To learn more about use of electronic technology among its clients, the University of Idaho Extension surveyed 80 university students and 135 potato farmers.
It was found that the farmers were likely to use more technology than the students were.
It was also found that younger people used more technology and that awareness of technology and source of news were other significant variables.
Implications for Extension practitioners include the following.
- The use of electronic technology by farmers should not be underestimated. Surprisingly, potato farmers are using more electronic technology than university students.
- Farm operations with young people involved in management are likely to use more electronic technology. Some Extension educational methods might need to be "age adjusted."
- Gender does not matter in the use of electronic technology. We found no statistically significant difference.
- Many farmers may be receptive to communication by email, websites, Facebook, Myspace, text messaging, YouTube, and other electronic means of communication. These technologies are not only for young people.
- Students and potato farmers do not differ in the level of use of electronic technology for some entertainment, such as Wii. Edutainment could be effective with audiences of all ages.
- Educational packages that use electronic technology and were developed for on-campus teaching would likely work well for potato farmers. Extension educational materials that use electronic technology could also be useful in university classrooms.