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  • Author or Editor: B.R. Smith x
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The game-show format, used recurrently in an undergraduate-level, introductory plant propagation course, fostered a friendly, competitive incentive for students to master facts and concepts critical to understanding processes in plant physiology. Because student teams, rather than individuals, served as the contestants in each game, and because game points were never translated into grade points, participants and observers learned from and enjoyed the exercises without anxiety. Propagation-specific clues and questions were prepared for “Wheel of Fortune,” “Win, Lose, or Draw,” and other games. These were followed up at the end of each semester with several play-off rounds of a plant propagation variant of “Jeopardy!”, which served as an excellent means of course synthesis and review of key concepts. The format allowed for liberal use of humor as an effective pedagogical tool and resulted in the hands-on contributions of former students in construction of new game quizzes and puzzles for subsequent semesters.

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In the mid-1980s, a statewide educational program was initiated to help improve productivity in replanted apple orchards. This effort began with a study of the background of the problem in Washington and an assessment of the problems growers faced when replanting orchards. An array of potential limiting factors were identified-most important, specific apple replant disease (SARD)-but also low soil pH, poor irrigation practices, arsenic (As) spray residues in the soil, soil compaction, nematodes, nutrient deficiencies, and selection of the appropriate orchard system. The educational program was delivered using a variety of methods to reach audience members with different learning styles and to provide various levels of technical information, focusing on ways to correct all limiting factors in replant situations. Results have been: Acceptance of soil fumigation as a management tool: increased recognition of soil physical, chemical, and moisture problems; reduced reliance on seedling rootstock, and an increase in the use of dwarfing, precocious understocks; and better apple tree growth and production in old apple orchard soils.

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