The Commodore 64 was a magical device. When I was a kid, the “C64” was my initial experience with a computer. I typed papers for class (printing them out on a dot matrix printer), played a few rudimentary games (high tech back then!) and even managed to dabble a bit with programming. I was excited for the future of technology…the hype of what was yet to come.
While “technology hype” is often criticized, I am as excited today about the prospects of new technologies as when I was learning how to use the now ancient C64. For example, while watching an interview with Neil deGrasse Tyson, I learned that there are plans to create tiny space probes powered by lasers that can go almost 167,654,157 miles per hour. That’s technology that gets me hyped. It’s science (almost) fiction today that will be our reality in the near future.
So how does this connect to higher education? Commodore 64s, space probes, etc? It’s all about a sense of experimentation, trying to do things that weren’t possible before something was invented that now lets us do something new…or better. In higher education, we aren’t always the most high-tech. However, we do interface with a massive amount of technologies that create opportunities to enhance student success.
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
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.”
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.
[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.
Astin, A. (1984). Student involvement: a developmental theory for higher education. Journal of College Student Personnel, 25(4), 297-308.
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:
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:
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:
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!
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…
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.
I almost forgot to post this… A few weeks ago, I was meeting with one of my advisees. I wanted to show them something on the OSU Registrar’s web site. When I arrived on the Registrar’s URL, the “Reported Attack Site!” warning appeared in Firefox. It turns out that several high-level OSU sites were hacked and that several were still suffering from residual hack effects.
For users accessing a web page, you may receive a message that states something similar to: “Warning: Visiting this site may harm your computer…site contains malware”. If you see this visiting oregonstate.edu (the Home Page), the calendar, or the campus map the issue is resolved.
Google does not always create accessible products (GoogleWave). However, sometimes they do a good job of increasing the accessibility of an existing service. I hope that Vimeo gets the message that accessibility is important.
In the first major step toward making millions of videos on YouTube accessible to deaf and hearing-impaired people, Google unveiled new technologies that will automatically bring text captions to many videos on the site.