Alan Green

Episode 8 - What to Expect from the 2021 Virtual CASE Institutes / Transcript

Blog Post created by Alan Green on Mar 3, 2021

Alan Green:
Welcome to Connect, a podcast by the National Association of Agricultural Educators. No matter how long you've been in the classroom, we as agricultural educators know the power that connections play in bettering ourselves as educators and strengthening our profession. Connect is a podcast by the National Association of Agricultural Educators and works to educate listeners about NAAE resources, inform them of new and innovative practices and connect current and future agricultural educators and supporters. I'm your host, Alan Green. We are excited that you're here. So let's get started.

 

John Hammond:
I'm extremely excited that we have this format that we're able to make this happen. And really for some people, this is more attainable, so they're not able to leave their home. And this makes it more attainable for those folks.

 

Brianne McCauley:
I just want to say that I'm really excited that we have been able to transition CASE online. CASE staff worked really hard and made the decision early so that we would have time to offer this quality professional development in the online format.

 

John Hammond:
It is very exciting and I'm pumped to be a part of it.

 

Alan Green:
Hi everyone. And welcome back to Connect. I'm your host, Alan Green. On today's episode, we're talking all about the Curriculum for Agricultural Science Education or CASE Institutes for the summer. If you're new here or you're not familiar with CASE, we encourage you to check out the second episode of the Connect podcast, where I interview two agricultural educators about how CASE has transformed both their professional and personal lives. It's a great episode with lots of valuable tips and advice, and it may be exactly what you need to hear to determine if CASE is a good fit for you. In November NAAE staff announced that for obvious reasons, all CASE Institutes will be held virtually in 2021 in order to address the constraints created by the COVID-19 pandemic.

 

Alan Green:
NAAE is hoping to return to face-to-face professional development in 2022. Until then the CASE team is excited about this new challenge and is working diligently every day to ensure the best possible experience for our teachers and NAAE members. We do know that this transition to virtual institutes for 2021 does come with a lot of questions, which is why we're excited to be joined by two agricultural educators. We're playing a significant role in making this transition successful. Today we're joined by Mr. John Hammond in agricultural educator at Thomas Nelson High School in Kentucky and Ms. Brianne McCauley, an agricultural educator at Liberty High School in West Virginia. John and Brian. Thank you so much for joining us today.

 

Brianne McCauley:
Yes. Thank you, Alan.

 

John Hammond:
Hey, I'm glad to be here. This is awesome.

 

Alan Green:
So John and Brianne, if you just want to kick off today's conversation and tell us a little bit more about who you are and what you do, where you teach and what your current role is as it to the CASE Institutes for the summer.

 

Brianne McCauley:
Go ahead, John.

 

John Hammond:
Okay. All right. Yeah. I'm John Hammond, as Alan said, I teach in Bardstown, Kentucky and been teaching there for quite a while, but I've also been working with CASE for quite some time as well. Most of that capacity has just been as a lead teacher doing the summer institutes. And I've been doing that primarily just for food science and safety. But last year I took the opportunity to be a course lead for food science as well and continuing that role this year. And so as a course lead, what that means for both Brianne and I is that we will be going through the day to day of what the institute is going to look like and revisiting some of those ideas. And this year, it's obviously a lot different just because of the whole virtual concept that we're working under. But anyway, so this summer I'll actually also be a lead teacher at North Carolina State for food science and safety. Now I say at North Carolina State, but that'll be virtual. So I'll be virtually working through them. We'll talk a little bit more about that later.

 

Brianne McCauley:
My name is Brianne McCauley and I teach at Liberty High School in Clarksburg, West Virginia, which is just a little South of WVU. And I am also a CASE lead teacher and serving as a course lead for the plant science course. So as John said, we're basically just going through the course, all the backend stuff to get ready for our other lead teachers to come in and train them on our new method of delivery for these CASE Institutes. I have been teaching CASE in my classrooms for about seven years and I am certified in nine of the CASE curriculum. So I have a pretty strong background in CASE.

 

Alan Green:
Brianne, it's awesome that you have that many CASE certifications. It's really cool. So as a course lead teachers, one of the responsibilities you have for this summer obviously is that transition from an in-person event to offering the institute online in a remote format. What will this summer look like? What will the CASE Institutes feel like? And what will the day-to-day operations of those CASE Institutes be like for our attendees?

 

Brianne McCauley:
Alan, those institutes obviously are going to look a little bit different, but they are still going to function very similar way to our regular CASE Institutes. So it's still going to be about 9:00 to 4:00 commitment on a daily basis. And there's going to be a combination of synchronous and asynchronous time. So there will be times when every day that teachers will need to be online and they will actually be going through activities with the lead teacher and the other participants in that institute. They'll then be asynchronous time on their own, where they are either working on something that we may need in our second synchronous time, or maybe if we're using sensors or things like that. We have some times with videos or practices or something like that that they'll need to do during that asynchronous time. And then we do come back together for together time. And then we have our asynchronous time again.

 

Brianne McCauley:
A lot of it is still going to function and flow just like our traditional CASE Institutes. We do have a set schedule for every day. We are going through a lot of the activities in a normal CASE Institute. You hit every single activity and go through it. Because of the condensed timeframe as well as some limited supplies, we do not go through absolutely every single one, but we do do at least an overview of all of our APPs in those curriculums. It's very important for CASE to be a curriculum that you are comfortable with teaching in your classroom after the institute. CASE wants to make sure that we go through every single activity, every single project, so that you could feel comfortable taking that home. A lot of curriculums, they hand you a binder, they do a couple of little activities and they say, okay, go. We want to make sure that teachers coming out of this institute are able to confidently take this into their classroom.

 

John Hammond:
I'll add just a bit as well to that. I think that the beauty of CASE and what we have done in the past is that our lead teachers are really the people that you go to throughout the course of the year or years following the times that you attend that institute. And so I think even not touching every single activity project or problem within the CASE curriculum, you're not doing every single one because it's virtual, you still going to have that assistance and that help from that lead teacher, from those lead teachers throughout the course of the following years. So I think people could rest easy and the fact that they still have people that have a large knowledge base within that curriculum to be able to assist them as time goes on.

 

Alan Green:
Other than the institutes being virtual this year, is anything else different this year with institutes?

 

John Hammond:
As far as some different things that will be going on. I think that the one thing that I'll guess I'll plug for the future CASE Institutes over the next many summers after 2021 is over, is that the one thing I think I'll miss the most is being able to connect in a place that maybe I haven't been to before, being able to travel and go and visit with people, getting to meet those people in person. So that's one thing that I will look forward to the most when we come back in person in the summer of 2022. And so with that being said, there are some things that all either reiterate, or I will talk about just more specifically. And one is, I think compared to a traditional institute, we really focused on less is more here. And what I mean by that is that we're trying to hit the main things that you really truly need to understand, or the difficult activities project problems that we think you'll struggle with.

 

John Hammond:
And we're trying to do those things in this institute because we know that participants are going to have to do a lot of prep work themselves, meaning they're going to have to set up their lab space at their home or their school, whatever they're attending the CASE Institute through. And so they're going to have to have that time and space to do so. So we're really focused on making sure that the things that are really difficult to understand are the main things we're truly focused on.

 

John Hammond:
One other thing is that instead of actually having the materials sent to a location at the host site, we're actually going to be sending those materials to that participant's address. So they'll give us their address. And the host site will actually gather a lot of those materials up and send them along the way. We'll give that extra time to allow those participants to prep their space and we'll inform them of the different things that they need to know ahead of time and prep for.

 

John Hammond:
And then I think that a big positive behind that is that they're leaving CASE Institute with more materials than they ever have in the past. So even though the fee is very similar to what it has been in the past that pays for the travel or pays for you to be able to stay on campus and pays for your meals and things like that, instead of getting the meals and the night stay and all that stuff, you're getting the materials instead, which will prove pretty valuable throughout the course of the year. I'm sure.

 

Brianne McCauley:
Just to add to what John said, when participants register, they will get a list of what is being provided and from who that is coming from. And they will also be given a list of local materials that they need to collect. However, those are things like colored pencils, paper, office supply stuff, a lot of very common stuff that is around. So they will need to have a little bit of money set aside to purchase a few things if they do not have those already in their house, a lot of those items they probably already have. But I'm really excited that they are sending those materials out and participants will get lists to tell them exactly what they're getting and who it's coming from, and CASE is trying as much as possible to limit the amount of packages that are going to show up on their door step.

 

Alan Green:
I was wondering, would you too be able to provide maybe some examples of some of the equipment that will be sent to those institute attendees? What should they be expecting in the mail in terms of equipment for the institutes?

 

Brianne McCauley:
So some of the local materials they'll have to collect are things like aluminum foil, a calculator. For the plant science course they'll need some soil and a coleus plant, just different soil samples, scissors, stapler, things like that. So those are the items that they will be responsible for providing themselves. Items that will be sent to them are things like a graduated cylinder, a 30 mil plastic cup, the river sand, graph paper, magnifying glasses, pea gravel.

 

Brianne McCauley:
They will also be getting some Vernier sensors. So for the plant science course, they will get a go direct pH sensor, as well as the graphical analysis software to be able to hook that up with a computer or an iPad. They will also be getting different glass wares, as well as... Sorry, I'm reading as I am talking. There is an electronic balance that's coming, some rinse bottles way dishes. So a lot of those labs supplies, a CO2 sensor, a temperature sensor, and those are all the go direct sensors. So they will not actually be getting a lab [inaudible 00:13:02] but they will be getting the go direct sensors that will be able to connect and talk to either a laptop or an iPad, something like that. So they will be able to actually go through a lot of the labs because CASE is providing those labs supplies to allow them to do so.

 

Alan Green:
That's wonderful. And I think too, a lot of that equipment is things that teachers can use when they're teaching that course, they're not necessarily are consumable items or small value items. They are significant. So that's really cool. I think as someone who's been to an institute, before moving to this virtual format, in some ways, there's a little bit of disappointment. As excited as we are to be offering this in an online format. I can see why people are maybe a little bit bummed. What would you say to someone who maybe is hesitant about attending a CASE Institute in a virtual format? How would you guide them? Or how would you explain maybe some of the benefits to attending an institute online?

 

John Hammond:
Yeah, I think to me, for someone that's been to a CASE Institute before and I think I've been to four different CASE Institutes as a participant. And I know from the get-go at a CASE Institute, you feel like you're constantly go, go, go. You're moving on when you maybe didn't feel like you're ready, you continually move throughout that curriculum and you feel like it's a very fast paced. I think that because of the way that we're planning for this summer, it's going to be less of that go, go, go. And more of the, all right, we're focusing on these things. These things are tangible items that we're just going to try to get through, and we're going to make sure that you've got those things go. Now, we're going to talk about every single activity and project and problem. However, I think that this time and space is going to be much more focused on those main things.

 

John Hammond:
So I think that if someone's hesitant, because they're thinking, oh my gosh, we're going to be so overwhelmed. I'm going to have to do all this stuff myself. I can almost guarantee to a certain extent that it's going to be much less cumbersome in that aspect as far as moving on to a lot of different things and a lot of different times. Now, I think another big positive that I can take away from this is that, since we're doing much less of the activities, you're going to have allot more time to prep your own space.

 

John Hammond:
And so I think one of the wonderful things about being a lead teacher is that whenever you go and lead teach to other teachers across the country, you're getting very used to prepping your stuff and making sure everything's ready in a very condensed timeframe. And so when I come back to my students after that summer, I feel like I'm much more prepared for my actual teaching from where I've worked with the teachers over the summer and prep mode space.

 

John Hammond:
So this is something that as a participant, you typically don't get as much. You're not really getting the aspect of setting up your space and making sure that your lab is set up correctly. So this is one unique aspect I think, of the virtual space that we're going to be really providing to our participants. We're allowing them a chance to be able to set up their space and know how the lab's set up and really get a good feel for that.

 

Brianne McCauley:
I'll add something to that. I just want to say that CASE is still committed to the quality professional development. So I think a lot of people may be like, oh, all of these online conferences, we're just sitting there listening to people talk. And if all we're going to do is sit there and hear somebody talk about the curriculum. That's not really going to help me much. But we are going to be sitting down and actually going through labs. It will not be a lot of times sitting and just listening to people talk, it will be doing and being active.

 

Brianne McCauley:
It's still going to be very structured. There's going to be a lot of opportunity to really delve into the curriculum. So don't be, I guess, concerned or hesitant because you're not sure that you're going to get the same quality or that you are just going to be on your own doing things. The lead teachers will still be there. The lead teachers will be available during both synchronous and asynchronous time. So if it is one of the times where you are on your own doing something, the teacher will be there. So if you have a question, if you need help, you can just jump back on and we will be here to help you.

 

Alan Green:
We need to share a little bit about the time commitment that's required for attendees and what those requirements are in order for that attendee to receive the CASE certification at the end of the institute.

 

Brianne McCauley:
So this will be approximately 9:00 to 4:00 daily commitment. There will be time that you will need to be actively engaged with your lead teachers and with the other participants. So that time is not a time when you... It's not somebody talking to you. It's not a presentation. It's not something that you can leave up and work on something else, you'll be expected to have all of your lab equipment set up, everything prepped that we've asked you to prep. At the end of each day, we will tell you what you will need for the next day. We'll ask you to get out your boxes. There will be a lot of equipment with those supplies that are being mailed to you. So we'll go through that at the end of each day and tell you exactly what you need to find and pull out for the next day.

 

Brianne McCauley:
The asynchronous time is a time that is set aside to do things on your own that maybe you don't necessarily need us as lead teachers, but it's not like a two hour break. It's not something, oh, okay, I have a couple hours now. I'm going to go check on this or do this. It's time that is set aside with specific tasks to accomplish. So just know that if you're signing up for an institute, it will be full 9:00 to 4:00 daily commitment. So just check those dates, make sure that you will be available because you will need to complete all of those activities in order to attain that certification.

 

John Hammond:
Yeah. And I'll add a little bit as well. And I know that as an educator that's been living in the world for the last year that we've been dealing with the COVID realities, I think that it's very easy to sign up for a PD and think, oh man, I'm going to get this stuff. And I can just leave it going and all that. You really have to understand as a CASE Institute, we often have participants that we're trying to make sure, all right, look, you've got stuff going on at home. I get it. But this is a very focused effort to make sure that you're getting the content that you need to bring back to your students. And I think it's going to be the same way virtually.

 

John Hammond:
And I know there's a lot of other distractions when you're sitting at home or school, you're going to have to put those aside so that you can really focus here. But in addition to that, I think that another piece that I'll mention is that, we've traditionally had these checklists and that's how a person would get certified. They would turn in all the checklist items. The lead teacher would check it off right with them. But unfortunately, we're not going to be able to do that this time. So instead everything's shifting over to utilize Google classroom. And I know a lot of our teachers across the country utilize Google classroom, or if you haven't, maybe you've seen it before, but we're utilizing Google classroom this summer to really have those checklist items. And so once a participant is done with an action item, one of these things that we have to check off, they'll turn it on Google classroom and we'll be able to check it off for them there. So that in itself would end up being their virtual checklist. And that's how they would get certified at CASE Institute.

 

Alan Green:
Allied to that, I think it's exciting that even though these institutes are online, there's still that same level of expectations that we have for attendees. I think that that's why CASE is really effective and why CASE is really valuable to our teachers is because there is that bar that is set for them and the commitment is a requirement. Let's talk a little bit more about the registration process for institutes. Where can someone go to find out more information about registering? Where can they find the schedule and what courses will be offered this summer?

 

Brianne McCauley:
So on the CASE for learning website, it's caseforlearning.org. And when you go to that website, there is a little icon that says register for 2021 institute, and then it will send you to a page that lists all of the institutes. Right now, there are over 30 institutes scheduled. They still have a host site. So it'll say Iowa State, Penn State, WVU, wherever, but that doesn't really matter. There is no travel, it's all completely virtual. Don't feel like you have to sign up for an institute that is in your specific State.

 

Brianne McCauley:
However, something to keep in mind is the times for that institute are based on the time zone that that host site is in. So I'm in West Virginia, I'm on the East Coast. If I was taking an institute in Nevada, then I would be on Nevada time, not West Virginia time. So that's just something to consider if you're not an early riser, just know 9:00 AM is actually, I believe 6:00 AM on the California Coast. So just be cognizant of that. We are offering institutes in all of our courses this summer. So we'll have the intro to AFNR, we'll have CASE plant and CASE animal. We will have the agricultural power and technology, natural resources, animal and plant biotech, food science and safety, mechanical systems, environmental science, and agricultural research and development. So those are all of our full length courses that we will be offering this summer.

 

John Hammond:
So the big thing here to remember is that we have a deadline of April 15th in order to be able to register for a CASE Institute. Now that is a hard deadline. I know we haven't had that in the past, so we've been able to register a little bit later, but just to the nature of what we have to do as far as sending out materials and getting all those things those I's dotted and T's crossed, that allows us that time and space in order to be able to get that information and those materials out to you. And so April 15th, don't forget that date, make sure if you have not registered for a CASE Institute that you do so by April the 15th.

 

Alan Green:
And then one last thing too, if you are looking at a specific institute and it says that it's full, we encourage you to get on the waitlist. Joining the waitlist gives us information that says that there's interest in which may cause some openings in the schedule. So we encourage you to get on that waitlist as well if you can't get into the one that you're looking for.

 

Alan Green:
Brianne and John, is there anything else that you'd like to share in regards to the CASE Institutes for the summer before we wrap up this conversation?

 

John Hammond:
Yeah. I'll share one thing here, in regards to materials, one thing that we didn't mention that I'll add to it, being the course lead for the food science and safety course I know that there's going to be a lot more consumable materials. So if you're going to be taking that food science and safety course over the summer virtually with us, you're going to be getting a gift card to be able to purchase some of these items, just to the nature of the amount of things that you'll have to go to the local grocery to purchase. So CASE is going to provide you a gift card in order to do so. So that'll cut down on some of those material costs or actually all the shipment costs that they would have to ship all the flour and all the different consumable goods that you would typically locally get at your institute. So that's one thing I wanted to mention just for my food science and safety folks.

 

Brianne McCauley:
I just want to say that I'm really excited that we have been able to transition CASE online. CASE staff worked really hard and made the decision early so that we would have time to offer this quality professional development in the online format. We already have a strong registration. Registration just opened a couple of weeks ago, but we have seen a lot of positives from that. And so I'm looking forward to a great CASE Institute summer.

 

John Hammond:
Yeah, I'll say that too. I think that it was such a bummer last summer that we had to cancel our institutes and really weren't able to have those professional developments for teachers. So I'm extremely excited that we have this format that we're able to make this happen. And really for some people, this is more attainable, so they're not able to leave their home and this makes it more attainable for those folks for this one-time only virtual opportunity that we have. But it is very exciting and I'm pumped to be a part of it.

 

Brianne McCauley:
One more thing I'll mention just real quick. I don't know. We touched on this a little bit, but participants will be given an expectation document that is broken down daily. And so they don't have to feel overwhelmed. A lot of the responsibility for prep work is falling back onto the participants, but we will walk you through everything that you need when you need it, how it needs to be used. Any prep work, there are some things that will need prepped before the institute, especially in the plant science course. But again, we will walk you those things. Your lead teachers will be in constant communication before and during the institute. So don't be overwhelmed by that. We're here for you and we'll make sure that you know what's going on.

 

Alan Green:
Well, John and Brianne, thank you so much for joining us, making time in your schedule. We appreciate everything that you're doing to help make the summer successful for our CASE Institutes. Take care.

 

Brianne McCauley:
Thanks, Alan.

 

John Hammond:
Thank you Alan.

 

Alan Green:
Thank you for joining us for this episode of Connect a podcast by the National Association of Agricultural Educators. It's always hard to say goodbye, but we'll be back with more episodes to help you build even more connections to help you grow as a professional. If you like what you've heard, we'd love to have you subscribe, rate or give us a review on iTunes or whatever platform you use so we can help connect more agricultural educators through our podcast. Until next time.

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