August 8, 2008

Introduction to Extension 2.0 & Blogs

I use facebook, I use Google Talk, I have a couple other blogs, and I use rss feeds to get my local news on my laptop. I'm glad to join the University of Minnesota Extension 2.0 group, both to add to the list of technologies I use and to then apply those technologies to my work. I began working for Extension in Mower County as an NEA last year. I have a degree from Iowa State University, where I took a rural history course, and the rest, as they say, IS history: I picked Extension as my term-paper topic, read about the origins of Extension work, and got hooked on the land-grant mission. A college friend now working for Extension in Wichita, Kansas, and I have talked before about whether Extension is relevant for our generation. It seems people call the Extension office with questions on just about anything, but wait: are more and more of those questions finding answers on yahoo and wikipedia? This summer I found out about eXtension.org, an encouraging interactive, user-friendly, relevant site that offers research-based answers to those queries. I'm most interested in learning about podcasts and online video and how other Extension staff have improved their programming with these tools. This summer we developed a prototype for a 4-H/Nutrition/Master Gardener garden blog in Austin that we hope to expand in our garden's second season.