FROM THE EDITOR'S DESK
My dear readers of Journal of Extension Education,
Field days are a useful means to share innovative ideas with farmers and to ensure effective farmer-to-farmer communication. This extension approach has long been used as a technique wherein interested farmers are invited to a particular farmers' field or plot and a short, specific topic is demonstrated and discussed. The interaction between the farmers & the extension officers allows the latter to learn what areas need further support, while the interaction between the farmers themselves allows an exchange of ideas, experiences, and further information (Campbell, 1995).
As discussed in the previous JEE issue, the COVID-19 pandemic, has affected the extension services globally and conducting group events such as field days had been extremely difficult during the lockdowns. While it is a known fact that field days are meant to be organized in-person as it promotes interaction, it is equally important to continue to support the farmers by conduct- ing such events, taking into account their specific needs during the pandemic.
Organizing a 'virtual' field day would be the next best thing to do in such situations.
Comito et al (2017, 2021) had outlined the objectives of conducting virtual field days and possible challenges we are likely to encounter while organizing them.
The objectives include (a) maintaining in-field content, (b) enabling simple access for every skill level of technology user and via most internet access configurations, and (c) offering interactive programmes facilitating conversations and question-and-answer engagement similar to those that occur during traditional field days.
Challenges that are likely to crop up include (a) scripting compelling and interesting programmes within a reduced programme time frame, (b) recording and editing video segments for integration with live elements during each session, (c) selecting an effective delivery platform, and
(d) conducting regular evaluation and revisions for ongoing improvement.
Taking these issues in to account, extension practitioners can conduct 'crop/commodity-specific' virtual field days to reach a much wider audience, as studies have shown that partici pant-satisfaction has been similar for both virtual and traditional field days.
This issue of JEE contains papers on topics such as agricultural financing awareness, efficiency of University technologies and impact of trainings. I hope, you would find them useful.
Do send your feedback on these papers to firstname.lastname@example.org.
D PUTHIRA PRATHAP