Agriculture in the 21st century is rapidly expanding its "product line," aiming not only to provide society with food and fiber, but also biofuels, bioproducts, carbon storage, aquifer recharge, biodiversity, and still other goods and services.
Meanwhile, critics demand a focus on sustainability and responsibility as this new agriculture develops, underscoring the grand intellectual, moral, and practical challenges it presents. These challenges demand innovation in education.
Nicholas Jordan and colleagues, University of Minnesota, write about new ways to teach today's agriculture in an article published in the 2008 Journal of Natural Resources and Life Sciences Education.
The work was funded by a Faculty Development Grant from the College of Food and Agricultural Sciences, University of Minnesota.
Certainly, one need is for increased capacity to “learn our way forward” toward sustainability by intensive interaction among stakeholders. Presently, agricultural education offers very few opportunities to build foundations for such collective "social" learning.
"We offered an experimental course that provided foundational experiences for social learning needed to increase sustainability," explains Jordan. "Students participated in exercises that built awareness of individual and collective knowledge and knowing. Other exercises emphasized moral, intellectual, and spiritual dimensions of worldviews."
From observations and other data, we infer that our students developed a broader capacity to approach sustainability challenges systemically and collectively. We observed obvious increases in appreciation of worldview differences among individuals, and of the intrinsic value of these differences in the exploration of complex and controversial issues.
For example, a rural-planning student reported, “it was amazing to me, after interacting with students in the class, what different ways of thinking and ways of knowing have been cultivated in each of us because of our academic backgrounds…imagine the diversity of thought within a larger population.”
Such insights can emerge from in-class experience, and can help prepare students for a lifetime of enhanced "social learning" as society engages the grand challenges of 21st century agriculture.
The full article is available for no charge for 30 days following the date of this summary. View the abstract at http://www.jnrlse.org/pdf/2008/E07-0042.pdf. After 30 days it will be available at the Journal of Natural Resources and Life Sciences Education website, http://www.jnrlse.org. Go to http://www.jnrlse.org/issues/ (Click on the Year, "View Article List," and scroll down to article abstract).
Today's educators are looking to the Journal of Natural Resources and Life Sciences Education, http://www.jnrlse.org, for the latest teaching techniques in the life sciences, natural resources, and agriculture. The journal is continuously updated online during the year and one hard copy is published in December by the American Society of Agronomy.
The Soil Science Society of America (SSSA) is a progressive, international scientific society that fosters the transfer of knowledge and practices to sustain global soils. Based in Madison, WI, and founded in 1936, SSSA is the professional home for 6,000+ members dedicated to advancing the field of soil science. It provides information about soils in relation to crop production, environmental quality, ecosystem sustainability, bioremediation, waste management, recycling, and wise land use.
SSSA supports its members by providing quality research-based publications, educational programs, certifications, and science policy initiatives via a Washington, DC, office. For more information, visit www.soils.org.
SSSA is the founding sponsor of an approximately 5,000-square foot exhibition, Dig It! The Secrets of Soil, which opened on July 19, 2008 at the Smithsonian's Natural History Museum in Washington, DC.
Sara Uttech | Newswise Science News
How much drought can a forest take?
20.01.2017 | University of California - Davis
Plasma-zapping process could yield trans fat-free soybean oil product
02.12.2016 | Purdue University
An important step towards a completely new experimental access to quantum physics has been made at University of Konstanz. The team of scientists headed by...
Yersiniae cause severe intestinal infections. Studies using Yersinia pseudotuberculosis as a model organism aim to elucidate the infection mechanisms of these...
Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.
While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...
Laser-driving of semimetals allows creating novel quasiparticle states within condensed matter systems and switching between different states on ultrafast time scales
Studying properties of fundamental particles in condensed matter systems is a promising approach to quantum field theory. Quasiparticles offer the opportunity...
Among the general public, solar thermal energy is currently associated with dark blue, rectangular collectors on building roofs. Technologies are needed for aesthetically high quality architecture which offer the architect more room for manoeuvre when it comes to low- and plus-energy buildings. With the “ArKol” project, researchers at Fraunhofer ISE together with partners are currently developing two façade collectors for solar thermal energy generation, which permit a high degree of design flexibility: a strip collector for opaque façade sections and a solar thermal blind for transparent sections. The current state of the two developments will be presented at the BAU 2017 trade fair.
As part of the “ArKol – development of architecturally highly integrated façade collectors with heat pipes” project, Fraunhofer ISE together with its partners...
19.01.2017 | Event News
10.01.2017 | Event News
09.01.2017 | Event News
20.01.2017 | Awards Funding
20.01.2017 | Materials Sciences
20.01.2017 | Life Sciences