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#ISTE11 and Emerging #EdTech

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The 2011 International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) Annual Conference and Exposition is the largest education technology (EdTech) event in the United States. In this recap video from the conference, attendees share their thoughts about why they attended ISTE and what they think is the future of EdTech.

It was my first time attending an ISTE event and I was greatly impressed. Educators + Solution Providers + Technology + Strategy = Awesome!

For more info about ISTE, check out my ISTE recap post at InsideHigherEd.com

Disclosure: My attendance at #ISTE11 was supported by the Adobe Education Team.

Written by Eric Stoller

July 19th, 2011 at 11:41 am

Disagreeing with Bill Gates

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Bill Gates and I don’t often disagree. However, at the recent Techonomy conference, Bill was predicting the future of higher education. I took umbrage with some of his comments. Per his usual rhetoric, Bill positioned technology as the panacea for the future of higher education.

Here are some of Bill’s comments:

“The self-motivated [college] learner will be on the web and there will be far less place-based things.”
“College, except for the parties…. needs to be less place-based.”
“Place-based activity in that ‘college thing’ will be 5 times less important than it is today.”
“The room for innovation, thank God for charters, there’s no room for innovation in the standard system.”

Bill’s commentary at the conference was picked up by TechCrunch and posted as “Bill Gates: In Five Years The Best Education Will Come From The Web.”

The post quickly spread like a wildfire throughout Twitter:

“In five years, the best education will come from the web.” – @billgates http://cot.ag/aK6f0Mless than a minute ago via CoTweet

The interesting thing is that the quote that’s being passed around on Twitter as originating from Bill Gates seems to have been actually just the post title from TechCrunch. I wasn’t able to find video or text where Bill Gates actually said what is being attributed to him by a lot of folks on Twitter.

The disturbing aspects of Bill’s quotes from the video are that he seems to have a negative attitude toward the physical spaces of higher education. Bill constructs his arguments around cost and access, but fails to adequately critique his own points. “Self-motivated learners” generally do not include students from traditionally marginalized groups. Bill Gates went to an exclusive preparatory high school and attended Harvard College. His is not a story of overcoming obstacles. Access issues are pervasive in higher education. Socioeconomic status catapulted Gates to where he is today. His arguments around access fail to include awareness of the digital divide in terms of both class and disability. Simply offering more web-based opportunities for learning will not improve access issues. And don’t get me started about the bit about “parties” being the only rationale for “place-based” institutions.

Bill’s rhetoric is consistently anti-student-involvement. Gates approaches his arguments from the position that every student is coming out of an innovative charter school and where self-motivated learners roam the higher education sphere. What Bill is forgetting is that involvement is crucial to student success. Can a student be successful when there primary involvement opportunities take place via the web — absolutely. However, most of our students benefit tremendously from their involvement and interactions within the brick and mortar activities of their educational institution.

Student involvement theory is a foundational element for student affairs professionals. Research has shown that increased involvement leads to higher amounts of persistence and greater academic success.

According to Alexander Astin (1984) [pdf]:

[S]tudent involvement refers to the amount of physical and psycho- logical energy that the student devotes to the academic experience. Thus, a highly involved student is one who, for example, devotes considerable energy to studying, spends much time on campus, participates actively in student organizations, and interacts frequently with faculty members and other students.

Astin (1984) concluded that “the greater the student’s involvement in college, the greater will be the amount of student learning and personal development.”

I wish that Bill Gates would offer a blended approach. Why can’t we have both? Amazing opportunities can be created to support students in both the virtual and physical spheres.

References
Astin, A. (1984). Student involvement: a developmental theory for higher education. Journal of College Student Personnel, 25(4), 297-308.

Student Affairs + Jobs + RSS + Email

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Using RSS to conduct a student affairs job search

Conducting a successful student affairs job search requires patience, networking, and technology. That’s right, technology. One particular tech tool that is extremely useful for conducting a search is RSS. Job postings delivered to your feed reader via RSS means that new job announcements are efficiently delivered to your virtual doorstep.

If you aren’t familiar with using RSS, please watch this video for more information:

If you need an RSS feed reader, I would highly recommend using Google Reader:

There are a few student affairs websites that offer job postings via RSS feeds, including:

Remember to look for the RSS symbol – RSS Symbol – or for a link to RSS data. Ideally, all student affairs job sites will offer RSS feeds in the near future as this makes conducting a search ultra-convenient.

An alternative to RSS feeds for job postings is the “Email Alert.” Several sites offer email alerts based on a variety of search queries. ACPA, The Chronicle of Higher Education, The Placement Exchange, and the Higher Education Recruitment Consortium all offer student affairs job search updates via email alerts.

In addition to the RSS and Email solutions mentioned above, most student affairs associations / higher education news sites offer job listings on their websites. Here are direct links to the student affairs job listings for the following associations / resource sites.

Student Affairs jobs via professional associations:

Student Affairs jobs via higher education publications / job sites:

What I’m reading

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In Defense of Food: An Eater's Manifesto
The Whuffie Factor: The 5 Keys for Maxing Social Capital and Winning with Online Communities
slide:ology: The Art and Science of Creating Great Presentations
Guns, Germs and Steel
Invisible Man
Twitterville: How Businesses Can Thrive in the New Global Neighborhoods
Fascinate: Unlocking the Secret Triggers of Influence, Persuasion, and Captivation
Social Media 101
Seeing Color: Indigenous Peoples and Racialized Ethnic Minorities in Oregon
No One Is Illegal: Fighting Racism and State Violence on the U.S.-Mexico Border
White Men Challenging Racism: 35 Personal Stories



eric’s favorite books »

What are you reading?

Written by Eric Stoller

May 16th, 2010 at 6:51 pm

Academic Advising & Social Media

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NACADA Tech in Advising Recommendations for Use of Online Social Communication in Academic Advising

The purpose of these recommendations is to provide guidance to Academic Advisors contemplating the inclusion of on-line social communication tools in their personal or programmatic advising design.

For the purposes of this discussion, Online Social Communications will be understood as externally hosted Web environments, sometimes referred to as Social Media Environments, in which information is aggregated, presented and shared. Further, where functionality exist, the environments allow you to document and filter connections between individuals, maintain profiles, support multimedia, and facilitate communication with a time shift supporting response at user-defined times. On-Line Social Communication environments include Facebook and other Online Social Networks, Twitter, YouTube, personal blogs and wiki pages. Since Facebook’s introduction in 2004, an ever-increasing number of advisors, student services specialists, academic units and universities have been leveraging the benefits of an on-line presence.

The expanding use of on-line social communication by advisors and advising offices, evidenced by numerous publications and presentations over the past five years, encouraged the NACADA Commission for Technology in Advising to proffer the following recommendations when considering inclusion of Social Communication tools in the delivery of advising information:

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Resources from our ACPA Social Media session

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About a week ago, I had the opportunity to co-present at the ACPA National Convention with Kenn Elmore, John Battaglino and Teri Bump. Fortunately for the four of us, we were able to secure a larger room as our session had about 60 people in attendance.

We didn’t give out handouts at our session. Our keynote slides had images on them and only a word or two. I’ve received emails from folks who attended, as well as from people who were following via the #ACPA10 Twitter backchannel, requesting a copy of our slides. While we were sans paper at our session, we were certainly not without a lot of bits of information.

Giving a presentation at ACPA in Boston

Our session was titled “Wise and Connected – Demystifying Social Media for SSAOs and Directors.” We had 2 screens/lcd projectors running simultaneously during the session. On one screen was our keynote slideshow…we combined our slides like Voltron just moments before our session. On the other screen was a live stream (via wifi) of everything that was being said via Twitter using the #ACPA10 and #ACPASSAO hashtags. (Note that the ACPASSAO hashtag provided ample fodder for attendees). We even used clickers from Turning Technologies (these were the same clickers that were used at the opening of the convention). Overall, it was a very high tech, high touch session.

We live streamed all of the Twitter commentary using Twitterfall. Twitterfall has an amazing “presentation mode” that is perfect for the live streaming of tweets. The streaming screen provided probably the funniest moment (for me at least) of our session when @ACPAConvention tried to distract me! It should be noted that I did not look down, not even once. However, one of us did use a 4 letter word at one point during our session.

A lot of people wanted the link for the “Leadership Video.” I’ve dubbed said video as “Who wants to watch EDS dance on a hill?”. I wasn’t really the “lone nut” in this video, but I like to think that I could have been:

A terrific leader in Student Affairs who is utilizing social media is Kenn Elmore, Dean of Students at Boston University. If you have not yet visited the Dean of Students website at BU, please check it out. The site is a wonderful example of how social media can be integrated into a higher ed student affairs site. The folks at BU use Twitter, Facebook, Flickr and Blogs.

Did you know that you can get a lot out of Twitter without ever posting? Twitter can be a great resource for news, events and general information.

Here’s a terrific primer on “Twitter 101″ from the makers of Twitter.

Once you become an avid Twitter user, you may find that the functionality at Twitter.com doesn’t give you enough options. For “power twittering,” I would recommend that you use TweetDeck. TweetDeck is a free application that will become a staple in your Twitter diet. They even make a version of TweetDeck for the iPhone. What’s that you say? Don’t have an iPhone? Never fear, if you are a Blackberry user, I would recommend trying UberTwitter. You can even use Twitter using standard text messages via any mobile phone.

When I started talking about RSS, I noticed that folks went into an acronym sleep. For more information on RSS, Social Media, Twitter and a host of other online things, please check out Common Craft. The Common Craft videos break down complicated concepts into easily digestible informational videos.

One of my favorite uses of social media that we did not have a chance to talk about is #SAChat:

We talked a little bit about Facebook too…we packed a lot of info, entertainment, and education in our hour and fifteen. I can’t wait to do it again.

NACADA Region 8 is on Twitter

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NACADA Technology Seminars

The NACADA Technology Seminar at the NACADA Region 8 Conference resulted in a lot of Twitter activity. As the lead faculty at the technology seminar I was very pleased with the level of professional engagement that occurred on Twitter. Participants used Twitter hashtags (#NACADATech or #NACADAR8) to create a back channel of connectivity. It was inspiring to see so many of the technology seminar participants using their Twitter skills during the conference. Hundreds of NACADA-related tweets were generated!

Here are the top contributors:

#NACADATECH:
@ericstoller (24)
@oakvich (23)
@UOAdvDir (15)
@sally_garner (14)
@laurapasquini (13)
@mavet (7)
@yojpoj (5)
@OSUMary (4)
@tbump (4)
@dmmoos (3)
@OSU_UESP (3)
@stephaniehambli (3)

#NACADAR8:
@ericstoller (25)
@kurtxyst (23)
@cschwenn (15)
@oakvich (15)
@sally_garner (13)
@UOAdvDir (7)
@ReaAdvising (5)
@laurapasquini (3)
@OSU_UESP (3)
@AdvisorLoftis (2)
@BilOregon (2)
@carmenincalgary (2)
@OGPY (2)

PS: Thanks to Julie Meloni for providing me with the NACADA hashtag stats.

ACPA wants us to Mingle

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ACPA wants us to use a MingleStick at the Annual Convention in Boston in 2010

Slightly hidden, due to a minuscule font size, within the recent ACPA eCommunity email update was an interesting question: “Are You Ready To Mingle?” Intrigued, I read the rest of the “mingle” text:

Are You Ready To Mingle?
Engage in real life social networking at the Boston 2010 Annual Convention. This new and innovative technology enables attendees to simply ‘click to connect’ at the event and then share their online profiles after the event.

With over 4,500 ACPA members expected to attend the Annual Convention in Boston, the MingleStick may provide an interesting means for folks to exchange contact information. Instead of business cards, attendees can use the MingleStick to exchange electronic profiles. This is slightly similar to the iPhone Bump app. I predict that there will be a lot of digital mingling at ACPA.

The MingleStick plugs in via USB to your computer, uploads its data to the MingleStick website and allows you to browse your recent connections. An individual’s profile information is dependent on what they have included in their public MingleStick profile.

MingleStick digital mingling at ACPA Annual Convention in Boston 2010

I’m co-presenting a session titled “Wise and Connected – Demystifying Social Media for SSAOs and Directors.” I have a feeling that we will end up polling the room to see who is using a MingleStick and whether or not they are including their Facebook and Twitter accounts on their public MingleStick profiles.

What do you think? Will you engage in digital mingling at ACPA via a MingleStick?

ACPA + NASPA + Student Affairs Technology

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ACPA and NASPA and Student Affairs Technology

ACPA recently sent out an email announcement calling for applications for the ACPA Technology Advisory Committee:

The ACPA Technology Advisory Committee (TAC) is a member-driven advisory committee charged by the Executive Director of ACPA with developing the association’s long term Information Technology strategic plan and evaluating and recommending technology initiatives aimed at furthering the association’s strategic initiatives. In addition, the TAC is tasked with evaluating large-scale IT project requests to determine their applicability to long- and short-term association goals and, when necessary, to priority rank IT initiatives.

The TAC description made me feel quite hopeful about the state of student affairs technology…and then I read the following:

You don’t have to be a technology expert to apply. We are looking for committed ACPA members with an interest in technology who are not afraid to voice their thoughts.”

Why, oh why, does membership in the TAC, which will drive the long term information technology strategic plan for ACPA, not require that someone be a technology expert? How can you evaluate IT projects, further strategic initiatives, and recommend technologies if you are not an expert? Is ACPA saying that there are not student affairs practitioners who are technology experts?

Not to be outdone by the ACPA Technology Advisory Committee notice, NASPA Tech Tools recently posted a word-for-word copy of a 2 month-old article about Google Wave from the Chronicle of Higher Education without really attributing the article. The NASPA Tech Tools site was created to “bridge the gap between student affairs and technology.” Unfortunately, it seems like a chasm at the moment…

What is going on with the state of student affairs and technology? 3 years have passed since I last wrote about ACPA, NASPA, and technology and it’s hard to tell if anything substantial has happened.

Academic Advising + Technology

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Excerpt from an interview that I just participated in…a few thoughts on technology and academic advising:

I have heard a number of advisors at conferences, who attend a session about technology in advising, and say something to the effect of This is nice, but how much time is this going to take up? I don’t have enough time as it is!” How do you answer that?

I really hope that we start redefining the paradigms of technology use in advising…it’s part of our toolkit, we need to embed a high level of use/competency in our positions.The time issue/question is interesting as it conflates increased technology use with decreased amounts of time. I always say that technology and its use actually increases our time…makes us better connected, more efficient, etc. It’s that initial learning curve that people confuse as time wasting when it is really just a small part of increasing their overall time. Folks in our profession (academic advising) seem to have been conditioned that learning new technology is somehow a burden or something that is “in addition” to the norm…we really need to re-define this or our future is not looking very good.

Written by Eric Stoller

November 29th, 2009 at 1:19 pm