Five Innovation Grants Awarded for 2017

Five projects have been selected from more than 90 proposals submitted for funding through the eXtension Foundation Innovation Lab. The projects span many of the topics highlighted in the recent Horizon Report 2016-2021 Cooperative Extension Edition and range from Makers, to geospatial technology, drones, Internet of Things, and more. Read expanded descriptions of these projects…

Empowering Extension to make decisions with spatial data using the National Extension Web-mapping Tool

Shane Bradt, UNH Cooperative ExtensionShane Bradt, University of New Hampshire

The goal of the National Extension Web-mapping Tool (NEWT), created during a previous eXtension Innovation grant, is to increase the effective use of spatial data to make strategic decisions regarding planning and programming in the Cooperative Extension System (CES). NEWT is a straightforward online tool for exploring spatial data relevant to CES in the ways which CES staff and administrators find useful, including maps, tables, and graphs.

BeeWise: 4-H STEAM Pueblo project to create Internet of Things beehives to collect and analyze data for citizen science

jane craytonJane Crayton, Colorado State University

BeeWise aims to create a robust beekeeping program which integrates quality STEM education with Maker Ed, Internet of Things (IoT), and Citizen Science. The BeeWise program will engage new beekeepers with the technology and education to successfully manage their apiaries. Several schools with FFA programs have discussed housing their own bee colonies. Additionally, the BeeWise program aims to educate the general public on pollinators and allow the public to interact with the apiary locally using an iPad Kiosk or the internet.

4-H BioBand Fitness Tracker to Combine Maker Education, Data Science, Fitness, and Wearable Tech

robert hortonRobert Horton, The Ohio State University

The project features a first-of-its-kind 4-H BioBand Fitness Tracker kit with Arduino microcontroller connecting heart rate, physical activity, and temperature with capabilities of operating within the structure of the internet. The project team envisions demystifying for youth the basic principles of technology design and data collection that can then be utilized and applied as Data Scientists to examine their own fitness behavior, customize their Bio-Band’s data input to fit their physical profile, and compare their experiences with others.

Expansion of 4-H Ohio pilot-tested Maker Festivals and Tech Wizards to rural areas in multiple states

Mark Light, The Ohio State University

In 2006, the first Maker Faire was started in the San Francisco Bay area for makers to share with each other in a public venue. Because Extension is in every state and in most counties, we are equipped to grow this movement into more rural communities. 4-H Making Festivals will combine the best of the maker movement with hands-on-learning. Extension staff will plan and implement five festivals and include youth from the STEM-focused 4-H Tech Wizards after-school program. These festivals will be replicated across the nation and at additional sites in Ohio, Pennsylvania, Kentucky, and Indiana.

Integrating small unmanned aerial systems and precision agriculture with beef production systems

John McGeeJohn McGee, Virginia Tech

The small unmanned aerial systems (sUAS) regulatory landscape changed dramatically with the FAA’s revisions that took place over the summer, 2016. As a result of these regulatory changes, Virginia Cooperative Extension (VCE) has been developing in-house expertise to support sUAS applications across program areas, including precision agriculture and small beef production systems. Using information from this project, we will be able to refine future programming efforts that can be used to support agricultural producers not only across the state but in other regions of the U.S. and beyond.

eXtension Foundation Innovation Grants

Expect to hear more soon about the work and accomplishments of past innovation grant projects and how they can be applied to programming across the Cooperative Extension System. Innovation grants are open to members of eXtension Foundation premium member institutions. The eXtension Foundation Innovation Lab works to identify and support these projects in order to provide inspiration and proven models for other innovative educators.

To learn more about the Innovation Lab, the grants, or to connect with other Extension innovators, contact Jerry Thomas, Paul Hill, or Jamie Seger