- Author: Brad Hanson
Last week I attended the Western Society of Weed Science annual meeting (Spokane, WA). Joe DiTomaso and I were invited to speak in an Education and Regulatory Symposium entitled "Use of New Technology by Weed Science Educators" and I thought I'd share a few thoughts about the session and also my presentation on blogs.
This interesting symposium organized by Marvin Butler from Oregon State University had four speakers plus time for discussion.
First, James Leary from the University of Hawaii at Manoa spoke about "The Virtual Field Day (VFD): Web-based video presentations that extend to a broader audience". He discussed his use of low cost, self edited YouTube videos that he described as a "guerrilla extension video" effort. In addition to being very entertaining, I think James gave a few of us some ideas of how to use fairly low-tech and free video equipment and software. In particular, I enjoy his presentations of using herbicide-filled "paint balls" to deliver herbicides to invasive weeds in remote areas of Hawaii.
Joe DiTomaso from UC Davis Weed Science gave a presentation on "Educational Videos: a Way to Do More with Less". You can see the first video in this series (How to Identify Weeds) here - this one is designed for Master Gardeners but future videos are planned for other audiences. This effort takes a more polished approach to extension videos than James' videos and hopes to eventually replace or supplement some in-person extension presentations.
I gave my presentation called "Blogs as an Extension Tool: Experiences of a Novice Blogger". I spoke about this blog (UC Davis Weed Science) and a blog called "The Almond Doctor" by UC Cooperative Extension Farm Advisor, David Doll. The slides I presented are in the window below.
2011 WSWS_Hanson_Blogs for Extension
Finally, Marvin Butler from Oregon State University spoke about his efforts to make the Central Oregon Agricultural Research Center Annual Reports available and searchable online. His presentation was called "Searchable Database: Web-Based Access to Research Information". I thought it seemed like a very interesting way (as well as a daunting task) to make decades of annual reports searchable by author, crop, pest, pesticide, etc. You can find that database here.
Overall, the symposium was successful and generated quite a bit of interest and discussion among those in attendance. Most thought that the combined effects of declining numbers of extension personnel, decreasing travel, and an increasingly sophisticated extension clientelle, we are going to rely on these types of technology more in the future.
I'd be interested to hear your reactions and experiences with "new technology" in an agricultural extension context.
In related news, two UC Davis Weed Science members were honored at the Western Society of Weed Science meeting this year. Joe DiTomaso completed his term as President of the Society and will continue to serve for another year in an advisory role as Immediate Past President and Brad Hanson was named as Outstanding Early Career Weed Scientist for 2011.