McKay, T. D., Steede, G. M., & Swenson, R. D. (2022). Expanding the agricultural educator’s toolkit: identifying challenges in digital media production technology. Journal of Agricultural Education, 63(4), 59-77. https://doi.org/10.5032/jae.2022.04059
This study explores the perceptions and experiences related to agricultural educators in Minnesota who have used digital media production tools and concepts as learning activities in the classroom. As the cost associated with digital media production equipment and software continues to decrease, this technology is becoming more accessible and creates the potential for new types of classroom outputs. This type of learning activity is in its infancy in School Based Agricultural Education (SBAE). As more educators look to embed 21st century skill-based projects in their coursework, it is important to begin exploring needs and resources identified by those currently engaged in this strategy. The researchers in this project aimed to better understand how the participants map knowledge and identify gaps when using digital media production as a learning tool. The project examined the motivations, experiences, implementation processes, and future goals of participants. A collective case study was used to explore this phenomenon. In-depth interviews with educators were examined using qualitative open coding techniques. This produced emergent themes regarding lesson design and implementation as well as perceptions of student learning. Educators highly valued this student learning activity to develop communication skills necessary for many career paths. Other emergent themes were an increase in student engagement, critical thinking, media literacy, and transferable skills. The study found barriers to digital media activities such as prior experience with technology, school district resources, professional development opportunities, and lesson preparation time. Educators identified a need for streamlined resources and accessible professional development to fully embrace digital media as a learning strategy.