We here in Extension Technology have been working on a way to make video simpler for faculty and staff to embrace. We decided that to help with that, we'd put together some modern, simple, video kits for our Equipment Loan service offering.

Video is a great medium for quickly demonstrating or sharing some info in a very digestible way! We should be making videos as a channel for communicating our Extension education. Quick and easy video. Nothing too produced, just on the fly. 

Alison, our academic technologist, put a lot of thought into a video kit that is EASY and, as we call it, a way to "just do it." She calls it the Video Kit to End All Video Kits

Here is a sneak peek!

In the Video Kit to End all Video Kits:
  • Tripod (Ravelli)
  • iPad tripod stand (iStabilizer)
  • Wireless Bluetooth mic (Sony)
  • wired lapel mic (Audio-Technica ATR 3350)
  • iPad Mini case (Timbuk2)
  • iPad Mini (32GB, refurbished)
  • iPhone/iPad 1/8" microphone adapter
We spent some time researching video cameras, and kept returning to the iPhone as a great, simple video camera. (Remember, we're keeping it simple!) But what's better than an iPhone? A mini iPad! It has a simple video interface, you can edit and upload right on it, and it has a mic input for using an external microphone (in the kit). You can tell I am stoked about the mini iPads because I SQUEEEE really loud when she pulls it out of the case. It's just so exciting!

Our total cost per kit is about $1,000 [CORRECTION: This was for both kits!! per kit is approximately $500]. Let's make it a good investment for taking Extension education into the video age!

If you will be at Extension Program Conference in Duluth, be sure to check out our session, "Low Impact Video for High Impact Learning," Tuesday, October 8, 10:15 - 11:45 a.m. The title I suggested was "Lower the Bar on Your Videos" but Alison and Karen souped it up a bit for us.

Here is a glimpse of the planning for that session! Is that Prezi? Yes! We'll link to it after the session! HERE IS THE PREZI

Also, Alison frequently posts good examples and tips for low impact video on our YouTube channel.

After the Program Conference session, two video kits will be available for short-term loan to UM Extension staff via the Equipment Loan service offering.

Moodle is the e-learning platform that has been officially adopted by the University of Minnesota. It is open-source, meaning we get it fo' free. But the University has recently realized that free doesn't really mean FREE. You still need to invest in it to keep it updated and tailored to our environment. In the last year, the U has made an effort and a plan to keep Moodle updated to more modern versions. And this is great news for us, the course creators. Because we love us some features!!


Moodle is one piece in the e-learning tool box. If you are thinking of an online learning environment where you are actively instructing a group of learners, releasing modules and resources on a schedule, tracking progress, communicating en mass, and wanting student interaction, Moodle does exactly that. It is flexible, so you can do some of those things and not do some of them. And by you, I mean you. Yes, I'm talking to you! This is not a tool that you need a professional to set up for you.

As well as being quite functional, Moodle is fully supported by OIT, meaning there is training available for you, your students can direct technical questions to 1-HELP, and enrollment/payment can be done through automated processes. 

Trust me these are all outrageously GREAT reasons to give Moodle a try!


Getting started with Moodle is a piece of cake. 
First, request a course to play around with. (specify "Development or non-academic course" on the request form). This is a manual request, you'll get an email when it is set up. Then, dive in! Don't think too hard about it--just play!

  • Check out this very cool Moodle "Learning Map" from OIT, a step-by-step resource guide to creating and teaching in Moodle
  • This 4-week Moodle MOOC is inspiring and lucky for you, it just started September 1st!
  • I interviewed Alison Link, Extension's new academic technologist, on the topic of Moodle 2.4 in our latest Quick Bytes Podcast
  • Alison has created on a growing series of Moodle tip videos. Here's just one for an example:


  1. Go watch some of the videos Alison Link has created on our new YouTube channel. There are many Moodle tip videos to chose from! Even if the exact tutorial isn't of use, watch anyway to get exposure to an expert navigating Moodle.
  2. Leave a comment here about how you have used Moodle and found it useful... or lacking!

Scotch eggs

As part of a new initiative to connect technology more closely will the field work of Extension throughout Minnesota, representatives from our team are visiting Extension offices and events throughout the state. Please join us on our adventure!

Our latest adventure was the Minnesota State Fair, a haven of Extension programming!

Rah rah rah for ski-u-mah goooooo gophers!

Did you see CFANS gopher hats? AWESOME!

Destination: Minnesota State Fair

Miles Traveled: IT'S RIGHT HERE 

Trips made by Tech Team Members: 55+

Bags of mini donuts eaten by the team: 55+

Extension Technology was proud to support our Extension programming at the State Fair with hands-on assistance, as well as supplying over 100 pieces of equipment, ranging from laptops to netbooks to printers. We are quick to lend a helping hand to ANY team but especially if they are located in the midst of corndogs and butterheads. Or, as I like to think of it, HEAVEN.

From Master Gardeners accessing Extension info on Google Chromebooks to 4-H Livestreaming their 3 most popular events, technology opportunities abound at the State Fair. We had a blast seeing it, talking about it, and being a part of some of it! Here's a little video from the field so you can be a part of it too!