during DevLearn that you can apply right away?

Ed: As a result of attending the conference, immediately after returning to the office, I want back and changed several of my upcoming presentations. I had used these for many years and could now see many ways to improve them. It added a bit in the prep time, but will have long-lasting benefits.

Cindy: DevLearn was an opportunity to learn about new technology available for eLearning. I discovered new video enhancement content such as quizzes and bookmarks that I plan to explore to use on upcoming projects.

Jamie: That a definite movement toward social learning is gaining momentum – in organizations, businesses, and education. Learning is being redefined, and Extension can gain from adjusting to the needs of those we serve by joining others who are transforming learning experiences, both online and in-person.

Danae: The most valuable thing I learned, from a personal perspective, was how to create engaging communities through social leadership. Julian Stodd, with Sea Salt Learning, is a great resource to learn more about social leadership and social organizations. His work emphasizes the need to create communities of trust within organizations. I realized these communities need not be formal, but tend to work most effectively when they are informal and part of people’s natural work or life flow. I’m excited to apply his ideas to creating communities of trust next year!

As a result of attending this conference, what is one thing you will quit doing?

Ed: I will not immediately pull up my old PowerPoint to make the same presentation that I have made many times before. I will not always use the presentations that are sent to me for statewide topics, but take a look to see if there is a way to way to modify it in order to benefit the learner. I want to be learner centric, not speaker centric (I want a greater impact).

Cindy: I plan to stop waiting to begin evaluations of online and e-Learning. I’ll also stop waiting to create evaluations for static websites.

Danae: I will quit thinking that Extension is unique in terms of how we train and develop our staff. Employees in organizations across all industries need the same opportunities for skills and career development. We can learn from the successes of other industries to build an effective learning and development unit within Extension.

What were the benefits of attending a non-Extension conference?

Ed: It was great see educators from other industries and see how they approach teaching.

Cindy: The audience for the DevLearn conference included large corporations conducting employee-training with e-Learning. It was beneficial to hear their struggles with the same issues we experience in Extension. It is empowering to know we are on the frontier of e-Learning with these corporations and their consultants and not a step behind.

Jamie: I always try to attend at least one non-Extension conference each year to help me gain new perspectives and connect dots to partnerships with people, companies, and organizations that I may have never thought of before. Every time I attend a non-Extension conference, I realize that no matter how different our fields of study, business model, market, or audience, we often have similar challenges and opportunities and can learn from one another. “Me too!” moments always happen and lead to unique insights.

Danae: The single greatest benefit was learning that organizations across all industries are experiencing the same pain points as it relates to employee development. It was also immensely beneficial to learn that there are numerous resources we can tap into without having to recreate the wheel. I highly recommend stepping outside of Extension for an immersive professional development opportunity at least once every few years!

Can you share one (or more) resources or programs that you think Extension colleagues would enjoy learning about?

Ed: I think that it was important to learn how to think like a futurist. Also, I would like for Extension professionals to learn is that there are other ways to present a topic. Learning something like interactive video or the steps involved in presenting information through an eLearning platform could have the potential to reach traditional and non-traditional audiences in a new way. I am also encouraged to implement augmented reality into my program and hope that it can be implemented around the state.

Cindy: The world of analytics is developing and I think Extension needs to become involved with this evaluation tool for our programming. Analytics not only provide feedback, but measures current success and areas need improvement.

JamieHapYak for creating interactive, experiential videos.

Danae: I’ve love for folks to check out the interactive video LIFESAVER for a truly experiential learning opportunity with video. Now imagine teaching people about topics like food safety or safe handling and application of pesticides and fertilizers using this kind of immersive video! If you’re looking for something a bit more whimsical, download the Google Spotlight “Stories” app and watch a few immersive stories. My personal favorites are Duet and Buggy Night. HINT: You’ll want to watch the stories in a space that allows you to move around!

Please share a connection or networking contact you think Extension colleagues should follow on Facebook or Twitter.

Ed: I would encourage educators to follow some of the people in eXtension EdTechLN that are looking at ways to use technology in our everyday teaching opportunities

Cindy: The opportunities for webinars and training session through the e-Learning Guild membership is something I’m looking forward to exploring. I think these learning and professional development options would be beneficial for Extension colleagues involved with e-Learning.

Danae: I highly recommend following Julian Stodd on Twitter! Julian has written a handful of books on Social Leadership and its importance within organizations. His insights about how to strengthen and develop organizations is simply brilliant. I’m currently reading his Social Leadership Handbook and I’m infatuated!

Innovation in Extension

Ohio State University Extension has been at the forefront of transforming our organizational culture in Extension. From the creation of a first-of-its-kind Extension Educational Technology unit, to serving on national committees charged with tackling systemic challenges and opportunities in innovation, OSUE has been involved every step of the way since 2012.

Innovate Extension

In May 2016, the Ohio State University Extension Ed Tech Unit hosted the first Innovate Extension event as an Extension-only post-event to OSU’s Innovate Conference. This hackathon-style event was an opportunity for faculty and staff to network, discuss, and develop innovative ideas for Extension’s greatest challenges and opportunities. Extension professionals at all levels of the organization were invited to develop small, cross-programmatic teams and “hack” their way through an idea. From ideation to pitch, event participants had a dedicated work session to develop and refine their ideas before pitching a proposal to OSU Extension administration for potential funding. The response was overwhelming. During our first year, nearly 150 people joined together across 24 teams. OSUE administrators awarded more than $34,000 among the top three teams to continue idea development and deployment.

Since then, Innovate Extension events have been hosted in three additional states – North Dakota, Utah, and Oregon – with an additional event being planned in Delaware for October 2017. These events have been funded, in part, by the eXtension Foundation. Additionally, Ohio State University Extension hosted their second Innovate Extension event in May 2017 with the event theme UrbanX. The UrbanX theme was selected to allow participants to focus on Ohio’s unique urban challenges and opportunities that intersect across all communities, rural and urban alike.

Event recaps for each state are below.

Ohio State University Extension

2017 Innovate Ohio State University Extension event recap

2016 Innovate Ohio State University Extension event recap

North Dakota State University Extension

2016 Innovate North Dakota State University Extension event recap

Utah State University Extension

Oregon State University Extension

2017 Innovate Oregon State University Extension event recap

Learn more about how Innovate Extension events are providing real impact in work and program development throughout Extension.


Other Innovation Initiatives and Projects

We Don’t Have Time for Innovation 2017 Keynote Series (coming soon)

eXtension Educational Technology Learning Network

ECOP Innovation in Extension Task Force

Extension Horizon Report 2016 – 2021

Questions about the OSUE Ed Tech unit’s involvement in innovation in Extension? Contact Jamie or Danae.








Innovate Extension Provides Real Impact

OSU Extension hosted the very first Innovate Extension event in May 2016. Since then, the reach and impact of our Innovate Extension events has grown. North Dakota State University Extension, Utah State University Extension, and Oregon State University Extension have each hosted their own Innovate Extension event funded, in part, by the eXtension Foundation. Additionally, Delaware State University Extension will host their inaugural Innovate event in October 2017 and other state universities like Michigan State, Missouri State, and Texas A&M have each expressed interest in hosting similar hackathon-style events in the near future.

Our 2017 Innovate Extension event in Ohio attracted new Extension participants and created the opportunity for teams to work with the most innovative community and business leaders from throughout the Columbus region. The integration of innovators from outside Extension was a huge hit and created lasting impact for our teams as they ideated, designed, and pitched their projects.

Check out the videos below from our 2017 Innovate Extension coaches and judges to learn about the impact of these hackathon-style events.

What is a Hackathon?

How Has Innovate Extension Benefited You?

Our Innovate Extension events focus on cross-programmatic collaboration, creativity, and innovation. Here are a few ways your OSU Extension colleagues are thinking and working differently as a result of attending an Innovate Extension event:

How has Innovate Extension changed the way you identify or develop programs?

“I seek out input from others more. I ask people what they think; often they will see something I don’t.”

“More time, research, and group discussion are part of developing a program.”

How has Innovate Extension changed how you approach teamwork?

“We recognize individual differences and strengths of coworkers and seek everyone’s ideas before proceeding.”

“I try to encourage all voices on the team, especially from ones normally more quiet.”

Describe how participating in Innovate Extension has allowed you to be more creative or innovative in your Extension work.

“Participating in the program helped me think outside the box and encouraged the development of some creative programming ideas.”

“We are working on integrating more technology into our program, which has been successful. We will be doing an IRB and research study to see what differences it makes.”

What else would you like to tell us about your Innovate Extension experience?

“This session was just the start of what we need to do to change the culture of innovation within our system. Good job on getting it started. Let’s do even more next time!!”

How Can We Be More Innovative in Our Work?

Listen to what OSU Extension Director, Roger Rennekamp, had to say about how we can be more innovative in our work.

Check out what event participants had to say about their 2017 Innovate Extension experience:

2017 Innovate Extension Infographic

We are excitedly gearing up to plan and coordinate our 2018 Innovate Extension event. What would you like to see happen in 2018? Let us know by email or in the comments!

Questions or comments? Contact Danae or Jamie.




2017 Innovate Extension Recap

We’d like to extend a huge thank you and congratulations to everyone who participated in last week’s Innovate Extension UrbanX event! We are thrilled to have spent an entire day dedicated to innovation and creativity in Extension. Your ideas were inspiring!

After an energizing keynote workshop led by ImprovEdge, each team spent nearly 5 hours during the hackathon developing a unique and innovative idea to address a challenge or opportunity related to urban – rural interdependence both internal or external to Extension. Teams created “Zen Statements,” or concise overviews of their ideas, and then pitched their ideas, concepts, and projects to a panel of judges at the end of the event, which included Extension administrators as well as influential community members.

Judging Panel

Judging Panel Photo

Pictured (from left to right): Quintin Jesse, Ryan Schmiesing, Julie Fox, Jay Clouse, Roger Rennekamp, Jackie Kirby-Wilkins, Brad Gaolach, Donte Woods-Spikes, Ben Lewis, and Jerry Thomas

Coaches and Key Informants

Creative Coaches

Pictured (front row, left to right): Ashley Miller, Scott Sheeler, Chris Hill, Daphne Richards (Back row, left to right): Melissa Miller, Loren Stone, Dan Montour, Joshua David McClurg-Genevese, Ryan Wynkoop, Karen Jeannette, Bradd Anderson, Jamie Seger, Hunter McBrayer, Erin Powell, Josh Dallin, Anand Khurma, Mike Letscher, Mike Ong, George Li, Byron Roush

Below is a recap of our teams, awards, and events of the day:




City Smarties Team

City Smarties Team Photo

Team members: Beth Boomershine, Sue Hogan, Mark Light, Laquore Meadows

Coaches: David Staley and Mike Letscher

Zen Statement: The journey of bringing diverse youth together to be drivers of change in the Smart Cities Challenge

Sub-award: Best Use of Claymation Award

Community Collaborators Team

Community Collaborators Team Photo

Team members: Laura Akgerman, Ed Brown, Lisa Pfeifer

Coaches: Anand Khurma and Mike Ong

Zen Statement: An adaptive toolkit for gardeners of curated content enabling Extension Educators to deliver programming focusing on assistive design technologies

Sub-award: Best Adaptability Award

Extension Leadership Network Team

Extension Leadership Network Team Photo

Team members: Laura Fuller, Tim McDermott, Brian Raison

Coaches: Ryan Wynkoop and Byron Roush

Zen Statement: A statewide network for Extension professionals that shares innovative leadership programs, resources, ideas, and energy to better reach the community and organizations we serve.

Sub-award: Best Prototype Award

Farm to School/Local Lunch Leaders Team

Farm to School Local Lunch Leaders Team Photo

Team members: Carol Smathers, Heather Neikirk, Amy Fovargue, Katie Riemenschneider, Tony Staubach, Amanda Osbourne, Patrice Powers-Barker

Coaches: Karen Jeannette and Scott Sheeler

Zen Statement: Creating and empowering school-based teams to foster Farm-to-School activities across the cafeteria, classroom, and community for the people who purchase, serve, and eat school food that overcome barriers to better school food and promote an appreciation for healthy food systems, enabling a greater voice among key customer groups through team-building and mentoring. Unlike efforts focused on singular groups at a time, we build community capacity using evidence-based programs across an accessible state-side network.

Sub-award: Big Umbrella Award

Live Healthy Live Well Team

Live Healthy Live Well Team Photo

Team members: Alisha Barton, Lisa Barlage, Pat Brinkman, Misty Harmon, Michelle Treber

Coaches: Erin Powell and Chris Hill

Zen Statement: Buckeye 365 will help you provide positive family discussions anywhere. We’ll give you the tools and conversation starters to encourage your family to start talking.

Sub-award: Will Ferrell More Cowbell Award

On-farm Research Team

On-Farm Research Research Team Photo

Team members: Carol Hamilton, Mike Estadt, Mary Griffith, Rob Leeds, Kaylee Port, Lee Richter, Elizabeth Hawkins

Coaches: Hunter McBrayer and Loren Stone

Zen Statement: An Extension research toolkit for Educators and consumers that offers non-biased information in a thrilling and engaging style enabling a better understanding and utilization in on-farm research.

Sub-award: Most Sparkiest Award

Rethinking Extension Advisory Committee Team

Rethinking Extension Advisory Committees Team Photo

Team members: Morgan Domokos, Joanna Fifner, Ashley Kulhanek, Kyle White

Coaches: Bradd Anderson

Zen Statement: A league of ambassadors for OSU Extension that advocate and connect, collaboratively identifying the solutions of tomorrow for emerging challenges and opportunities of today replacing current Extension Advisory Committees.

Sub-award: Killing a Sacred Cow Award

This is Extension Team

This is Extension Team Photo

Team members: Stacey Baker, Beth Frey, Amy Meehan, Jera Oliver, Amanda Woods,

Coaches: Melissa Miller, Ashley Miller, Dan Montour

Zen Statement: A virtual front door for all Ohioans that will provide simplified access to Extension services and new ways to engage and connect.

Sub-award: Biggest Challenge Award

Urban Ag Team

Urban Ag Veg Box Team Photo

Team members: Jim Jasinski, Jacquline Kowalski, Suzanne Mills-Wasniak, Elizabeth Roche, Mike Hogan

Coaches: Josh Dallin and Joshua David McClurg-Genevese

Zen Statement: Ready-made, customizable garden kit delivered to your door, connecting you to gardening and growing food.

Sub-award: Social Responsibility Award

ImprovEdge Photo

Keynote speakers, April Olt and Dan Montour from ImprovEdge in Columbus, kickstarted the day with an enthusiastic workshop.

The Three-Headed Expert, an ImprovEdge activity, was a fun way to get participants to say “YES!” to new ideas.

After an invigorating keynote workshop, teams starting working on their ideas.

After hours of hard work, each team had the opportunity to present their ideas to a panel of judges.

At the end of the day, OSU Extension Director, Roger Rennekamp also announced that the panel of judges awarded all nine teams with the opportunity to move their idea forward through Adobe Kickbox. Kickbox is an innovator program in a box. Adobe developed Kickbox by drawing on 30 years of industry experience in successful innovation. Teams will emerge from the Kickbox experience with a refined and validated project proposal to present to OSUE administrative cabinet in the Fall of 2017 for potential seed funding to pilot their projects. The OSU Extension Ed Tech Unit, along with Utah State University Extension Associate Professor and eXtension Innovation Lab Assistant Director Paul Hill, will serve as Kickbox mentors to guide teams through this exciting professional development experience over the next several weeks.

Teams with Kickbox

Teams were excited to look inside their Kickbox!

Teams with Kickbox

A peek at the amazing awards and door prizes that were handed out during the event.

Thank you again for everyone who participated and helped make Innovate Extension: UrbanX a huge success!

Ed Tech Survey Results Infographic

Thank you to everyone who took time to complete our 2016 Extension Tech Use and Skills Survey. Your input is valuable in helping us determine what Ed Tech topics to focus on in the coming year. The survey results also allow us to take a deeper look into the content you feel is important in improving your Extension impact and reach.

We gained a lot of valuable insight into our organizational tech use and skill set. We have staff at all points along the tech spectrum–from folks who integrate technology into their daily work to folks who have little to no interest in technology and still those who are yearning to learn more but aren’t sure where to start.

Take a look at some of the most notable survey data in the infographic below.

No matter your current skill level, the Extension Ed Tech Unit is available to help. We are deeply interested in meeting people at their current skill level and navigating them to their end goals. From social media strategy to blogging (and everything in between) we can help. Don’t hesitate to reach out! Take a look at our workshop offerings to get some ideas of how we can help you. If you don’t see exactly what you’re looking for, let us know what you’re thinking and we can probably create a one-of-a-kind program to meet your needs or the needs of your office or team.

Question or comments? Contact Jamie or Danae.

2015 Ed Tech Year in Review

Last week, the Ed Tech Unit shared a snapshot of data and other information from August – December 2015 with Administrative Cabinet members. Browse through the brief slide deck below to see how 2015 Tech Use and Skills Survey data was used to address the needs of the organization, how many OSUE professionals received assistance during this time period from an Ed Tech and the type of assistance they received, as well as Ed Tech initiatives for 2016.

The 2016 Organizational Tech Use & Skills Survey will be emailed January 29th!

Ed Tech Learning Opportunities at OSUE Annual Conference

This year’s OSUE Annual Conference theme, “Innovation in Action”, provides the opportunity to showcase the creative, innovative programming taking place across Ohio in Extension! The Ed Tech unit is excited to offer several breakout sessions this year, alongside our annual Tech Faire (formerly the “Tech Zoo”). We’ll also be announcing a few new Ed Tech initiatives for 2016.

Ed Tech – Led Focus Sessions:

Tuesday, December 8th

Wednesday, December 9th

Tech Faire

8:00am – 6:00pm: (Ohio Stater’s Room, 2nd Floor)

Marty McFly’s 2015 hat + other BTTF props await you at the Tech Faire photo booth!



What Focus Sessions are you presenting that showcase how you’re utilizing technology in your work? Add them in the comments below and we’ll see you at #OSUE2015!

Share Your Innovative Programming and Ideas at this Year’s “Innovation in Action” OSUE Annual Conference

There are just SIX days left to submit your session and poster proposals for the 2015 OSU Extension Annual Conference! This year’s “Innovation in Action” theme seeks to highlight the creative and innovative programming that takes place in Extension across Ohio every day.

Did you try out Instagram or Pinterest this year and want to share the results? Have you started communicating with your clientele in different ways? Did you learn a new innovative skill through trial and error? Did you replace traditional content with digital? What innovative methods of teaching are you using to plan, promote, and/or facilitate face-to-face events?

Ohio State University proudly boasts one of the largest groups of innovative Extension professionals nationwide.

Please share the great work you’re doing with your colleagues by submitting a proposal! If you would like assistance from an Ed Tech to brainstorm ideas or even help facilitate a breakout session or poster – we’re happy to help! Contact Jamie or Danae via email. While we do have several hands-on Ed Tech session proposals submitted, we’re also still open to suggestions for topics to cover during AC! Comment below with your ideas of what information you need from us this year.

We’re happy to announce that we will once again host a Tech Faire (formerly the “Tech Zoo”) during Annual Conference, complete with technology that inspires and the opportunity to connect with the Ed Techs, IT Support, and Communications staff. More details about the Tech Faire will be posted soon.

More information about the conference and proposal submission form can be found on the Annual Conference website.


The eXtension #EdTechLN, One Year Later [Interactive Infographic]

The eXtension Educational Technology Learning Network is celebrating one year of learning, sharing, and collaboration this month. If you’re not familiar with the EdTechLN, it was funded and created by eXtension in 2014 to provide informal professional development, collaboration, and partnership opportunities focused on technology use in Extension programming, working differently, as well as fostering innovative ideas and concepts. While many individuals who engage with the EdTechLN are program staff, the Learning Network has attracted engagement from IT and Communications professionals, Extension Specialists, Faculty, and support staff; forming an ideal collaborative network that provides not just ideas and inspiration, but resources and support as well.

The EdTechLN is lead by Jamie Seger (Ohio State), Paul Hill (Utah State), Jerry Thomas (Ohio State), and Barbara Chamberlin (New Mexico State).

Anyone who is interested in the successful incorporation of technology into their work, or collaborating with like-minded Extension professionals are encouraged to participate in the EdTechLN! Some ways to get involved are described here. To date, Ohio leads the pack with more than 25 individuals engaging with the Learning Network in some fashion on a regular basis! The easiest way to get involved? Sign up to receive info and updates in your email inbox. And we hope to see you during the next TweetUp, they’re a lot of fun.

The infographic below is interactive, so by hovering your mouse over many of the charts and info boxes, you can see additional information. Click on hyperlinked images and text in the infographic to be taken to additional resources.


So You Want to Make an App? Decision Chart!

A collaboration between OSU Extension’s Ed Techs and professionals from New Mexico State University’s Learning Games Lab and Media Productions over the past year has produced a handy decision chart for Extension professionals who are interested in developing mobile apps. NMSU’s Barbara Chamberlin, who directs the Learning Games Lab, developed the large majority of this flowchart which walks individuals and teams through the (very involved) decision-making process that may or may not lead to the creation of an app.

PDF version for printing: so-you-want-to-make-an-app-flow-chart-with-color-v6-ugrxmt.pdf

If you or your program / project team are interested in creating a mobile app, walk through the various steps of the flowchart. If you feel an app is still appropriate and worth the time / monetary commitments, contact Jamie or Heather to discuss how to move forward.

Questions or comments about mobile apps or the decision chart? Let us know in the comments!