Free Picture Library

We know that pictures help us illustrate the points that we are making when we present materials in Extension.  So, I wanted to quickly blog a new library that I just became prairiedogaware of.


It has several collections, including food, weather, and biomes (including grasslands)…and it has animals too.  Although the animals are a little more exotic that what we might be looking for in Extension.  If you need a tiger, sea lion, zebra or wolf though, it’s your place! Okay…now I’ve mimicked a prairie dog and shared with you something I saw on the horizon. 🙂 Take a quick look and see if it has libraries of images that would be helpful to you.

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Innovation in Pedagogy and Technology Symposium

The much awaiting spring Innovation in Pedagogy and Technology Symposium just announced their conference lineup today!  The conference will be held on May 8th at the Cornhusker Hotel in Lincoln, NE.  This conference has proven itself as a very helpful conference for those of us working at the University of Nebraska…and of course to Nebraska Extension faculty as well.  My recommendation would be to sign up!

Here’s the link:  …You will need your TrueYou login to complete the registration!

Posted in Apps, Communication, marketing, New Audiences, Scholarship/Creative Work, Social Media, technology, Web-based Learning | Leave a comment

An Extension Educator’s Ultimate Guide to using OneNote

Microsoft OneNote is a powerful tool to organize instructional materials, utilize stylus-enabled devices to write notes, and disseminate materials between devices and to session participants. OneNote pages can include audio and video recordings, external videos, website links, pictures, text, file attachments, embedded Excel spreadsheets, and more! 

Clinician:Cassie Weitzenkamp, CPA, MPA
Instructor of Business (Accounting)
Peru State College, Peru, NE

Link to recording (Sorry forgot to hit record right away)


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The Front of the Boat: How to Create a Culture of Employee Engagement

Rachel Szelag and Becky Carter, IANR Human Resources Specialists discussed why investing in your employees is important, what employee engagement impacts, and starting action items to create your own empowering workplace culture.

Link to the recording

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Summer Melt

Great article this morning in the Chronicle of Higher Education on Summer Melt (link to the article). In Extension it’s not our direct mission to change the summer melt issue…but yet, my hypothesis is that Extension probably could be a significant factor in reducing summer melt.

Let me back up a bit and define summer melt.  Summer melt is the term used to describe the number of youth that may apply to attend a specific institute of higher education, and then, for some reason or another, never show up on campus. Some may be first generation college attendees and be overwhelmed with the amount of paperwork, rules, deadlines etc. that are precursors to actually attending college.  UNL has recently made steps to try to overcome the issues experienced by first generation college students. Others may not have a really good idea of where precisely they would like to go, or what they want to major in, and get overwhelmed by it all, or apply for multiple schools and are hanging on the option that their first choice will get back to them….and some will….however, some students throw in the towel when they don’t hear back from their first choice.

So this morning, in the Chronicle of Higher Education there was an article about how Georgia State is now using technology to help “personalize” the college bound summer before a students first year.  They call their system “Pounce”, after their mascot.  Their system is built upon the existing student system that maintains records about financial aid, tuition payments, housing payments etc., and sends text message reminders to students who have not yet finished tasks.  So, for instance, if a student has not yet paid their housing deposit, it would send just that student a text to remind them that the due date was coming up soon…..this is different from the systems employed by many post-secondary institutions which send text messages to everyone, whether they have completed the task or not.  The problem with the later is that students get overwhelmed when they receive too many communications from an institution, and then, these communications come off as impersonal.  The former system, since texts are not sent to those individuals who have completed tasks, appears much more personal….because it doesn’t make mistakes by reminding you to do something that you’ve already done.  Somehow the system knows what you are doing.  🙂

I suspect that Extension could aid in reducing summer melt. As members of our communities we know our kids well.  We know who in the family is facilitating getting the youth to school the first year….mom, dad, aunts, uncles. And, frequently we know when a family has sent off a tuition or housing payment because they are discussing it with us because they know that we are affiliated with UNL. I would think that would be helpful in reducing summer melt.

I wonder if anyone has ever done a research project to determine is 4-H youth are less likely to become victims of summer melt than non-4-H youth?  Wouldn’t that be interesting?  Maybe we should be sharing more of the administrative dates with our Extension staff so they can personally help with this issue?  Of course though, if I had those dates, I would probably sit down and set up a text message to go out to the youth in my area on a specific date…..ahh, without knowing what the students have done to date, I would be contributing to the overwhelming problem….except that, students in my area would see a text from me, someone they know!  Hmmm, more questions…now I’m wondering if it’s the personalization factor that is the influence?  If so, maybe we should be overlaying our messaging system not just with information about what has been done, but also with our 4-H database, so that current 4-Hers who enroll would receive automatic messages via their local extension office contacts?  🙂


Posted in Communication, Scholarship/Creative Work, student recruitment | Leave a comment

Automating Social Media

If you missed today’s webinar on Automating Social Media, taught by John Porter….you’re in luck….I remembered to record it!

Here’s the link to the PDF.

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10 Easy Strategies for Boosting Student Engagement

Just received an email announcing this webinar to boost student engagement.  The webinar will be held on March 8th at 11:30 – 1:00 CT.  For more information and to register Click Here.

Posted in Delivery Strategies, Teaching, technology | Leave a comment