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Feeding FLOCO’s Future with Aquaponics

As populations grow and fewer young people enter into farming, the need for new and cost-effective solutions to maintain food supply becomes more urgent. Aquaponics is one such innovative solution that yields ample crops with more efficient use of land and water than conventional farming techniques.

A collaboration between North Florida’s largest aquaponics farm, Traders Hill Farm, and Nassau County School District is giving Wildlight students the opportunity to learn about aquaponics. This mutually beneficial partnership allows West Nassau High School students to apply what they learn by growing lettuce for the school cafeteria.

Working with aquaponics in science classes also helps prepare Nassau County students for careers in sustainable farming.

“With our biotechnology and aquaponics program at West Nassau, we have all phases of a model workforce development program,” Director of Career and Adult Education Brent Lemond told the Nassau County Economic Development Board. “There is an employer, Traders Hill Farm, assisting us to plan curriculum and ready to hire our graduates. We have a post-secondary partner in Florida State College at Jacksonville.”

We look forward to watching this program continue to grow (no pun intended)!


Television, personal computers, space flight… There’s no denying that the past century has been a huge one in terms of technological progress. But according to industry insiders, we’re just getting started.

In fact, some of our biggest innovators are forecasting that we’ll see more tech changes to our lifestyle over the next four to five years than we did over the past 100. What might that look like? Here are a few predictions:

1: Mind Control

Scientists have already created next-generation prosthetics where brain signals can move a robotic arm in the same way as a regular arm. The next step is wider uses for paralyzed patients, like mind-controlled wheelchairs and even day-to-day applications. The jury’s out on how soon we’ll be able to conjure up our favorite show with a thought, but experts agree it can’t be far off.

2: Bottleneck-Free Internet Access

The amount of time the average American home spends streaming, downloading and uploading, has challenged internet providers to up their game. While top providers offer average speeds of around 50 Mbps, that’s a snail’s pace compared to the gigabit communities now in development, which will have connections 20 times faster. Take a look at this video to see how one community is starting from scratch to bring unlimited bandwidth to its homes and businesses.

3: A Sharing Economy

You can share your home via Airbnb, borrow a dress on Rent the Runway and even lend out your private plane on OpenAirplane. These businesses are built on the idea that it’s more efficient to borrow something – say, a car – rather than own one that sits unused for 22 hours a day. Big players like Apple, Google and Uber are following this model and working on technology that will allow us to own less and share more.

4: Wall-to-Wall Screens

It’s hard to believe that your shiny new LCD TV may soon be considered an antique, but at the speed that display technology moves, it’s certainly a possibility. Imagine, walls, windows and mirrors covered with paper-thin OLED panels. Miniature chips in the screens will wirelessly connect to nearby devices, effectively eliminating TVs but bringing its viewing pleasure to every square inch of your house.


Tech Gets Schooled
As tablets take over for textbooks and Smart Boards seriously cut down on chalk dust, more and more research is being done on the impact of technology in the classroom. And – good news! – the results are overwhelmingly positive.

Technology lets student learn at their own pace.
One of the greatest struggles teachers face is balancing the learning needs and speeds of an entire classroom of students. Almost all of today’s teaching apps allow for individualized instruction, letting students work at their own pace. This fights boredom in faster learners and frees up the teacher to work one-on-one with students who might need a little extra instruction.

Students are more enthusiastic about learning when technology is involved.
If you’ve ever seen a 3-year-old (or a teenager, or anyone in between!) with an iPad, you know a thing or two about what gets kids excited. Harnessing that excitement and bringing it into the classroom can make lessons more fun – and more likely to stick. Researchers have found that students and teachers alike tend to be more engaged and motivated when technology is an integral part of a lesson.

Early access to technology prepares student for the future.
The role that technology plays in our students’ daily lives is huge – but it’s nothing compared to the role it’ll play when they enter the workforce. Beyond basic computer literacy, students with access to technology learn to adapt quickly and solve problems in a distinctly 21st-century way. Early introductions to technology like 3D printers and robotics lab might even spark a talent that would have otherwise been left untapped!

Check out this video to see how Nassau County Public Schools are keeping their students up on the latest technology.