The BACHA Byte: The Office Techie

Welcome to the regular tech column of the BACHA online newsletter.  My passion is in teaching tech, so I invite you will come with me on a journey into the exciting (and sometimes intimidating) world of emerging technology.  Each issue we will explore a new topic, or a possible use for software you may have never know even existing.  It is my goal to make your live easier, and in the process, maybe we will have some fun as well!

As the writer of the tech column, I have a confession to make – I am a wannabe techie.  Yes, it is true; I don’t know everything there is to know about the tech world.  I especially don’t know everything there is to know about the intersection of tech and the Higher Ed world.  Now I am sure there are a few of my colleagues that would disagree with that statement.  Folks at work tend to think of me as the tech guru.  Every campus or student affairs department has one, a person who knows just enough about computers, social media, or smart phones that everyone else has given them the default role of office techie.  So here is the big secret, they don’t know everything either!  We are just faking it, and figuring it out along the way.  Anyone can do, it just takes a passion for learning.  Clearly we all have that or we wouldn’t be in this field.  It also takes curiosity and patience.

For every techie or wannabe tech out there, we started with questions: How does this work?  How can I use this to make my life easier?  What is all the fuss about this new [blog, twitter program, iphone app, etc.]?  I am sure you have pondered the same questions.  But the difference between the office techie and the non-techie is that they have the patience to figure out the answers to those questions.

I want to encourage all of you to rethink your relationship with technology.  Don’t be intimidated by it.  If you didn’t know how to run a staff meeting, advise an organization, or do a judicial, you wouldn’t just step aside and let someone else do it for you right?  Well, then think of technology like you think of these tasks, as an integral part of your role as a student affairs practitioner.  Listen, learn, practice and have patience, just as you would in conquering any other aspect of your job.

If that common sense doesn’t convince you, let me try intimidation.  According to Student Affairs Advisory Council (2010), 93% of teens are online, spending an average of 25 hours on the Internet per month.  They send and receive an average of 2899 texts per month.  In a 2008 NASPA study of college students, it was found that 83% of students own laptops, 94% own cell phones, and 91% of students own or plan to purchase internet-capable cell phones.  Students live and breathe new forms of communications and we need to engage with them if we want to reach our student body.

For this first column, I am going to simply start by introducing you to some wonderful online resources that can get you thinking about how you and your institution may want to engage with tech.  Hopefully many of you have already heard of these wonderful resources and have bookmarked may more sites.  I would be excited to share these resources with the larger tech community.  Please message me via twitter at http://twitter.com/jessfaulk or email me at web@bacha.org.  Enjoy the following links with my commentary on why you should check them out!

SA CollaborativeThe Student Affairs Collaborative: Giving student affairs peers a platform to connect, share, and learn.
http://thesabloggers.org/
This site is a conduit to a larger student affairs community on line.  Visit the SA Blog to read reflections by other student affairs practitioners, or to see what is happening during the weekly student affairs discussions on Twitter.  Search #sachat every Thursdays at 12pm and 6pm to see what folks are talking about.

breakdrink.comBreak Drink: Quenching your thirst for Professional Development
http://breakdrink.com/
This site really made me feel as though I were not alone.  I immediately thought, you mean there are other student affairs professionals with a passion for teaching technology?  I am home.  Check out this site to listen to podcast on the latest social media topics and to find out when their next fully on line conference will take place.

Inside Higher EdInside HigherEd: Online source for news, opinion and jobs for all of higher education
http://www.insidehighered.com/

Fascinating articles on all things in higher ed., not just technology.  Watch out, you could spend hours reading articles and listening to podcasts.

Sources:
Student Affairs Leadership Council, Managing IT in Student Affairs Organizations (2010):
“Profile of Today’s College Students,” NASPA. 2008. (accessed January 7, 2010); Salaway, Gail, Judith Borrenson Caruso, and Mark R. Nelson.

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