NDSU Extension Innovation


NDSU Extension Innovation

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Virtual Escape Rooms - Innovation Coffee Break, July 16, 2020

Virtual Escape Rooms? Yes, David Ripplinger, Agribusiness and Applied Economics, and Lindsey Leker, 4-H Youth Development, adapted these interactive, fun activities into an online environment.

Learn how they did it – and how you can, too.


Innovation Coffee Break – Virtual Escape Rooms – July 16, 2020

21 participants

Lindsey Leker, 4-H Youth Development Specialist -- Science

Lindsey got into breakout boxes a couple years ago and had youth make escape rooms at virtual camp this summer. When COVID hit, she didn’t have much time to plan virtual camp, but it was easy to develop and went very well.

She uses https://www.breakoutedu.com/. Many Extension staff have BreakoutEDU codes from volunteer training. Others can get a code from Lindsey since she has grant funds.

She used Zoom for virtual camp and shared a photo of Cloverbuds in action. She often uses breakout rooms for smaller groups of youth working together. The kids mainly want social interaction and don’t care if something goes wrong. Always play the game yourself before doing it with kids.

BreakoutEDU started with a kit, and the kit provides games to do in person with kids. Digital games started a year ago or so, but really geared up after COVID. Platform access needed for digital games, and a kit is not required. Digital is $100 for a year.

Games + additional resources are on the platform, which is like the home page. Student Digital Game Design Course is used for youth to make their own games. Most are geared to upper elementary and middle school. Most games are created by educators – “curriculum” since meet educational standards. Can search for games based on topic, subject, grade level, etc.

Lindsey clicked on Science and showed topics and grade level to sort by. Breakout Camp was ages 8-13 so she did 3rd – 8th grade games, but levels vary so need to test. Choose a filter to find games that don’t require physical kits or in person work.

If you need to break into locks, contact Lindsey.

Youth don’t need to purchase to participate. She has sign-up instructions for students. Students who were in camp can go back and play again. She tried to develop teamwork and collaboration in the breakout rooms rather than playing on their own so she shared her screen. She said you need breakout rooms for more than 10 kids or so – hers were 4 to 5 in each breakout room, each with a leader. Then they’d come back together to talk about how it went and what they learned.

The website includes BreakoutEDU + Zoom hints.

Lindsey demonstrated a couple ag-related games and Zombie Outbreak: The Beginning, which has a Halloween theme for team building.

You can decide if a time limit and which kinds of locks you want and if they’re sequential or not. Sometimes it’s hard for kids to read shared screen. If they’re having trouble, give hints or have them Google.

Dave Ripplinger, Bioproducts/Bioenergy Economist

Dave and his wife went to Fargo Escape Room on their anniversary and had a blast, so he thought he could do something like this that’s educational.

First attempt: breakout box with series of puzzles, clues with physical locks of various types, covering a breadth of corn ethanol trivia, demonstration and a chance to educate

Answers are in the physical or digital box so participants don’t have to know answers. He wanted to do a physical breakout box first, but with COVID he had to quickly go digital.

He created Breakout: Biofuels! It didn’t take long to put together. Once he realized people were programming in Google Sites, it made sense. In about 6 hours, he put together his first draft, imitating good examples from teachers who have done these. Development is very intuitive. He framed the learning in a story. Have locks and participants have to find clues. They have to explore and click on things that might be new to them. In his, they can click on a photo and get a short lesson: game, video, chart, jigsaw puzzle, etc. Use various apps and drop into Google Site. Not just reading – activities. If answer is correct, it looks you move forward.

Dave shared it with the Corn Council and Ethanol Council.

His Extension Youth Conference pilot used Zoom with breakout rooms, for junior high to college freshman, about 15 students in four groups. There were connections between clues and locks were not obvious. Puzzles were independent and did not rely on completion of previous puzzles. You don’t want the answer to be obvious but also don’t want it to be too simple.

If activities are sequential and you don’t get the right answer, you’re done. It’s not successful education if participants struggle and give up.

Revised for virtual 4-H camp – subject matter stayed the same but revised a few puzzles and went from one page with 9 puzzles to 3 pages with 3-4 puzzles each. Younger kids wanted the answer, so he pointed them to the correct puzzle rather than just giving them the answer.

Participants who didn’t have the right Zoom couldn’t get into breakout rooms.

Lessons learned:

  • Follow good educational design methods – start with learning objectives and subject matter content – not just have fun
  • Consider participants’ abilities
  • Puzzles have to be about subject matter
  • Use a variety of puzzles for different types of thinkers and communication styles
  • Use as part of a larger educational program to make sure everything is covered and assessed – debrief
  • Make it the right level – challenging but achievable
  • Use a story
  • Build numerous variations for different ages, in-depth material

All you need to know is your subject matter – then it flows. He hasn’t done a formal evaluation yet and is going to teach K-12 teachers how to do this. There’s already a community of educators who share ideas. A great resource is https://www.thinglink.com/.


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More Innovation Grants Featured in Feb. 20, 2020 Coffee Break

This Innovation Coffee Break features more Innovation Grant Reports. Dave Ripplinger talks about the Powering the Red River Valley and data visualization grants, and Julie Garden-Robinson shares information about the grant for training volunteers to teach food and nutrition.

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Innovation Grants Featured in Jan. 30, 2020 Coffee Break

More than a year ago, several teams were selected for innovation grants to develop and carry out innovative programming. This Innovation Coffee Break gave those teams an opportunity to share what they’ve done.

We heard from:

  • #adulting – Stacy Wang and Carrie Johnson
  • 4-H marketing videos – Caroline Homan
  • Parent and Family Resource Center cart cards and more – Kim Bushaw

Session Notes:

Three teams that received 2018-19 innovation grants from program leaders shared their projects. 

#adulting  Carrie Johnson, Nikki Johnson, Stacy Wang 

They trained six peer educators (NDSU students) who reached 106 additional college students. This allowed the program to reach more than the three of them could. Their spring pop-up event reached 274 more with six interactive tables. Also, the peer educators set up contact tables in the Union and reached an additional 70 students. 

In addition to the six peer educators, they trained 17 Extension agents and 31 FACS teachers. All reached 616 participants, with 450 by the peer educators. They also developed off-campus partnerships. Social media was a big part of the program with 81,277 reaches and 3,355 engagements. In their survey, 70% said they were confident or very confident in their ability to launder clothing after a lesson, 73% to safely prepare a healthy snack, 58% in their ability to create a budget and track income/expenses, and 60% in their ability to find a rental property that fit their needs and budget. 

This program can be used for juniors and seniors in high school or younger college. The six lessons can be used separately. Caroline used it with high school seniors at an event that already was happening. Nikki learned that chalk really does get out oil stains. 

Training the peer educators was more innovative. Five were FACS ed majors and one ag ed, so they got practice teaching. They went through the program then they went into groups. They were paid a stipend for each activity they completed. The spring pop-up was a fun event and unexpected success. They’d planned for 100 and had 270. Participants had to complete activities to gain knowledge and win prizes. 

4-H Marketing Videos – Caroline Homan, Sue Milender, Cindy Klapperich, Alicia Harstad 

In counties, agents often feel overwhelmed with how to consistently and creatively meet the needs of 4-H families. New families often don’t know what to expect. This team developed four videos and several Powtoons to help onboard new 4-H families. These provide info when families are ready to receive it. 

The videos are linked from the 4-H home page. They had creative names for the videos but went back to clear descriptions. The videos quickly describe what 4-H is and how families can participate to get great experiences. They meet needs of individual children and provide a snapshot of different ways to approach 4-H. The videos are targeted at adult audiences, but they see kids engaged. The Powtoons are more for kids with youth voices and caricatures that dig into how-to’s. The videos help agents have a one-stop shop to share with families – those enrolled and those considering. They’re trying to reach a diverse audience. 

Scott and Caroline shared short segments of one video and one Powtoon. Their challenge was to have the videos educational but not overwhelming. Brad Cogdill added financial support beyond the grant for more videos. The team wrote the scripts then they were reviewed by Brad, specialists, 4-H families and non4-H families. The project was incredibly time consuming. The videos are on YouTube, but please direct people to get to them from the 4-H home page. The videos are voiceovers so they can change out photos as 4-H’ers age without having to re-edit audio. Team members wrote the storyboards then Scott animated the Powtoons. Videos are combo of Scott shooting and agents providing videos and still photos. They’re still finalizing some of the pieces so haven’t revealed widely yet.  

Parent and Family Resource Centers Marketing – Kim Bushaw 

Her grant was for $3,500 to market the six PFRCs in the network. 

They developed cart cards for kids and food fun for families posters with the same content. PFRC staff are distributing cart cards to grocery stores to market the PFRCs where families go – grocery shopping. The cards are printed on the indestructible paper in Print and Copy Services so cost about $16 per set. 

Their grant also funded Setting Bedtime and Screen Limits videos. The first part of each is education and the last minute is marketing PFRCs. Coordinators also have used them with advisory groups, at conferences, etc. After they developed the storyboard, they realized it was too long so split it in half. See www.ag.ndsu.edu/pen though someone said they had trouble finding the PFRC website. 

Kim also refreshed their website with Kelli and Sonja, and with Ag Comm created an infographic to show the importance of PFRCs. A student made two Powtoons. 

They’ve gotten great feedback from advisory board members, and reached both parents and decision makers. 

Notes by Becky Koch

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Innovation Coffee Break - September 12, 2019

NDSU Extension/REC Fall Conference committee members answer questions and get feedback on the Issue-based Innovation Work that will be the focus of this year's conference.

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Innovation Coffee Break - August 22, 2019

A conversation about small group facilitation and education. Abbey Wick shared information about Soil Health Cafe Talks, and Ashley Ueckert talked about how she brings specialists online to share information with a small group in Golden Valley County.

Kim Bushaw shared the following facilitation resource:
"An excellent resource for dealing with difficult participants as well as many other topics is "Who Me Lead a Group?" by Jean Illsley Clarke"

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Innovation Coffee Break - June 20, 2019

In this month's Coffee Breadiscuss using the Lean Process for planning in Extension. In the book, “We’ve Tried That Before: 500 Years of Extension Wisdom,” Utah State Extension agent Paul Hill shared the attached diagram of the Lean Process adapted for Extension.

Lean Process

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Our Very First Innovation Coffee Break: How To Say "No"

In the book, "We've Tried That Before," Paul Hill writes:

"When you say, “I don’t have time,” this phrase actually means, “this isn’t important enough to me,” or “I don’t want to stop doing X to start doing Y.” Saying “I don’t have time” always means something else. Time is fixed. Time is a nonrenewable resource. However, unlike other resources, time is replenished every second.

Learn to say “No” so you can say “Yes.” Say “No” to busy work. Say “No” to work that produces average outcomes. Say “Yes” to work that makes an impact."

But how do we learn to start saying "no"? Let's start figuring that out together at the very first Innovation Coffee Break, Thursday, April 18, at 3 p.m. CDT.

Image from We've Tried That Before, Justin Jenkins, illustrator

Here are some resources to help get you thinking and get our conversation started.

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Tech Coffee Break - December 13, 2018

This Tech Coffee Break is a behind-the-scenes look at hosting a tweet-up. NDSU Extension Innovation Team hosted this #EdTechLN tweet-up on Twitter. #EdTechLN tweet-ups bring together Extension professionals from across the nation to discuss technology and innovation. The theme of the Tweet-up was “The Year in #CoopExt Tech and Innovation.”

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Tech Coffee Break - October 8, 2018

NDSU Senior Security Analyst, Jeff Gimbel, joined us for a discussion on data security.

Encryption at NDSU slides (PDF)

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