Session: Teaching and Learning Session

Teaching and Learning

  • Things people are interested in:

    • What’s the right tool for the job, how to get started, best practices

    • How to move analysis to the cloud

    • Participatory learning

    • Hear what is needed so educators can develop the right curricula

    • Remote sensing, spatial data

    • Running workshops

    • GOAT could act as a user-support system with people who can interface with farmers and provide customer support for open-source tools, create a regional network of expert users

    • Mini-hackathon to build sensor kits and tie that into STEM curricula for high schoolers or 4H

    • Teaching technology to the next generation

    • Professional development

    • Building modules for Ag Business

    • Software development

    • Teaching farmers to use new technology tools

    • “Demo-thon” for providers of technology to showcase their technology

    • Bring technology elements into agricultural educational programs and vice-versa bringing agriculture elements into tech programs

Train the Trainers - sub-group

  • Who are the trainers? E.g. Extension agents

    • Bring open source tools to these “trainers”

    • Build a community of practice

  • Curricula development

    • Case study: Land access education

      • Beginning farmers didn’t have a fixed curriculum for land access education

      • USDA Beginning Farmer + Rancher grant

      • Created education materials and classes, which are then used to train trainers to bring this information to farmers

    • Identify how much information is available as a first step

      • How do you get your product out there

      • What is available attached to

  • Types of documentation

    • Technical documentation

      • Text

        • Different languages
      • Quality illustrations

      • Interactive visuals

      • Videos

    • Quality of technical illustration

      • Older manuals do it well

      • More information such as “exploded parts diagrams” needed for open source technology

      • Find partnerships to bring quality technical illustration into documentation

    • More “basic” documentation

      • Identifying the knowledge that people currently have and communicating appropriately (torque specifications in trucks for example, were communicated in a different way in the past)
    • Youtube videos as a source of demonstrating how to do things

    • IFixit for GOATech, Farmhack Instructables are great

    • Existing tools for making training materials:

      • Comic life: software for making cartoons, take photographs and put speech bubbles on them (

      • Panopto: licensed software for making online videos, screen demos, presentations

      • Moovly: make an animated video with a voice-over

    • Importance of maintenance:

      • Training materials have to be up-to-date
    • Websites for finding alternative software or platform:

  • Technology shifts and transitions

    • How do you get people to change the way that they have always done things to something that may be more efficient but comes with a learning curve?

    • Small veggie farms using Excel for crop planning instead of FarmOS

    • Cultural ideas of what is work is changing - before, there was a divide between conceptual versus physical work and now there is more and more conceptual work required before you can even start a tractor for example.

    • Barriers include fearing that open source tools will no longer be around or supported in the future

      • Need more marketers to bring about common adoption

      • Trainers have to show interest in open source

    • Have to overcome fear of risk as farmer’s livelihoods rely on this

    • Need ethnography to understand how farmer’s adopt new technology

      • Case study: From Gwyn’s work with farmers in Zimbabwe - identifying “lighthouse customers” who were social connectors or in a position of social influence in the community who then drew other new customers who watched the technology being used on that lighthouse customer’s farm.
  • Opportunity in developing markets

    • Open source is cheaper than proprietary software

    • Stronger prevalence of DIY, mechanical knowledge and repair skills

      • Case Study: Car repair shops in Swame Magazine, Ghana

# Training the Farmers

Notes by Jamie Gaehring:

reinventing extension programs
how do we convince farmers that we’re useful
hosting a GOAT event at regional Ag expos

What do ag extensions do?
The ones that work well, have relationships with farmers and the community, host events, ed-oriented, some commercial propaganda too
GOAT could have a presence in terms of what role data could have in those events

Does GOAT need to have a physical presence?

  • provide a curriculum

Who do you train?

  • crop advisors
  • farm managers
  • farm workers

Bringing GOAT with us in our other roles, as we go to events etc.

Establishing an informal network of people we can reach out to for support, and more formal networks can emerge out of that

What do we want the Farmer to know?

  • awareness that the tools are available
  • the problems our tools solve
  • what’s the ROI?
  • educating on data’s general potential & usefulness
  • who can they ask/trust when they’re ready to adopt but don’t know how to start or what the options are
  • standard operating procedure for adoption
  • know what are the latest trends and innovators in the field
  • what success have other farmers had with this tech?
  • what are the common state of technology for Government, Farmers and Researchers

How do we teach to the problem at hand, rather than teaching to the tool?

GOAT could provide a repository of general information:

  • case studies
  • tools available
  • a “virtual” extension
  • forums (not yet; needs an active user-base first)
  • point of contact (post a comment, question or issue)
  • documenting problems as we encounter and solve them

SEO is important