PBL vs. Projects to Enhance Learning

Great article today in Creative Educator.  This article, although somewhat lacking in grammar, punctuation & spelling, was excellent at explaining the differences between assigning projects and coaching learners through project based learning (PBL) experiences.

I’m a big believer in project based learning (PBL)….use it every year with our First Lego League (FLL) teams.  FLL does an excellent job though of setting up the project portion of FLL to be project based learning.  Love that PBL encourages learners to take ownership in their learning and to learn at a much deeper level than just assigning a project, and to work at a level that helps find solutions for real-world problems and gives back to their communities.

If you are looking for methods to enhance the engagement in your issue team, or are looking at ways your issue team can make big strides in impact….check out this article and write a comment.  We would love to hear how you are currently using project based learning or ways your team could incorporate project based learning in the work that you do to make a huge impact in the lives of Nebraskans!

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Student Recruitment/Know Your Audience

Today in the Chronicle of Higher Education there was an excellent article about student recruitment.  One paragraph in particular spoke to me…..

Maybe that sounds ridiculous. Or maybe colleges are generally bad at listening.  Most students Longmire surveyed said colleges cared more about touting their offerings than understanding potential matriculants.  “That’s a damning indictment of where colleges place their focus in recruiting”,  says Bob Longmire, the company’s president.  “If all someone did on a date was talk about themselves, you probably wouldn’t go on a second date.”

I found this particular paragraph interesting because I think it demonstrates what many of us have discussed regarding Nebraska Extension’s marketing materials.  Our best marketing comes from writing/delivery methods that focus on the end clientele….not necessarily how awesome we are….even though we are awesome!  🙂

The researchers in this article go on to say that the best marketing advice comes from listening…that through listening intently, we can create a very valuable feedback loop.  Through that feedback loop we can develop strategies to reach out to and that speak to potential matriculants.

I believe that this same marketing concept is very applicable to Nebraska Extension.  If we focus our marketing on what participants have to gain by involving themselves, vs. marketing the number of years we’ve been around, or that we’ve reached thousands (which the end clientele either immediately will feel part of a group, or feel excluded), then I believe we have moved toward developing a concept of individualized marketing plans….or as Chuck would say “the Amazon experience”.


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So Many Apps, So Little Time Webinar Video and Handout

smartphone-1283938_1920In this Next Generation Extension webinar, Nebraska Extension Educator Connie Fisk shared 25 of her favorite apps and websites to make your job easier or more fun. Learn more about:

  • Conducting polls with a smart phone and showing results in a PowerPoint slide
  • Using your phone as a clicker when showing PowerPoints
  • Making movies with apps
  • And … 22 more apps!

Following is a video of the live webinar and the handout from the webinar …

Continue reading

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So Many Apps, So Little Time Webinar


How to access the webinar

Why you should attend

Did you know that there are over 2.2 million apps available for Apple devices and over 2.8 million apps available for Android devices? Chances are you only have a handful of these on your smartphone because, let’s face it, we’re busy educating, not playing on our phones.


Presenter, Connie Fisk

In this webinar, Connie Fisk will introduce you to applications available on your smartphone that you can use to make your social media posts, web resources, and even face-to-face programming pop! Come prepared to share your favorite smartphone apps and how you use them in Extension.

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NGE Extension Hacks Webinar

Next Generation Extension is planning on hosting a creative new webinar….one focused on life hacks (quick tips) for Extension employees.  Here’s how it will work….every five minutes a different presenter will present one life hack that they have found useful within Extension.

The webinar will take place on December 12th at 10:00 AM CT.  If you have a life hack you are willing to share with Extension, please shoot me a title for your 5 minute presentation.  To avoid unnecessary technology issues, all documents (PowerPoints, Videos, Websites, etc.) should be emailed to Deb Weitzenkamp by December 1st.  We’ll have a practice run on December 5th at 10:00 AM CT (Open to presenters only).

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9 Resources for Infographics

If you are looking for a few free resources to help you create a great infographic, here’s a few that I’ve used.  I can’t say that there is one that I like better than all others…only that each has it’s value, depending upon what you want to accomplish.

Venngage – Allows you to create a dashboard of multiple infographics on one page.  Has a variety of graphics templates, color themes and charts.

Piktochart – Piktochart & Venngage or very similar.  Each has it’s own set of graphs, color themes and templates.


Canva Infographic Maker


Google Developers


Dipity – Helps you develop visually engaging timelines

Get About – Helps you visualize your social media impact.




Posted in marketing, Social Media, Web-based Learning | Tagged , | Leave a comment


Okay…that was sort of a blunt title….but hopefully it got your attention. This week I’ve been on the blunt end of some sexist comments….so thought hey, I’ll make lemonade from those lemons and use the occurrences as a teachable moment and to jump start a conversation.  After all, I have discussed both of them with my trusted advisors (my family), and well, the perception of whether what happened was sexist or not was divided based upon gender….so…..I’m asking for you all to weigh-in on the discussion.

Incident 1:
In my area of Nebraska, Saturday was a beautiful day.  My daughter, husband, and I decided that it was a perfect day for a long walk.  We walked from our house to a state park.  Toward the end of our four mile walk, a pickup pulled up alongside of us.  The older gentleman (admittedly an ageist comment) rolled down the passenger side window and said to my husband…..”You know if you got your woman a job, you would be able to afford a vehicle and then you could drive wherever you were going.”

My response was total disgust.  First of all, my husband would never be so presumptuous as to assume that he called the shots on any decisions with regard to my career.  Secondly, the decades are long since over when there was a hierarchy within a marriage….and admittedly, my perception of the comment influenced my perception of how old this guy was.  My husbands response was that it wasn’t that big of a deal.  My daughters response to my husband was that “so it’s okay if my fiance wants to make my career choices once we are married in the fall.”  …And, well the conversation fueled us getting home much quicker.  At the time, I had a lot of sarcastic responses…of which none were actually said.  What really happened though was that my husband just nodded his head acknowledging he had heard the guy, and my daughter and I memorized the license plate!  I don’t know what that is going to do for us….but still four days later I could tell you the license plate number of that pickup.

Incident 2:

This incident was much more subtle….and in my opinion, no real sexism was intended.  You see for many years the whole Miss/Mrs has bugged me.  I basically thought, and still think, it isn’t anyone’s business at work whether I am married or not married…..but yet the Ms. designation seemed like I was on a mission to prove something…and I can’t say that I’m that willing to pick up that banner and protest.  It just seems like women are being asked to share a lot more about their personal lives than their male counterparts.  For men….they will be Mr. _________ their entire lives, no matter what personal decisions they make.

I was however very excited when I earned my Ph.D., because now I could be Dr. instead of Miss or Mrs or Ms. because a Ph.D. is gender neutral!!!  Finally, an honorific that is based upon my academic/career achievements rather than on my personal decisions.  But, then, a career choice to hold a position where those with a Dr. aren’t introduced in their posts as Dr. __  ….but rather Mrs./Mr. ___.  There are lots of “reasons” that this is the practice in my profession….but it still makes my skin crawl when at academic conferences or presentations, the men in the group are introduced as Dr. ____ and the women as well either Miss/Mrs. or by first and last name.  My workaround for this used to be to just avoid the honorific and use first and last names for everyone.  Then the decision to move to an office where the only other full time woman stationed there has the same first name.  Now I typically go by Dr. first name because my last name is hard for kids to pronounce/write/remember.  This decision drives my daughter nuts….she thinks that my using my first name instead of my last name, and allowing others to call me Dr. first name, I’m not requiring the same respect as my male counterparts which use Dr. last name.

Men see being introduced as Mr. ___ as a sign of respect.  My perspective is that if you introduce me as Mrs. ____ …..well why don’t you hand out my social media passwords while your at it.  From my perspective, it’s not respectful…it’s just invasive.  And, if you introduce me as Mrs. _____, I’m probably immediately thinking about ways to work into my public presentation a question for you to reveal personal facts about you.  Thank goodness my professionalism usually curtails my instinct to point out your sexism in public.  I’ve seen my female colleagues responses to this type of situation, and they usually try to “laugh it off”….but in conversations afterwards, I can tell you that the last thing that a woman is doing while “laughing it off” is laughing it off….there is a different laugh in response to these situations.

Today I was asked to sign some certificates as Mrs. _______.  At a glance it didn’t bother me….but I can tell you that it’s been a long time, perhaps ever, that I’ve signed anything as Mrs. ______ .  It reminds me of my parents signing checks.  My dad always just signed with his first and last name….my mom with Mrs. _______.  It took me longer to decide whether I would just sign the certificates with my first and last name, or to put the Mrs. on there, or to disregard what name was typed on there and sign it with Dr. ____, than it did for me to actually sign the pile of certificates. After all…some of these certificates are being awarded to female children whom I’m trying to show that they have equitable access to STEM careers. My actions however were to just sign Mrs. ____ and return the pile of certificates to my workshop partner….I said nothing….but now, here I am writing this post.

Wow….can we just get rid of all the sexist honorifics already….we (almost) got rid of checks!!!!  Both of which, if you ask me, are changes that should have occurred decades ago!!!!  And, let’s face it, if someone earns a doctorate it’s the North Central Coordinating Commission that determines the rigors of the program and whether it’s candidates have earned a doctorate, not whether upon completion the graduate is a male or female.  In my opinion, all earned doctorates should be able to use the honorific of Dr. and should be addressed accordingly.

Your thoughts?????

Posted in Communication | 2 Comments