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Case study

Connecting the classroom with the real world: GrowNextGen website

We wanted to make science materials available to teachers, put educators in touch with career professionals, and give students a place to show their research. A website seemed like a great way to do all three!

Our goal was to connect education and agriculture to help people become more knowledgeable, so they would have an understanding of where food comes from. We asked ourselves, what components does an online site need? We wanted to inform people about 21st century agricultural career and to influence teachers to help them inform students.

To develop the website, we worked with OSC’s marketing firm. Feedback from teachers helps us to know what they want to see: there has been a lot of interest in having more e-learning courses.

We decided to establish teacher networks to encourage sharing of ideas and lesson plans. These materials are being created by actual teachers in the classroom. They are excited about these topics and enjoy working together! They’ve got creative new ideas, and their collaboration has produced some great materials: lessons, activities, etc.

Industry professionals have provided career videos and can be contacted to come into the classroom. There are lessons connected to the real world for classes in biology, chemistry, agriscience, and environmental science.

We’ve developed an information portal, a teacher network, a place for hosting student research, and a way to connect with industry professionals. Over fifteen years’ worth of material is now accessible for free to anyone who wants to use it. We have e-learning courses on the site that teachers are using in creative ways, in blizzard bags and in a flipped classroom setting.

We provide outreach through a monthly newsletter, letting people know what new things are available on the site. There are workshops and teacher incentives to keep people current and provide them with supplies and other opportunities for their students. Teachers can interact with industry representatives, as well as other teachers who are using the materials and exploring the topics.

This is good for teachers and for the Ohio Soybean Council. Students are learning about things that are important in agriculture today: water quality, bioproducts, biofuels, and sustainable agriculture, to name a few. In addition to relevant curriculum materials related to soybean production and modern agriculture, there are career videos, interactive e-learning courses, background information and student research opportunities to incorporate into classroom lessons everyday. The network is growing daily, with new materials added on a regular basis.

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