At 21st Century Equipment, we’re proud to provide customers with excellent John Deere products and outstanding service. In addition to this, we’re committed to making positive contributions in the communities in which we’re located. One way we love to do just that is through the use of our Mobile Learning Lab. What started as an out-of-the-box dream has developed into a program utilized to enrich communities across Nebraska!
In 2022, 21st Century Equipment was awarded funds by a Nebraska Developing Youth Talent Initiative (DYTI) grant. These funds were used to construct our Mobile Learning Lab. The lab is equipped with STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) resources to be used by 7th and 8th grade students. It exposes youth to the litany of H3 job opportunities available in Nebraska, specifically in agriculture. H3 means “high wage, high skill and high demand.”
“The primary purpose of this project is to inspire interest in STEM opportunities by exposing students to these things earlier in their educational journey,” said 21st Century Equipment President & CEO Owen Palm. “We also want kids to see they can have a rewarding, great-paying career right here in the panhandle.”
A 40-foot gooseneck trailer serves as the shell for this innovative initiative. This setup allows for a portable, outdoor classroom that’s equipped with heating and air conditioning. Within the trailer are workstations that can be used in place or detached and moved into various classrooms as needed.These workstations include hands-on computer simulators capable of demonstrating various precision ag technologies. Other elements include a FarmBot, a robotic machine students can program to physically plant seed in various spacings, a 3D printer and a John Deere Gator™ that can be programmed to use GPS to navigate an obstacle course. The use of virtual reality (VR) goggles transports non-farm students on an actual working farm and feedlot tour.
Station 1: Soils Lab
Here, students can test pH and permeability as well as analyze various soil types.
Station 2: Electrical Lab
Students can diagnose a low-voltage electrical circuit and operate an impact wrench.
Station 3: TopoBox
This station utilizes augmented reality to allow students to visually see the effects of water flow as terrain changes.
Station 4: Drone Simulator
Using this technology, students can identify targets in an open field.
Station 5: Simulators (2)
Simulators allow users to virtually operate a tractor working in the field.
Station 6: FarmBot™ Robotic Planter
Students have the opportunity to program seed spacing, planting depth, watering schedule and actually plant seeds using this machine.
Station 7: AutoTrac™-Enabled X300 Lawn Tractor
A special lawn tractor steers itself through an obstacle course, allowing students to experience AutoTrac™ firsthand.
Station 8: Solar Power Electrical Generation Demonstration
Here, students can see how the sun’s energy can be leveraged to generate electricity. Jason Stratman serves as director of learning and leadership at 21st Century Equipment. His background in the world of education made him an excellent fit for this position. Before coming to work at our John Deere dealership, Jason served as dean of technical programs at a local community college. Mobile learning played a large role in his life at that time, so he came to 21st Century Equipment with experience leading similar initiatives.
“So many times in schools, kids learn a concept, but they don’t see a connection to how [that concept] really fits into everyday life,” said Jason. “So, what we’re trying to do here is help
students really make those connections between STEM concepts and real-life implications.”
To learn more about 21st Century Equipment’s Mobile Learning Lab or to inquire about scheduling the lab to visit your location, email STEM@21stcenturyequip.com.
21st Century Equipment is committed to empowering customer success. As a John Deere dealership with multiple locations across Nebraska, Colorado and Wyoming, our team offers the expertise, solutions and data-driven strategies you need. Find the location nearest you here