Wayne County 4-Hers will have new opportunities to learn computer science and use their creativity, thanks to a grant from Apple.
Equipped with 27 new Apple iPads from the grant funding, the 4-H program is eager to find ways to use them, said Doug Foxx, Ohio State University Extension educator for youth development in Wayne County.
The Apple grant is in addition to a $5 million grant Google gave to the National 4-H Council to help expand access to computer science. In Ohio the funds will allow 4-H to expand its Clovers Creating Opportunities Designed for Everyone statewide programming, which introduces problem-solving, computer literacy and coding through hands-on activities.
“We know that youth are spending a lot of time on computer devices,” Foxx said, “so our goal is to move them from content consumers of technology to content creators with technology.”
Foxx and two 4-H Extension program assistants in Wayne County are undergoing training with the iPads so they can incorporate them into all phases of 4-H including teaching STEM activities at camp, junior leader and junior fair board activities, judging, and volunteer training.
One idea is to provide an iPad to each cabin at 4-H camp so the campers can take pictures and videos throughout the week. They could document camp from their cabin’s perspective, and toward the end of camp, they could make a short video from their collections to be shown to all the campers during a watch party. A panel of judges could select the best video.
Songs and cheers are a popular camp activity, and the iPads could help campers experiment with music and instruments to create their own songs and cheers.
Having 27 iPads gives the 4-H program the option of teaching a good-size group all at once, Foxx said. Participants could all be on the same app at once, and they could work through a lesson together.
This past year 4-H'ers with livestock projects were given the option of submitting a video of themselves answering questions about what they learned from their projects instead of attending the in-person interview as part of skillathon. Offering use of the iPads to create these videos in the 4-H office could be an additional way students could learn editing and producing skills.
The iPads will be valuable in volunteer training. "We will have the ability to lead volunteers through our website and show them what all features are available," Foxx said. "We can also go through the 4-H online enrollment and fair entry system. Then the volunteers can take the information back to their clubs and families.
“As we get further into our training, we will have more specific ideas on how to use them. Our hope is to use them with existing 4-H groups, but at the same time, we want to reach out to new audiences such as schools or other youth organizations. Any type of technology has a relatively short lifespan. So we want to get as much use out of them over the next few years.”
Foxx said the 4-H program really appreciates the support and funding from Apple, which totals more than $20,000 in equipment.
Laurie Sidle is an OSU Extension family and consumer sciences program assistant and may be reached at 330-264-8722 or email@example.com.
(This article previously appeared in The Bargain Hunter.)