Maverick Minute provides education outside classroom

While Ash Grove agriculture students shelter at home during the wellness break, their instructor, Nathan Isakson, is continuing to provide ag instruction through a new video series called “Maverick Minute.” Isakson, who records the videos with the help of his wife, Taylor, posts a new video every week; the videos are filmed using a smart phone.

Title reflects uncertainty of times:
The title of the series, Isakson said, comes from combining the words Maverick, “an unbranded yearling beef animal” and Minute, to show “the simplicity” of the videos’ topics. Isakson said the title reflects the uncertainty of the times society is currently facing.
“Historically, Mavericks were branded prior to cattle drives to ensure proof of ownership, as they would be traveling through less-familiar territory in a massive herd,” he said. “Today, educationally speaking, we are undoubtedly traveling through unfamiliar territory. As I began preparing my online coursework for my students, I remember thinking ‘I have always felt that being confined to a classroom was a barrier to teaching about agriculture, and now I have the best agriculture classroom ever, our family farm’. This inspired Maverick-Minute. By name, Maverick references this ‘new frontier’ and the overall livestock/cattle theme of our topics, and Minute indicates the simplicity of our topics.”

More than just ag students watching:
Each video begins with an inspirational quote, followed by a “Student Shoutout,” in which Isakson recognizes individual Ash Grove ag students for their accomplishments in agriculture, followed by virtual instruction in a particular topic. The topics, he said, are “related to current conditions relating to cattle production.”
“My goal is to feature thought-provoking content that allows cattle producers an opportunity to improve their unique farming operations,” he said.
Isakson designed Maverick Minute with his students and adults in the agriculture community in mind, but he said it is being viewed by an even wider audience.
“I have learned recently that some elementary-aged students in Ash Grove and Summersville are tuning in and watching our episodes as a way to learn about agriculture, and a former foreign-exchange student in Lithuania is watching as well,” he said.

Shooting the videos:
While each video is under 20 minutes in length, actually shooting one takes much more time.
“A typical episode takes about 30 minutes to plan, two hours to (film) the needed video, and about two to three hours to edit … and add the appropriate instructional text at the bottom of the screen,” he said.


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