Story in Brief
Extension programming during the COVID-19 pandemic provides the opportunity for innovative and non-traditional delivery methods. As a response to provide educational STEM opportunities to youth during this time, the Georgia 4-H Zoom into Science webinar series allows youth to directly engage from natural science experts in their respective fields using a virtual platform. Not only do participants learn science content, but they are also exposed to a variety of STEM-related careers. Each one-hour session focuses on a particular science concept. Presenters share their real-world experiences and allow youth to ask questions. All sessions are offered at no cost to families. To date, the Georgia 4-H Zoom into Science webinar series has offered 10 sessions engaging 743 families in real-time throughout the United States and Canada. Though the program was intended for Georgia 4-H families, successful social media promotion has quickly engaged 4-H youth at a larger geographic scale. Session topics have included astronomy, weather, animal prosthesis, paleontology, water, plant genetics, and sea turtles. Due to the programming being delivered in a virtual format, presenters residing in Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Texas and Wisconsin connected with the attendees. At the end of a session, one participant commented, “Thank you so much! I learned so much and want to be like you one day.” A 4-H professional from New York stated, “I do hope maybe even after this pandemic you may consider continuing these sessions? Very awesome!” Because of the short-term successes, plans to continue the series throughout the 2020-21 school year ere quickly formed. Additionally, a channel was created on Kaltura where the recorded sessions could be posted for asynchronous viewing.