“Leave” Them Alone…Adventures in Extension Podcasting

We’re on the topic of communication this week…how can Extension personnel communicate best with their audience/stakeholders. It used to be via racks of Xeroxed “Fact Sheets” at your local Extension office. A few of these are said to still exist, but with states gutting their extension budgets, the costs of printing have become prohibitive.  And more critically…where do YOU go for information?  A musty file full of handouts? Heck no. Electronic media is tailor-made for extension. It’s virtually free, easily updated, and reaches a vast majority of clients.  Bert already covered YouTube, as well as posted the BEST extension video ever, courtesy of Utah State.  So I shall not be redundant.

At Virginia Tech, we have some folks utilizing the Power of Podcasts to communicate whatever point they’re trying to make.  Dr. Mike Goatley, our Turf Extension Specialist, has done especially well with the technology.  He presents practical advice in a very user-friendly package.  He nearly always cites relevant research.  The information presented in the audio file (MP3) is also available in some sort of text format, whether a fact sheet, script, or PowerPoint handout, often with hot links to the research literature cited.  You don’t even need an iPod; just click on the link and your media player of choice will open and play the audio.

For today’s example, I’ve selected one of my favorite Goatley-casts… his guide to lawn leaf management entitled “Leave Them Alone.” Effective, informative, and very convincing…all in 4 minutes.  Take a look and listen here… 

Mike demonstrates with his mulching mower.  The safety glasses are a nice touch. I wouldn’t have thought of that.

3 thoughts on ““Leave” Them Alone…Adventures in Extension Podcasting”

  1. I was laughing so hard the guys in my office were giving me funny looks. They just don’t understand the humor…
    Great ideas, though. As an MG, it is becoming much more common to need to direct people to on-line resources. They simply just don’t want printed fact sheets as much anymore. The hard part is ensuring they find accurate, location appropriate information. We’re working on it!

  2. Hi to the MG commenter above. It would be great to have you and other MGs help with the Gardening wiki (Wikipedia style) that is building a totally free plant encyclopedia for gardeners around the world. It’s exactly what you’re talking about when you talk about the need for “accurate, location appropriate information” on the web.

    The wiki format give unlimited space and flexibility to cover any plant, conduct searches, etc. Please check it out and help spread the word!te>

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