The YouTube of Agriculture
He sits comfortably in his desk chair, discussing CEV Multimedia, Ltd., as if he is telling stories on an old friend. It is easy to see he remembers the technology and educational tools of the past, but a glimmer of excitement comes across his face as he thinks forward to the future.
"You guys are used to searching stuff on YouTube and finding it like that," Scott Burris, Ph.D., said, with a swift snap of his fingers.
Burris is an associate professor in the Department of Agricultural Education and Communications at Texas Tech University, and he has ample experience with the curriculum produced by CEV. However, the format of the material is rapidly changing, and the change is molding the future of agricultural education.
Dusty Moore is the president of the iCEV division of CEV Multimedia. He said CEV has taken hold of concepts from YouTube and adapted them for the iCEV website.
Anyone can log on to YouTube and create a channel with any information; iCEV is different. The content on the channel is professionally produced and reviewed by experts. Moore said collaborators have reviewed every minute of video on the iCEV website. These experts include professors, extension specialists and professionals in the industry of topic. This ensures the information is factually correct, unlike YouTube.
Just like YouTube, however, a user can find videos on almost any subject his or her heart desires. The channels on the agriculture page of iCEV are animal systems, plant systems, power, structural and technical systems, natural resource & environmental systems, food products/processing systems, agricultural leadership/communications, agribusiness systems, careers and judging.
Playlists on YouTube allow a look into what other users enjoy. Moore called the iCEV version of the concept "celebrity playlists." He said Gordon Davis, Ph.D., CEO of CEV Multimedia and former Texas Tech meat judging coach, created an iCEV playlist on beef quality grading.
"He was an expert at that," Moore said. "So what he did was he just came in here, and he made his own playlist."
He said the playlist focused on which videos Davis would use to teach a lesson and why. Beginning teachers can use these playlists to create accurate, quality lessons on topics they are not familiar with yet.
When a video is uploaded to YouTube for the world to see, it has tags attached to it. These tags allow a user to search keywords and find videos that fit their interest. iCEV uses tags similar to YouTube. On an iCEV video titled "Beef Cattle Management Practices (Part 26)," the tags included cattle, breeding, animal identification and castration. If a teacher needs to show a video to better explain any of these concepts, they can simply type their topic in the search box and, in the website"s words, "unlock the power."
Past and Present
CEV gots its start when Davis noticed a lack of training materials for Texas tech instructors. According to their website, CEV has been providing curriculum, along with educational resources, in the fields of Agricultural Science and Technology, Business and Marketing, Family and Consumer Sciences, Trade and Industry, and Career Orientation since their founding in 1984. Twenty-eight years later, the company is now on a mission to put that quality information online for educators" and students" convenience.
"When you look at video rentals and things like that, most people are streaming it online," Moore said. He said this was the motivation behind CEV"s drive to get all of their curriculum and resources online - 31,000 edited minutes worth of material.
Burris"s role in his department is to coordinate the teacher certification program. He said the number of students in this program per year averages around 20, but the eight students currently student teaching have had a slightly different experience. At the beginning of the spring 2012 semester, Moore brought iCEV to these future agricultural educators.
Burris said CEV"s long-standing relationship with agricultural educators comes from their ability to consistently provide reliable audio and visual support for classroom instruction.
"iCEV is an exciting technological twist to what we"ve known to support good instruction for a long time," Burris said.
Burris said his philosophy is the teachers will stop relating to the material if the company producing it is not technologically progressive.
There is no doubt the current generation of future professionals is accustomed to having what they want, when they want it. iCEV has adapted their material to fit these wants, or, as the individuals who make up this generation might argue, needs. Burris said he thinks the teachers of the future will have a much easier time using the online material because he believes they either did not have a VCR or do not remember using one.
"They haven"t watched anything since Barney on a VCR," Burris said.
Haylee Andrew is a Texas Tech student currently student teaching in Howe, Texas. She said she thinks she will use iCEV in her teaching career because the videos are short and quick. She said she likes the idea of avoiding the hassle of fast-forwarding through a 50-minute video to find the clip she needs.
This widespread mentality has taken away the need for slow-moving, old-fashioned technology. Classrooms of the future will be taught with quick, easy-to-find online videos. Moore said that is why CEV went through the process of making sure their curriculum meets state standards as a textbook. Burris undoubtedly noticed the shift in technology. The example he offered was Blockbuster.
"I go to a store that used to be Blockbuster, and Blockbuster was a booming business," Burris said. "And then technology changed, and all of a sudden what was a thriving market was no longer a valid need."
He said he think companies such as CEV Multimedia have filled the new needs, thus putting themselves in a position to lead technology in instruction.
According to what Burris refers to as "Burris"s Continuum of Engagement," it is not effective or engaging for a teacher to only lecture about certain topics.
He said he thinks companies such as CEV Multimedia have filled the new needs, thus putting themselves in a position to lead technology in instruction.
"If you"re talking about artificial insemination, the least authentic way to learn about it would be to hear some old, stuffy guy stand up and talk about artificial insemination," Burris said.
On the other end of the continuum, the most engaging way would be students actually participating in the activity.
Burris asked, "If you can"t do it, what"s the next best thing?"
He said that is where CEV comes in. Burris did some math, saying if he taught 20 students to use iCEV, one year from now they could be teaching 100 students per semester with iCEV.
"That really touches a lot of people and really spreads the industry of agriculture, the knowledge of agriculture, the field of agriculture to a lot of people," Burris said.
The math adds up to 2,000 students watching the wonders and workings of agriculture in interesting clips every semester on www.icevonline.com. That is 4,000 high school students per year being reached by iCEV because of Texas Tech graduates alone. With these numbers, it is safe to say CEV Multimedia"s "YouTube of Agriculture" is laying a solid foundation for the future of agriculture and education.