News Newsroom

TWO Impact Collaborative Events for eXtension Members – August 2020

For August 2020, eXtension’s Impact Collaborative program has two exciting opportunities for eXtension members. Register today to reserve your spot!

Impact Collaborative Innovation Skill-Building Experience Online

August 4, 6, 11, & 13
1:00 PM – 2:30 PM ET
Available to eXtension Members Only

Join us next month for an online Innovation Skill-Builidng Experience (ISBE). The ISBE has been revised with a new block format, fresh content, new activities, and new worksheets to meet the evolving needs of Cooperative Extension professionals. If you’ve participated in an ISBE before, you’ll find new online tools to support your virtual collaboration, checklists to determine where to best focus your energy, and improved methods for documenting progress.

Do you have a project idea that needs incubation, innovation, and ways to get to implementation and impact faster? Are you looking to learn about design thinking and lean experimentation combined with Cooperative Extension’s best practices for solving important community issues? Are you interested in becoming an Innovation Facilitator/Coach for future Impact Collaborative events and to support your institution’s teams and teams across the nation? Are you already an Innovation Facilitator or a team member who would like a refresher on the Innovation Skill-Building process?

If you answered yes, to any of these questions then join us to explore the Impact Collaborative’s Innovation Skill-building experience in a whole new way: The ISBE  will meet via Zoom for four sessions covering specific ISBE building blocks to spark ideas, increase innovation, and turbocharge implementation to ultimately create local impact.


Impact Collaborative Innovation Facilitator Training

August 17, 19, 21, 24, 26, & 28
1:00 PM ET – 3:00 PM ET
Available to eXtension Members Only

Become an Innovation Facilitator. The Impact Collaborative’s network of Innovation Facilitators are trained to provide individuals with a new way of looking at program and project development to help new and existing programs across your states and institutions identify gaps in their planning, ensure they are most ready for implementation, and have explored all considerations to maximize local impact.  With the updates to our Innovation Skill-Building Experience including the new block format, content, activities, and worksheets – we also encourage previously trained Innovation Facilitators to join us.

Locally trained Innovation Facilitators can be an asset in helping teams develop their projects or programs more quickly, and connect those teams with resources available nationally. They can work locally with teams through our design-thinking process to bring fresh ideas aligned with institutional goals.

There are currently 120+ Innovation Facilitators across Cooperative Extension working locally to catalyze innovation in their own states and institutions, and supporting Extension teams regionally and nationally.

Who Should Participate?

Our recommendations to Extension Directors and Administrators for selecting individuals to participate include:

  • Individuals such as a program leaders
  • Individuals that work closely with your leadership team
  • Already possess strong confidence in facilitation skills
  • Can be effective in working alongside leadership teams and other program leaders to catalyze innovation throughout the organization.


About the eXtension Foundation

The eXtension Foundation is a membership-based non-profit designed to be the engine fueling U.S. Cooperative Extension’s advancement in making a more visible and measurable impact in support of education outreach from land-grant universities/colleges located in every state and territory. eXtension is embedded in the U.S. Cooperative Extension System and serves on the Extension Committee on Organization and Policy (ECOP). eXtension provides an array of opportunities for Extension professionals that foster innovation creation, the adoption of innovations at member institutions, and increased impact of Extension programs. This work is supported by your membership dollars and funding from USDA-NIFA, grant no. 2019-41595-30123. For more information on eXtension membership, please visit

News Newsroom

A Perspective on the eXtension Foundation Impact Collaborative Experience

A Perspective on the eXtension Foundation Impact Collaborative Experience
by Marlin Bates, County Extension Director and Community Development Extension Agent
Kansas State Research and Extension – Douglas County


As a participant in the 2015 i-three issue corps and in the October, 2019 Impact Collaborative, I have developed a full-scale perspective of the value of this program development offering. I have appreciated the opportunity to participate in these events and I know that I have become a better Extension Professional because of that participation. Furthermore, I believe that I have become a better teammate because of this involvement. And although it was never an explicit component of the experience, I feel as though I have become a better leader through these experiences.

The eXtension Foundation introduced this novel approach to program development with some innovative components that remain integral in their design today – namely, the concept of key informants. However, what I appreciate the most is seeing the evolution of this effort through the years. Taking a step back and comparing my two experiences leads me to think that perhaps the most impressive quality of the eXtension Foundation was their willingness to put forth an imperfect offering, learn from it and continue to reiterate it to satisfy the needs of the audience – a lesson in risk-taking and development that all Extension Professionals would do well to emulate. 

My most recent experience with the Impact Collaborative was simply brilliant. Having the opportunity to develop a program idea into an achievable project through numerous interactions with subject matter specialists – not programmatic subject matter specialists, but soft-skill subject matter specialists, teams of colleagues from across the country, identified coaches and my team from home was priceless. Our interactions not only gave us a more global perspective on our project – and our National mission -, it also provided us the opportunity to become a more cohesive team. 

We didn’t participate in the Innovation Skill-Building Experience, but I was impressed by the inclusion of a curriculum that was aimed at getting teams started off on the right foot. Knowing that there are some teams that need that and others that simply need the space to put their heads down and get to work is a demonstration of the eXtension Foundation’s mastery of determining how best to help the teams that they intend to strengthen.

In short, my experiences with this program – and all of my experiences with eXtension, quite frankly – have led me to develop a great appreciation for the Foundation, the people who serve it, and the national network of colleagues that they have developed. 


News Roundup – November

Congratulations! You Failed.

At the recent First State Innovate! Event, a panel of Extension innovators talked about the role of failure. One key is to test your ideas so that failures occur early and allow you to pivot and iterate quickly. These kind of “failures” are more likely to lead to programs that provide new insights, new practices, or reach new audiences.

What have been some of your ‘favorite’ failures in your career? How have those helped shape your work today? Let us know by tweeting to @eXtension4u and using the #coopext hashtag.

News Roundup

Impact Collaborative. eXtension Foundation is supporting three Impact Collaborative cohorts in 2018 for Extension professionals at member institutions. The first will focus on Food Systems with the application process expected to open in November. This will be followed by Behavioral Health and Diversity and Inclusion. The process for all three will kickoff in January and February 2018 with Designathon One, and continue with Designathon Two events (one for each cohort) in April/May 2018.

The process will also include tailored professional development events (online), and access to key informants. Selected projects will have the opportunity to apply for fellowships, innovation funding, or invited to serve as mentors/key informants to the 2019 cohorts. Past participants have shared how their experience helped them expand leadership skills, gain greater visibility at their institution, work differently as a result of their concept map, and advocate for their programs and ideas.

Some important information:

Project Manager. eXtension is pleased to welcome Tira Adelman as the project manager for the recently-announced EPA pesticide safety grant. She will be in charge of establishing and administering a national sub-award program in support of pesticide applicator education and training for certified applicators of restricted use pesticides. Tira previously worked as a Research Project Manager for Susan G. Komen, the largest funder of breast cancer research. She holds a Master’s Degree in Public Administration. The grant program is a collaborative effort between eXtension, the National Pesticide Safety Education Center, U.S. EPA, and other partners.  Learn more about the NPSEC…

digital green logoDigital Green Webinar. Last March, we announced a collaboration between Digital Green and eXtension. This is the first of many solution partners we plan to introduce to the Impact Collaboratives to incubate projects and bring new opportunities to the table. The goal of this collaboration is to pilot test a platform, used successfully in Asia and Africa, in U.S. Extension projects. Possible connections for food systems projects include an online organized network, database, or mobile application, information access, commodity aggregation, transport services, or data collection and analysis. Join the eXtension Digital Green Fellow, Jennifer Cook, Colorado State University and Karin Lion, Digital Green’s Director of Global Agricultural Strategy for this 30-minute webinar. November 14, 2017, at 2:00 EST. Register for the webinar…

From the eXtension Blog

Civil Rights Course. Civil rights are front and center in our nation’s news, which makes Extension professionals’ responsibility for understanding the importance of civil rights training and ensuring inclusiveness in programming more important than ever. A new online course developed by more than 40 University of Minnesota Extension faculty and staff and led by Renee Pardello, Key Informant for the eXtension Impact Collaborative, is now available nationwide. The course, which works best as a small-group activity, can be accessed at eXtension’s online Campus.

ed tech ln logoEdTechLN. The Ed Tech Learning Network held a Tweetup on November 2 around the topic of “Clear, effective communication with clientele”. You don’t need to be on Twitter to read the Tweetcap which includes great examples and advice from Extension professionals (and others) from across the U.S. Read the Tweetcap… | Learn more about the EdTechLN…

Upcoming Webinars

Check out these (among many more) upcoming professional development events listed on


  • Open Data and CGIAR’s Big Data Platform. Open data is increasingly becoming a priority and requirement from funders. Some universities have created systems for compliance such as maintaining repositories under the direction of the university libraries while others have left compliance up to the researchers. This webinar will focus on the need for a culture that values data as a product in itself and targets efforts towards best practices to managing it and following FAIR (Findable, Accessible, Interoperable, Reusable) data principles.November 16, 2017, at noon EST. Learn more or register for the webinar…


  • Make your story maps shine! Learn more about how to use the popular story mapping tool to increase visibility and engagement with your clientele. November 20, 2017, at 2 pm EST. Learn more or register for the webinar…

eXtension LearnSearch Recordings on Learn

Visit anytime and search for topics in your area of expertise or in areas in which you need to get started. Want to know about bugs, climate change, composting, or military families? There are dozens of recordings being added every month to this valuable resource. Visit…

Success Stories

Maker Movement + Horticulture = Innovation Explosion

Dave FrancisQuestion:  What happens when the Maker Movement intermixes with the realm of horticulture?

Answer:  An explosion in ideas and innovation plus a new way for land-grant universities to reach audiences with research-based information.

Dave Francis, Utah State University Extension associate professor, discovered in his Fellowship with eXtension that the latest DIY (do-it-yourself) movement is really a make-it-yourself movement. Through maker faires/festivals and other collaborative settings, youngsters, millennials, baby boomers, and seniors are using low- and high-tech methods to make things, grow things and share their learning.

In Utah, 4-H’ers are making salad boxes for apartment dwellers and other locations without a place to grow food — kits with everything needed to grow a mini-garden, including a 12 X 18 –inch box, soil, and seed.  At the state’s first-ever “Hack the Garden” event, college students connected water and light sensors to computer code and text messaging to alert gardeners when their plants needed moisture and more or less sunshine.

In Myanmar, farmers are 3D printing their own tools. They no longer need to wait for precision, manually-machined parts to assist in prototyping solutions. What’s new in all this for extension educators is that they are increasingly becoming learning collaborators rather than knowledge keepers.  In horticulture, educators are becoming conveners of hands-on experiences for those who want to be involved in active learning, but don’t necessarily want the mess and hassle of sourcing supplies.  “Extension must hit the ‘easy button,’” Francis says.

4H members in UtahAnother audience of potential gardeners includes those who want fresh produce and enjoy the tech aspects of gardening but want to spend less time in the garden. They would prefer running a solar-powered, Roomba-type vacuum to weed a backyard plot to getting down on hands and knees.  The end product continues to be what it has been for extension audiences for more than 100 years – a better quality of life employing the best their universities can offer.

For more information, contact Francis at (435) 760-4109 or

Learn More About the Maker Movement and Extension


News Roundup – May 2017

In the book “Where Good Ideas Come From”, author Steven Johnson explores innovation through the lens of the ‘adjacent possible’. To put it simply, innovation does not necessarily occur in huge steps. Often, it is the result of noticing something and trying to apply that idea in a slightly different way or in a slightly different context. This month’s news roundup is filled with talk of innovation. As you read, think about the “adjacent possible” for your programs. What new angle do you see or what small step can you take?

What are your thoughts on ‘the adjacent possible’ and Cooperative Extension? Share your comments by tweeting @eXtension4u and using the #coopext hashtag.

News Roundup

impact collaborative logoImpact Collaborative Job Postings. eXtension Foundation is hiring two full-time people to serve the  Impact Collaborative. One position is the Program Manager, who is responsible for the formation and success of the Collaborative. The other position is an Instructional Technologist, who will be responsible for all aspects of professional development for the Collaborative. Applications are due July 10, 2017. View the job descriptions: Program Manager | Instructional Technologist

journal of extension logoJOE special issue. The Journal of Extension Board of Directors, in partnership with eXtension, is pleased to announce a Call for Paper Abstracts for the Journal of Extension Special Issue on Innovation. A 200-word abstract is due June 30, 2017. To see the key areas being emphasized for this issue visit the Call for Submissions.

Cooperative ExtensionTechnology & Innovation Committee. There are only a few days left to nominate yourself or someone else to serve on the ECOP Committee on Technology and Innovation. Twelve people throughout the Cooperative Extension System will be selected to examine ways to implement findings in the Horizon Report and examine the technology aspects of innovation. Read more or nominate someone…

christian schmiederExtension’s Data Imperative. Telling the story of Extension impact often involves analyzing data that is qualitative. Enabling Extension to analyze large amounts of qualitative data will greatly enhance the evaluation capacity of the system. University of Wisconsin Extension Specialist and eXtension fellow, Christian Schmieder has published his final report examining this topic “Responding To the Data Imperative In Extension: Developing a National Online Qualitative Analysis and Analysis Software Learning Platform”. Read more about Christian’s fellowship and download his final report…

eXtension Blog. If you are not following the eXtension blog, you are missing out on innovation, diversity, and lessons learned in programming on cutting edge topics. The topics of some recent additions to the blog include:

AFRI Support Letters. If you are submitting a proposal to an AFRI program this summer and wish to include the use of eXtension tools and services, you can download the appropriate letter for your submission by visiting this web page. [Proposal Support Requests]

Civil Dialogue Toolbox. Fostering Meaningful Civil Engagement is an important topic in today’s society. The investment of time and skill development is considerable in order to make meaningful progress. Is this a worthwhile effort for Extension, and what resources are available to those that engage in this area? Learn more about the risks and benefits of investing in this topic and about a newly published toolbox of resources. Visit the toolbox | Upcoming webinar

Sustainability Database. Utah State University has developed a national database of Extension sustainability programs. The database can be searched by state or by topic. Extension professionals with sustainability-focused programs or resources can fill out a submission form to have their program added to the database. Visit the database…

Upcoming Webinars

impact collaborative webinar logoWriting About Research: Think Clarity!

The key to communication is clarity. Yet many authors struggle with clearly conveying methodologies, findings, and relevant implications when crafting research briefs or other types of scholarly manuscripts. This webinar focuses on strategies for avoiding common clarity-related issues in scholarly writing—from obvious problems such as inadequate organization to more subtle errors such as impreciseness of language and omitted punctuation. June 15, 2017, at 2 pm EDT. Learn more or register for the webinar…

people talking to each otherFostering Meaningful Civic Engagement

Engaging community members to help address important issues is both rewarding and impactful.  But doing this well takes considerable time investments and skill development.  Is the investment worth the return?  What are the potential risks to engaging and also to not engaging?  This webinar will explore these questions as well as showcase recent investments in civil dialogue by the first ECOP Rapid Response Team. June 30, 2017, at 2 pm EDT. Learn more or register for the webinar…

eXtension LearnDon’t Miss These Recordings

Evaluating for Program Implementation and Integrity
This webinar examined informal and formal ways to evaluate programs during implementation. Using the Logic Model, program inputs and outputs were addressed. These evaluation efforts help in the assessment of how a program is delivered, and in the improvement of planned approaches and activities. Evaluation examples were presented. View the recording…

The Power of Online Maps for Outreach
Are you looking to add interactivity to your Esri Story Map? Or are you simply ready to use online maps to share information with your colleagues or your outreach audience? You can create maps using your own data in addition to using data posted online by people and organizations throughout the world.  View the recording…

Webinar recordings and related resources are posted on the link for that webinar in Learn, often within 24 hours after the webinar ends.


Call for Submissions: Abstracts for the Journal of Extension Special Issue on Innovation

journal of extension logoThe Journal of Extension Board, in partnership with eXtension, is pleased to announce a Call for Paper Abstracts for the Journal of Extension Special Issue on Innovation.  Abstracts are due June 30, 2017.

Submission Guidelines

Innovation in context of Cooperative Extension was defined by the 2016 ECOP Innovation Task Force Report as “…the process of improving, adapting, developing, or creating a new product, system, service, or process, large or small, to deliver better results, create value for people, or move an organization forward.”

For this Journal of Extension issue focused on innovation, we are looking for examples from the following key areas:

  • Technology and its innovative application (examples include but are not limited to 3-D and virtual reality, Oculus Rift, story maps, augmented reality, 3-D printing, Internet of Things)
  • Case studies of road-tested innovations in effective volunteer management
  • Case studies demonstrating new models for needs assessment
  • Case studies documenting new business models for sustainable programming
  • New or adapted program delivery methods (examples include but are not limited to collaborative learning, maker spaces, flipped classroom)
  • Mobile learning and social media (examples include but are not limited to eXtension Education Technology Tweet-ups, Facebook video streaming, GIS)
  • Innovative access to Cooperative Extension resources (examples include but are not limited to maker fairs, mobile apps, hybrid learning, virtual classroom)
  • Evaluated models of engagement with new audiences (examples include but are not limited to STEM in the Mosque (Purdue University), community gardens by refugees, Urban Extension initiatives, private/public partnerships)

Submissions should be no more than 200 words, clearly articulate how the proposed contribution relates to one or more of the key areas above, and concisely describe the technology, program, or methodology and its application to Cooperative Extension.

Submission Method and Due Date:

Special Issue proposed abstracts should be uploaded to JOE Special Issue Abstract Submission. The due date for submission is Friday, June 30, 2017, at midnight EDT.

Submission Review:

Abstracts will be selected after review by the Special Issue guest editors. Selected authors will be notified by email on August 4, 2017. Contributors are expected to submit completed full manuscripts for review on or before November 30, 2017. The Special Issue has a tentative publication date of July 31, 2018.

Inquiries or Questions:

Any inquiries about the Call for Paper Abstracts should be submitted to the issue manager: Dr. Ken La Valley, University of New Hampshire Extension, or (603) 862-4343.


Ed Tech Learning Network Founders Receive JCEP Award for Creative Excellence

ed tech ln logoFour founding members of the Ed Tech Learning Network (EdTechLN) were awarded the Award for Creative Excellence at the Joint Council of Extension Professionals (JCEP) held in February. Those members include Jamie Seger and Jerry Thomas, Ohio State University; Paul Hill, Utah State University; and Barbara Chamberlin, New Mexico State University.

Jamie and Paul were present at the conference to receive the award as well as to present as part of the nationally-broadcast JCEP Virtual Town Hall.

According to JCEP, the Award for Creative Excellence was established to:

paul and jamie receiving award…recognize those individuals or small teams and their unique contributions. For the purposes of this award, innovation is an approach to emerging issues or addressing existing issues in exceptionally creative or novel ways that get results, and that others want to emulate.

The EdTechLN is part of the eXtension Innovation Lab and is the educational technology resource and support network for Cooperative Extension professionals.

The EdTechLN hosts TweetUps twice a month and produces a weekly Innovation Digest email newsletter. To receive the event announcements, join the EdTechLN. You can also follow the group on Facebook, Google+, or by following or using the #EdTechLN hashtag on Twitter.

Fellowships Grants Innovation Newsroom

First Call for eXtension 2017 Innovation Project Grants

Are You an Extension Innovator?

Submit Your Concepts Now for 2017 Innovation Grants

eXtension Foundation, Inc., the U.S. Cooperative Extension System’s national resource for advancing innovation and providing professional development for Extension professionals, is seeking initial abstract proposals for prescreening for 2017 Innovation Projects funding.

50-Word Abstract Deadline is Monday, December 19th, 2016, 5:00 p.m. PST.

The Innovation Projects initiative is part of the eXtension Foundation’s mission to support experimental projects that will drive opportunities to adopt innovation in the greater Cooperative Extension System. In the 2017 round, we will award up to 10 grants of up to $10,000 each to recipients for a one-year period. Recipients will also receive support of their project from eXtension’s Innovation Lab.

To be eligible for this funding, you must be an Extension Faculty Member, Specialist, Educator, Agent or Staff Member of an eXtension Foundation Premium Member Institution.

The submission process for prescreening requires a brief abstract describing the initial project concept, plus applicant contact information. Finalists selected during prescreening will then be invited to submit expanded, complete proposals for 2017 Innovation Project grants. All proposals will be submitted online for both the prescreening and final application processes.

For full details on 2017 Innovation Project proposal requirements and access to the online abstract proposal submission form, please visit

Please direct any questions about the 2017 Innovation Projects initiative or the proposal process to Jamie Seger, or Jerry Thomas,

Information Information Technology Innovation International Professional Development Technology

AR: A new way to learn!

Google Translate App image source: Google
Google Translate App
image source: Google

In the previous blogs we have discussed the what and why of AR (Augmented Reality). Now it’s time to think of applicable ways to use it in Extension. Here are some ideas of how AR is currently being used:

3D model using Augment image source courtesy of
3D model using Augment
image source courtesy of
  • Enhanced interactive print experience- (brochures, flyers, posters, worksheets)
  • Museum interactivity- think about what a field trip might look like during an Ag safety day
  • AR browsers in the destination- virtual information in the real world to locate places and points of interest
  • Responsive experiences through gaming- participants can experience different historic and future events
  • Re-living historic life and events- visit a historic town the way it used to look like and see its virtual likeness as a 3D model



  • AR translation- Google Translate formerly Word Lens is a smartphone app that translates over 27 languages on the spot. Here’s a fun way it was used.



    The final blog will highlight AR apps that look at interactive print and creating your own AR experiences.

Information Technology Innovation Innovation Partners Professional Development Technology

AR (Augmented Reality) – What the Research Says

Although there is no single technology that is a one size fits all, AR (Augmented Reality) can help provide the basis for a strong cooperative learning environment. The environment can also grow outside the formal classroom because of the nature of the tool itself. The technology used should depend on the pedagogical objectives and needs of the educational application and context to the target audience (Kaufmann, 2011).

AR can provide many positive benefits as an educational tool and merits more to discover and think about.  Researchers suggest that AR should complement traditional curriculum materials and not compete against or replace them. They also conclude that AR is more effective in demonstrating spatial and temporal concepts as well as offering new forms of shared learning experiences through remote collaboration experiences (Billinghurst & Duenser, 2012).

AR for contextual learning

Donald Norman’s meaning of affordances in educational technology refers to the “perceived affordances – that until an affordance is perceived it is of no utility to the potential user” (Bower & Sturman, 2015, p. 345). Two literature reviews analyzed a total of 58 studies within the context of augmented reality in education. The researchers found the following positive benefits (Radu, 2014; Bacca et al., 2014):  Man demonstrating augmented reality machine part

  • Increased understanding of content
  • Learning spatial structure and function
  • Long-term memory retention
  • Increased student motivation
  • Student engagement
  • Improved collaboration


There are many ways we can use AR in Extension to promote education for different audiences. Some of these include interactive posters and fact sheets, augmented tours and 3D models. In the next series of blog posts we will discuss these and review some AR apps that can help us get the job done.

Image: By Eawentling (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons