Remote learning. It’s the phrase that students, parents and teachers did not expect to add to their vocabulary this spring when COVID-19 was declared a pandemic. However, with each new update and each governor’s recommendation, remote learning became a part of daily lives in households across the country. School districts devised lesson plans, some delivered their students’ packets via the bus route or mailed and emailed lessons to students on a weekly basis.
Youth might have missed out on the chance for building relationships with their peers and mentors, state FFA contests and conventions, spring sports, prom and more activities, but for those in agriculture, it provided an opportunity to work more with their livestock projects, help out with calving and lambing and perhaps even help prepare for spring planting. Remote learning and sheltering-in-place has allowed many families to spend more time together, learning and working ahead on junior national contests or county fair projects – both livestock and nonlivestock related.
When schools started closing their buildings this spring, online learning and virtual tours seemed to pop up almost instantly. Farm Bureau organizations, breed associations and other ag companies shared content that ranged from simple coloring sheets and word-searches to online judging contests and virtual ag tours.
What did we do?
We were ready. Before the chaos ensued, the Sure Champ® in the Classroom program existed. This online resource offers a variety of learning ideas for educators and parents.
Sure Champ in the Classroom offers various information about cattle, pigs, goats and lambs. Educational information ranges from selection, feeding and nutrition, caring for and preparing for shows and showmanship. General nutrition information is also available as well as quizzes with answer keys for assistance to learning. Educational videos are online for cattle and pigs that detail showmanship, feeding, animal care and reading pig notches.
In addition to the Sure Champ in the Classroom resources, a regular feature of the Sure Champ digital efforts includes an online judging tool, Mark that Card, complete with judging classes and official placings with cuts and reasons. These have been very popular on the Sure Champ social platforms and are all archived at www.surechamp.com.
What can you as a dealer do to help provide some information and resources to your customers in this time of remote learning? Maybe you had a spring livestock clinic planned; don’t let social distancing spoil your plans. With today’s technology on phones and handheld devices like tablets and iPads, it would be efficient and effective to record something from your local store or barn to post to your website or social media to help educate your young customers.
Talk about animal nutrition and break down the various feed ingredients in a ration and describe what they do. Record your own showmanship or clipping clinic. Perhaps you can offer resources for those youth preparing a speech for their junior national or their county club days. Or, you could offer to listen to that speech over the phone or via FaceTime to give some pointers on content or delivery. Offering your time as a resource is a valuable tool to a young person; they won’t forget time that you give them.
Share with us and your fellow dealers what you are doing to serve as a resource and help your young customers #preptowin during this time of social distancing. Post your ideas and your results on the BioZyme Dealer Facebook page so others can learn from you. We are all in this time of uncertainty together. Let’s work collectively to help our young people.