As many folks around here know, springtime is a busy time for the local agricultural community. Here at the Jessamine Career and Technology Center (JCTC), the season is no different. From equine studies to livestock fitting and greenhouse management, students have participated in a variety of activities that have allowed them to put knowledge gained in the classroom, quite literally, to work.
Learning by doing is an integral part of career and technical education, just as it was in the vocational courses of decades past. However, the methods by which learning takes place have changed dramatically. Oh yes, we have “cows” at JCTC. They have names like Bessie, Taurus and Daisy. These bovine beasts are just as mobile as those grazing throughout Jessamine County. However, rather than beef or milk, these cows provide dramatically different resources to allow students to have the world at their fingertips. C.O.W. is an acronym for Computers on Wheels. Each C.O.W. is equipped with laptops to accommodate one classroom of students but is shared among departments throughout the building. This enables classroom space to be maximized and the need for separate computer labs to be eliminated.
Studying farm management, creating income and expense reports, and identifying anatomical parts of horses and livestock may not seem like it would keep you awake during school. Grinding through the concepts of mitosis and meiosis as well as the physiology related to heat cycles of goats and heifers may even sound rather painful. Then, evaluating fecal samples under the microscope for the purpose of identifying parasites will probably turn your stomach. However, applying these topics of the classroom to the activities associated with your 4-H project or FFA Supervised Agricultural Experience Program enables these lessons to take on a whole new meaning.