When planning the introduction of Eduponics into your school you should consider these key factors.
- Production Environment
- Fully or partially dedicated space (in a classroom or other space depending on climate, availability) as small as a closet or as large as a gymnasium depending the scale of the program and number of students enrolled, plus cabinet or closet space for technical supplies plus table space for harvesting, trimming and packaging. Safety concerns and student welfare should be the paramount concern.
- Air Quality
- Individual species have their own requirements; not everything plays well with everything else. Temperatures about 70ºF (20ºC) plus or minus a few degrees are typical; dropping temperatures at night as is common in schoolrooms may retard growth.
- Relative humidity varies with crop choice and may not be optimal for classroom situations.
- Bright and/or specially tinted lighting may be desirable for many crops, but these lighting conditions may not be optimal or even safe for students. Safety first!
- Knowledgeable Instructor(s)
- Depending on the goals and scale of the project, requires from 10 to 160 hours of classroom instruction (available from Eduponics in one to ten week formats) or comparable experience.
- At the secondary level we encourage team teaching with a business management program such as DECA.
- Hydroponic Growing Technology
- Projects can employ any of several growing modalities depending on scale of program and budgetary commitment of school.
- Year-around Support
- Through exhaustive research we have found that plants do not go into suspended animation during vacation periods. So at the least some intermittent supervision of the growing environment is needed year-around. This may be provided by custodial staff when school is not in session; during sessions it is typically provided by teachers and students, which requires release time and course credit.
- Technical Consultation
- Of course we and the teacher(s) may not anticipate everything at every school. Our staff is available to help with emerging problems both organizational and agricultural. Most of the time we assist using remote sensing and online consultation via video conference, but on-site visits can also be arranged.
- Produce Outlet
- Produce from the in-school farm is best served fresh, such as in the school cafeteria. This can create secondary learning opportunities in food handling and safety, meal preparation and nutrition studies, perhaps as a complement to traditional home economics courses.
- Science Liaison
- Much of the coursework has ties to subjects like botany, information technology and mathematics. Innovation by local teachers and related professionals are the key here. When shared back to Eduponics, these innovations become part of the shared curriculum, and the innovators share in the credit.
- By the way, this is all pretty cool. Done right it can be a magnet to engage students who may not enjoy traditional classroom fare or just want a bit more green in their academic diet or just like beating metaphors to death. Truly sneaky teachers can induce learning surrepticiously; we promise not to tell.
Example of a "green wall" - after Bright Agrotech
. Easily incorporated into a classroom given suitable environmental controls.