In an extension of the Illinois Pathways Initiative, Williamsfield Schools recently formed a partnership with the government of Liberia to collaboratively produce “international agricultural curriculum units”. A delegation from Illinois (accompanied by Williamsfield Schools faculty member Mr. Kent Rigg) is currently wrapping up a logistical site visit to Liberia in preparation for program launch. Equipment secured through The Global Agriculture & Cultural Appreciation Project, as well as the utilization of Open Author & OERCommons, will give students and staff in rural Illinois and Africa access to the best tools in the industry to collaboratively curate and openly share quality learning resources.
If we are fortunate enough to secure two GoPro cameras to push our project forward, one will be used by Williamsfield Schools and the other by our sister school in Liberia. As the Illinois growing season begins, students at Williamsfield Schools will utilize GoPro technology to capture the art and science of successfully planting a variety of vegetables and crops. Students will also capture their experiences in horticulture as they nurture additional flowers/herbs to be sold, planted, and enjoyed throughout the community.
For example, a student planting sweet corn, armed with a GoPro HERO3+ clipped to their headstrap, will talk themselves through the planting process and the various characteristics of the seed/plant that make it unique and mandate it be cared for in a specific way. Students at our sister school in Liberia will utilize their GoPro technology to share Liberian agricultural processes within the cultural context relevant to their part of the world. This equipment will primarily be used by students in both locations to capture and produce short video clips of themselves “in the act” of growing a variety of plants.
Video captured in this way will outline the similarities and differences between the life cycles of various plants as well as the effects climate and soil differences have on crop and flower production. Students and staff will capture, edit, and publish these resources publicly via their school Youtube accounts. Students and staff will then link and embed this video into openly licensed OERCommons collections via Open Author. Video segments will be organized into Youtube playlists for sequential viewing as well. GoPro technology will also be utilized to capture and display the natural beauty of each location and share the cultural experiences that are unique to each. For example, students and staff in Williamfield, GoPro HERO3+ in tow, will capture traditional activities such as morel mushroom hunting, "bank-poling" for catfish in canoes on the Spoon River, and catching bass fishing in local lakes and farm ponds. So although the primary focus of our project is the curation and publishing of agricultural learning resources, students and staff in both Williamsfield and Liberia will facilitate a natural appreciation of the similarities and differences existing between each part of the world we call home.