Ag Lit Bit
by Diane Merrion, Ag in the Classroom Coordinator
“Time is Flying”
Time seems to fly by year after year and only after looking back at some of the inventions from the past do I really sense how fast things are changing. It’s crazy to think of how long ago some things were invented and their continued impact today or their quick demise being replaced by another product. These inventions all occurred in April of different years:
April 21, 1782 - German educator Friedrich W.A. Frobel invented kindergarten
April 21, 1828 - Noah Webster published the first American dictionary
April 7, 1860 - Will Keith Kellogg was the founder of the Kellogg Company and invented a process of making flaked cereal--corn flakes--for use as a healthy breakfast cereal
April 26, 1892 - Sarah Boone patented an ironing board
April 21, 1899 - Alfred Moser Butts invented the game "Scrabble"
April 24, 1914 - Justin Wilson invented Wise Potato Chips
I am sure each of these and all past inventions seemed so life-changing. That is until you step into a classroom today and see how technology is changing things at a speed that is hard to comprehend.
We do still have kindergarten, but it has certainly changed drastically just over the past five years. Dictionaries. I am so glad I lived in an era where you got to “look up the words” as you often learned others that were on the same page.
As I was presenting at a junior high and high school last month, I witnessed the drastic way technology has changed teaching. “Take out your iPhones or iPads,” was the directive versus open your books. Though I used technology with my presentation, I was happy to see students focused and interested in learning about agriculture by passing real examples of crops and by-products around the room.
Yes, I had my technology via a PowerPoint, but they were truly engaged in learning about what these odd-looking crops were, and more importantly the career opportunities this strange world of agriculture held for them. They were unfamiliar with what a sugar beet looked like but could easily google a photo of it if they wanted. They all ate popcorn, but many had no clue it grew on a cob.
As one teacher noted, he’s trying to make a difference by teaching his students about the origins of their food as many don’t know one vegetable or fruit from another, yet they can identify team logos easily. How is it we became so disconnected? Thank goodness for teachers like him who see the importance of understanding agriculture.
And, thanks to all the past and future inventors for making a difference in our lives. I certainly need potato chips and even use that ironing board when absolutely necessary.
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