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!

How to Use Google Trends to Identify Local Interests

Google Trends, a Google tool utilized to aggregate search engine and news trend data, recently got an upgrade that allows data to boil down to a regional level per state. This is great news for Extension – it allows us to take a look at timely topics that matter most to people on a semi-local level. Here is are a couple examples of how we can use Google Trends in Extension programming:

I searched for three terms in Google Trends: 1) Food Safety, 2) Listeria, 3)Botulism. I was interested to see how many people used which term around the time of the listeria and botulism scares in Ohio. I limited the term search to just Ohio.

As you can see from the graph, the term “Food Safety” was searched for far less over the past 12 months than the terms “Listeria” and “Botulism”, even during the height of the news cycles for these topics. By including the terms that are most often searched for when blogging or posting on social media about timely information, we can make sure that Extension produced content is found by the people who need it.

Another example of how to use Google Trends to track a topic that has a growing interest: Kids and Screen Time. After plugging in “Screen Time” as a search topic over the past few years, here were the results:


According to the graph, this topic has increased in popularity since 2009. The dotted lines at the end of the graph represent Google’s “forecast” of how often Screen Time will be searched for in the near future. The letters on this graph represent when top news stories on Screen Time were posted. If you hover over each letter, information about who posted the story and the title will appear.

Here’s a look at how the topic of Screen Time compares between Ohioans and people who live in Michigan:

Ohioans search for "Screen Time" more often than people living in Michigan.

Ohioans search for “Screen Time” more often than people living in Michigan.

When “Screen Time” is broken down by region:

After plugging in search terms, locations, or simply exploring what topics people are most interested in, you can generate a shareable link to share the information or you can download as an Excel file. You can also embed individual charts and graphs into a blog post or website, like this graph showing all searches related to “Crops & Seed” in Ohio (hover over the line on the graph to see information):


Other Google Trend applications for Extension:

  • Put together an interactive informal “needs assessment” on specific topics to share with your County Commissioners.
  • Compare different topics in your region of the state to find topics of interest.
  • Share local interests on social media and ask for feedback from residents.

What are your ideas? How would you utilize Google Trends? 

Digital Scholarship is Getting the Attention it Deserves

Eric Stafne, Extension Professor from Mississippi State University, has posted a very interesting and thought-provoking 5-part series on the eXtension Educational Technology Learning Network’s blog this week. In this series, he discusses his favorite definition of digital scholarship, how digital technology and scholarship best connect, outlines barriers to digital scholarship and offers solutions to how Extension can address these barriers.

I encourage everyone in Extension who is interested in traditional media, digital media, and scholarship, as well as the future of academic content, to read this series and offer your input on the digital scholarship blog posts. You can also Tweet your reaction and thoughts using the #EdTechLN hashtag and be part of the conversation.

Click here to access the entire digital scholarship blog post series by Eric Stafne. 

During the entire month of May, the #EdTechLN is shining the spotlight on digital scholarship and its impact on Extension. Next week’s #EdTechLN TweetUp (May 7th at 2:00pm EST) will focus on this topic. You can join and follow the TweetUp by going to:  If you’d like to take a look at the last TweetUp discussing digital scholarship, which focused on “Traditional Pubs. vs. Digital Content” you can access the summary here.

It should also be noted that we’re addressing digital scholarship questions and issues here in Ohio. The Extension Promotion and Tenure Committee is working hard to discuss solutions to how we define quality digital media and content.  A handout presented to the P&T Committee to begin this discussion is below:


How to Write for Online Audiences

The Ed Techs have shared several examples of online writing best practices in the past couple of years, including one created by CommTech and one from the CDC. This morning, I came across another one. Below is a Slidedeck from Jennifer Chilek (Ed Tech for eXtension’s Network Literacy CoP) on writing for online audiences.

In the slides below, she includes examples of best practices as well as succinct info that’s usable and to-the-point. If you have questions about converting content that’s currently in a traditional pub or curriculum into quality content more suited to an online audience, please let us know in the comments below or don’t hesitate to send me an email (seger.23).

“Internet of Things” Webinar Announcement

During the Tech Talk Annual Conference in December, we discussed how Ohio would look very, very different in 2035. One of the disrupting technologies that is already here is the “Internet of Things”, or “IoT”. Jerry Thomas and I mentioned the IoT briefly during our talk, but for those who are interested in finding out which IoT devices already exist, which devices are right around the corner, and how they will change our tech landscape, eXtension is hosting an upcoming Webinar that will cover these very things on March 23rd at 1:30pmEST.

Click here to view Webinar information.


More information about the Internet of Things


Other eXtension Webinars of interest:

Which Social Media Platform is Right for You?

Twitter for Newbies

Twitter – Tier Two

Complete list of upcoming webinars.





2015 OSU Extension Ed Tech Update & Survey Link

A group of OSUE folks trying out Google Glass. Director Keith Smith, Ken Martin, Jerry Thomas, and Jamie Seger.

A group of OSUE folks trying out Google Glass. Director Keith Smith, Ken Martin, Jerry Thomas, and Jamie Seger.

Wow, we’ve come a long way. Nearly two years ago, OSU Extension administration approved an Educational Technology pilot project and gave four of us the opportunity to do what few in Extension get to do… try something bold, innovative, and untested. Since then we set out to fill the gap that existed between program staff and technology. We’ve had great success with project collaborations, coaching, training, and mentoring our colleagues and I want to thank each and every one of you for believing in the importance of the Ed Tech pilot. Not everything we’ve tried has worked, and that’s okay. And we may not be moving as quickly forward in regard to technology integration as we would like to be, but we are moving forward and that’s what matters!

To my new colleagues who just joined OSU Extension sometime during the past year, let me provide a brief description of the Ed Techs’ role in the organization: we’re here to inform, to coach, to train, to collaborate, and to mentor. We strive to be the missing link between technology and the people who use it in their work.

This week, I began my new position as Program Director for OSU Extension Educational Technology. To

Ed Tech Kim Roush helps a participant during the video creation workshop in Belle Valley.

Ed Tech Kim Roush helps a participant during the video creation workshop in Belle Valley.

say that I’m excited to be able to devote time and effort to items that I couldn’t address in previous years is a gross understatement! This year, I’ll be working hard alongside our other Ed Tech(s) and the Ed Tech Transition Team construct an Ed Tech strategic plan that includes items such as appropriate reporting and evaluation of technology use (also for P&T purposes) as well as appropriate onboarding of new employees with regard to technology.

What are the other next steps?

It’s been two years since the last organization-wide technology survey was sent out. That particular survey mostly gauged social media use and knowledge. Now, we’re surveying everyone to get a pulse on general technology knowledge and skills (informal and formal learning, tools, social media, apps, etc). We’ve had many new employees join the organization since 2012. This survey will assist myself and other Ed Techs in prioritizing needs over the next year or so. Please take a few minutes of your time to complete the survey.

I am working with an Ed Tech transition team (Jerry Thomas, Ryan Schmiesing, Carmen Irving, Vickie Snyder, Brian Raison, Stephen Heppe, Mitch Moser, and Ken Martin) moving forward over the next year or two.

Who do I contact with technology-related questions?

Heather Gottke and myself are currently the sole Ed Techs until we fill the new permanent positions (which will hopefully be completed sometime this Spring). You may contact either one of us with questions. If we can’t help you, we have the connections to get you in touch with the right person.

If you are interested in collaborating, sharing, and/or learning from Extension colleagues nationwide, I am giving co-leadership to the newly formed eXtension Educational Technology Learning Network.  This Learning Network was created as a direct result of the innovative Ed Tech efforts we’ve been working toward here in Ohio. The “EdTechLN” hosts popular TweetUps on various tech-related topics on the 1st and 3rd Thursdays of each month at 2:00pmEST. You can follow the #EdTechLN hashtag or feed to view and participate in the discussion.

If you have any comments, feedback, suggestions, ideas, etc. as we move ahead with our educational technology efforts, please let me know in the comments below or send me an email.



Announcing the eXtension Ed Tech Learning Network

Interested in Ed Tech and want to take learning, sharing, collaboration, and support to the next level? The eXtension Ed Tech Learning Network, which is already over 100 members strong, is the new educational technology resource and support network for Cooperative Extension professionals nationwide. Unlike an eXtension Community of Practice, this Learning Network focuses on the power of sharing, collaboration, and integrated support which all allow for the implementation of successful technology-enhanced programs to be introduced by other Extension professionals in other states. Input from private industry expertise is also a highlight of the Ed Tech Learning Network.

Check out this video created by the Learning Network’s Guiding Committee about why they’re involved:



Visit the Learning Network’s Join page and browse the many ways to get active and get involved.


We also invite you to participate in our first #EdTechLN Tweet Up on November 20th at 2:00pm EST. Not familiar with Tweet Ups? Here’s a great blog post by OSUE’s own Heather Gottke to bring you up to speed before November 20th. 


I have the exciting opportunity to serve as Project Manager for the Learning Network for the next year, so please feel free to contact me (seger.23) with any questions you may have. Jerry Thomas is also giving leadership to the LN along with Paul Hill from USU, and Barbara Chamberlin from NMSU.


Using Webinars to Teach: Training Slidedeck, Recap, and An Opportunity for Staff!

Last week, the Ed Techs hosted an online training about utilizing webinars as a teaching tool. The PPT is below, as well as a summary of the main points. A recording link to the webinar itself will be included as soon as we receive it.

Are you interested in presenting an educational webinar?

We know how busy you are, and so the Ed Techs are offering to provide preparation training, hosting, and “back-end” support for program and support staff who wish to present educational webinars in 2015!  These will not be professional development webinars we are all used to, but rather webinars intended to educate our online clientele (How to Respond to Temper Tantrums, 3 Simple Ways to Stick to Your Budget, How to Diagnose Pest Disease – as examples). We are requesting that individuals interested comment on this post, or contact us directly with the following information:

  • Webinar Topic
  • Title and Category (if you would like to call it a “Webinar” or “Lunch & Learn” or something similar)
  • Target Audience
  • Requested Date & Time to Present Webinar

Send the above information to any of the Ed Techs-

Jamie Seger: seger.23

Kim Roush: roush.143

Heather Gottke: gottke.4

Training Slidedeck



7 Tools for Using Webinars to Teach


  1. Basic Plan: timing, marketing, brief content

Design:Webinars screenshot

2. Visual Appeal: large images, one key point on each slide

3. Layout/ Structure: divide content into 10 minute segments or less, set up webinar session to promote interaction with different pods, discussions, polls, and activities

Interactive Elements (demonstrated in CarmenConnect):

4. Polling / Quiz / Questions

5. Chat Box

6. Whiteboard

7. Online Search

Link to Recording: TBA

How to Create Your Personal Learning Network on Twitter in 5 Steps


One of the themes mentioned throughout the National eXtension Conference last week was the increasing importance of Personal Learning Networks. Many of us who have been using social media for years have tapped into the informal learning that can easily take place in online social spaces – specifically on Twitter. PLN’s help Extension professionals learn from each other, as well as learn from other experts in our fields of work and study.

1. Create a Twitter account if you don’t already have one. Ed Tech Heather Gottke wrote a great blog post on how to get started on Twitter here.

2. Begin following people by adding people you already know; colleagues and clients. Then add people who you know are experts in their field. For example, I follow Mashable and Beth Kanter to get social media info; TechCrunch for general tech updates; Paul Hill for 4-H STEM programming; Mike Gutter for financial education; Let’s Move for nutrition education, and the Pew Research Center and NASA just because I’m a geek. You’ll also want to add CFAES, Keith Smith, and Dean McPheron, to stay up-to-date on our college’s goings-on. Feel free to see who else I follow and add them to people you follow.

3. Organize the people you follow into lists and use a social media managing tool. I use Hootsuite. But some people like Tweetdeck better. Both are free to use the “regular” version. You’ll have to pay to go Pro and get extra perks like analytics, but I use the free version and feel like I have access to everything I need. You’ll need to create your list categories in Twitter.

  • Once you have “followed” a Twitter account. Click on the settings icon beside the “Follow/Following” button. This will pull up a drop-down menu, as shown below:

twitter list example

  •  Click on “Add or remove from lists”. A separate box will appear asking you to “Create A List” or choose which list to add this person to:

twitter list example 2

  • Next, you’ll pull your lists into Hootsuite or Tweetdeck (whichever you choose to use). In Hootsuite, you can do this by adding a stream to your dashboard for each one of your lists. Click on “+Add Stream” and then click on the “Lists” tab (highlighted in yellow below):

twitter list capture hootsuite

  • Once you’ve added a stream for each of your lists, your dashboard will look like this (if you are as list-happy as I am anyway!):

hootsuite dashboard

4. Find more experts to follow by searching and following hashtags. For example, I have found people to follow by searching for #socialmedia, #edtech, #food, #money, #parenting, #4H, just to name a few.

5. Build upon and share what you’re learning by networking with those you follow. Retweet what they’re Tweeting and put their ideas into practice. Reach out to them and start a conversation. Let them know how you’re using their expertise, concepts, ideas, etc. I’ve networked with colleagues all across the country via Twitter and have met some amazing and inspiring people. They’re Educators, Program Specialists, Faculty, and Techies. Once your Personal Learning Network grows, you begin to realize how we can all work together across the nation to make Extension much stronger and our programs more impactful. Cooperating, collaborating, and sharing ideas and resources also reduces our time spent on reinventing something that someone in a different state already does well. Meeting via Twitter can put all of these things in motion.

For more info, Beth Kanter has an excellent blog post on using social media for professional learning here.

Other ideas? How have you built your own Personal Learning Network and who have you included in it?