I’m at a national conference, and while there, I’ve met and talked with tons of people from other states and had the opportunity to talk with plenty of people from Nebraska. Last night as I was thinking about some of these conversations, I had the epiphany that “People Can’t See Their Own Dirt”….let me explain.
Within our professions we expend a great deal of energy trying to fix problems. And, we also are able to quickly identify problems. When we are transferred to another county/state/position in Extension, we quickly can assess where these problems are, and are frustrated, perhaps even dumbfounded that the previous person at that position either didn’t identify the problem or either refused or was incapable in some way of addressing the problem. And yet, as we exited our initial position we also are able to identify issues that we weren’t able to address in the time that we were there. Why is it that as human beings we always think that someone else’s dirt is in someway dirtier? Why are we incapable of realizing that while we see someone else’s dirt, we have in someway created dirt in our wake too, and left it there for someone else to clean up?
Now I hope that you realize that I’m not talking about actual dirt…but rather tasks left undone, policies that changed and yet we were unable to shift the local stakeholders into accepting/embracing, stakeholders that we just couldn’t ever bring around to the level of contribution that they were capable of, companies that could have contributed to our mission etc. We all have dirt in our wake. I’m not asking people to contact me and point out all of my dirt…believe me, I’m fully aware of most of it, I’m sure. I guess I’m just hoping that we all are able to admit that we have left dirt in our wake, and perhaps not judge the person we are following quite so harshly OR be so paranoid about the person following us identifying our dirt and calling us out on it but instead being open to having a conversation about the dirt with the person following us (not stakeholders involved).
We all have made dirt…and well we all have different strengths, talents, and dirt. Instead of pointing fingers and whining, let’s work together toward cleaning it up.
I’ve been using Tableau for almost five years now…it’s a cool tool for us data geeks!
Tableau allows you to create excellent professional looking visualizations for all your data. While the full version would be expensive for any of us individually to afford, lucky for us it also has a free version, called Tableau Public. Free software does come with drawbacks…Tableau Public does allow other individuals access to your data sets…so make sure that whatever you are using it for does not divulge inappropriate information (ie client names/address/contact information).
Here’s a link to my Tableau Public profile. https://public.tableau.com/profile/ deb.weitzenkamp . While, you will quickly be able to identify that the visualizations I’ve created aren’t that spectacular by any means, it will give you an idea of how you might use it in Extension. I use it every year to show our impact splash of Applejack. We collect zip codes from Applejack participants, and Tableau has a built in function to plot it to the actual outlines of each zip code, and to shade it for density of records. While it isn’t a complete data set as we don’t ever get 100% of the people in attendance to give us their zip code…probably closer to 20%…but a sampling. It is however a very quick way to see what type of participation you have in Extension programming in your accountability region….and to visualize if you are offering programming in a uniform way across your accountability region.
Another key feature of Tableau is that it comes with a lot of government data sets. If you are looking at how your data compares to census data, you can overlay census data. Geographic data, census data, or USGS data sets. In addition you can connect to your own data sources like Fitbit, Twitter, Facebook etc.
Similar to my 2015 Youth Livestock Project Participation Viz, I would be an advocate for a statewide Nebraska Extension Impact Tableau dataset, so we could quickly, and conveniently share with stakeholders what type of programming was occurring in each county (contributions by all educators/assistants to a Google form with programming area, year/date, zip code of offering, and number of participants) would be something that could be embedded on our webpages. Wouldn’t that be a cool, efficient use of Extension time/financial resources!
Check it out by signing up for an account. Enjoy!!!!
Here’s a little tech tip for those of you working with online systems that require individual email accounts for every participant. Systems require unique email accounts in order to see each registrant as unique and to keep their records uniquely theirs. So, here’s a tip of how to help families who are working within those systems, but don’t want to sign up for yet another email account. It’s called the +Email account system. It works for many of the email providers.
To explain a bit deeper. If you have an email account, say, firstname.lastname@example.org, and you need to set up children, spouses, aunt and uncle or whoever on a system that the original account holder (ie email@example.com) is already in, then you can use the +feature. To add another person to a system, but use the same email account, you could use firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com, or firstname.lastname@example.org or all of the above. As long as you don’t add spaces between your + sign and the alpha numeric characters you add on to it, you have unlimited emails all using the same email account. All of these +email accounts would come into the same email manager (Outlook) as the original email.
It doesn’t work with all email providers though. I’ve noticed that some of the smaller email providers block the the +email feature. So, if in doubt, try an email to the +email account you are thinking about setting up before you actually use it. It won’t bounce back if the original email (in this case email@example.com) is valid. It will however appear as a separate email account for most web-based services…allowing you to use one email account for multiple people within the same system.
This is an awesome solution for parents who don’t want to set up an email account for their child, or want to be able to monitor any emails their child is receiving.
Note, since all of these come into the original account, this does not work as a junk email account. …You will want to set up a separate email account for all of those things you want to sign up for but not give the email account that you actually monitor. You can however, use it with a junk email account, if you want to sign up multiple people using the same junk email account.
Hope this helps you support families in the work that we do!
Okay…that’s kind of a weird title for a blog…but it’s true. Sometimes you are working in a world where you are juggling a lot of balls….but remember only one of the balls is a glass ball….the rest are rubber and will bounce if you drop them. …And yet, even if you know what the glass ball is, you are thinking about all the existing rubber balls and what you think is going to be the next rubber ball. I do this a lot.
For the last couple of months, we have had our 3D printers on hold as we were having printing issues with both of them. We were getting close to a deadline date where we were wanting to showcase the 3D printers and what we were able to do with 4-Hers and the 3D printers this past summer. Nothing like a deadline to get you to identify your glass ball (if you don’t get the glass ball reference, watch the NGE recording from Callie Ward). Anyway, I had spent a lot of time on rubber balls, that quite frankly no one but me would have noticed if they had dropped. And, yesterday, I intentionally dropped a rubber ball…notifying the educator that had identified the rubber ball that I was going to drop it! …But other than the couple of minutes it took me to identify that one rubber ball, and intentionally drop it, yesterday and today, I spent my time focused on the glass ball….the malfunctioning 3D printers.
Normally I’m not completely mechanically inept…but these 3D printers had me stumped. I had had both units completely pulled apart, cleaned the hobb gear/extrusion nozzle/print surface…..everything I could think of being the problem, and even worked on some things I was sure weren’t the problem….just to rule them out. I had success with the first 3D printer just before lunch today, after having the brainstorm of swapping the filament stepper motors from the two 3D printers after I realized I could push filament through while it was printing and it would work perfectly. So swapped the stepper motor on the filament thinking it must have went bad. Success! One down, one to go. I put what I thought was the malfunctioning stepper in the second printer, carefully checked all connectors, stepper motors, fan connections etc., and am currently printing out a 3D print that well….looks perfect! I don’t know how swapping the stepper motor between 3D printers made it work…could have been I didn’t have the electrical supply plugged in completely, or I had it reversed, or something….but regardless, I’ll take the win!
Here’s hoping that today you identified your glass ball and were able to focus sufficiently (ignore the rubber balls) to be rewarded with success! Tonight I’ll take some time to identify the next glass ball!!!!
As Extension professionals, we should use the excellence indicators to guide our approaches to our work. If we’re in tune to these indicators, we’re also prepared for local emergencies and disasters that impact our communities and clients. Join this NGE webinar to learn what you need to know about making the connection between Excellence in Extension and disaster education.
Ashley is a statewide Extension Educator for Nebraska Extension. Her focus area is disaster education, and in cooperation with county Extension offices, she helps Nebraskans prepare for and recover from extreme weather and disasters.
Join us on Zoom at https://nebraskaextension.zoom.us/j/583999580 on October 9th at 10:00 Central Time.
Next Generation Extension is all about professional development….this one however is a bit more specific to youth educators.
Join this Train the Trainer Code Camp and learn how to help youth excel at problem solving in all subject areas! This class is for anyone interested in teaching youth to code in a fun and easy program. Code Camp training and computer access can be perfect for after school programs, youth organizations, library programs and classrooms. If you can read, you can code in this game environment! Youth learn to code while developing skills to promote critical thinking, creativity, persistence and logic .
Training will be held Wednesday, September 5, 2018 from 6:30 to 8:30 pm at the Douglas-Sarpy County Extension Office, 8015 W. Center Rd., Omaha, NE 68124. The class will be taught by D r. Deb Weitzenkamp, Nebraska Extension STEM Youth Development Educator.
Fee: $10 per person
Please register in advance!
To download a Code Camp registration form (pdf, 511 kb)
For more information, contact Dr. Deb Weitzenkamp at 402-873-3166 or firstname.lastname@example.org or Euwanda Jennings at 402-444-7898 or email@example.com.