Archive for the ‘New Tech’ Category

SA Women Talk Tech: App Highlights, Pinterest, Instagram, & Flipboard

With given the task of highlighting apps, my choices actually were fairly easy.  As I suspect many of you can relate, I have downloaded more apps for my smartphone/tablet than I can count, but I find myself only going back to about 10 on a regular basis.  Below are some of the winners, the applications that make my life easier in some way, or feed my hobbies.

Pinterest It (ios)

I am a newbie to this social networking phenomenon, however, after one session at a conference called “Pinterest for organizers” I was hooked.  I’ll post more about how we can use this cool new platform very soon, but in the meantime, consider jumping on board one of the fastest growing social network around. Read Kristen Abell’s post on Pinterest or watch the helpful video I found about how Pinterest works (great if you are a visual learner like me).  If after learning more, you will want an invite, so feel free to email Kristen or I at jess.faulk [at]!

Apps to support your new Pinterest  habit:
View your account (iphone)
Pin it – add to your boards (iphone/ipad)
Android users feeling left in the cold?  Check out this article about 3rd party Pinterest android apps.

Instagram (ios)

I am a causal user of instagram, but everytime I stumble upon the app I am reminded how much I enjoy using it.  It is a fun way to share moments or cool shots of random things with friends and family, and it can result in some pretty awesome art for your apartment.  If you are interested in getting into the instagram craze, you can download the ios app.

For ios (iphone, ipad, ipod touch)
Apparently there are some rumors of it coming to android soon too!

Flipboard (ios)

My #1 app of choice is for content consumption on my ipad.  I love Flipboard because it is an awesome content curator (like an RSS feed) and gives me easy access to articles from all over the web.  It exposes me to more material than if I was just clicking around on the web, and it is easy to tweet or link to FB directly from the app. Zite (ios) and Google Currents (ios/android) are two alternatives to Flipboard that do basically the same thing.  Below is a video of google current so you can get a sense of the type of app (and because I am feeling guilty about all of the ios apps I am promoting ;)

Originally posted on Student Affairs Women Talk Tech blog 2/24/12


Does our constant connectedness kill our creativity?

Commuting. Walking. Waiting. We are never alone.  We have angry birds, plants vs. zombies, and facebook to keep us company. Whether we are sitting completely alone in a room, or waiting in a room full of dozens of others, our phones are our pacifiers and our safety net.  If you have 20 minutes until the next bus comes, you don’t fret because you know you have something to occupy your time.  If you are caught in a space with people you don’t know, you don’t have to reach outside of your comfort zone and awkwardly talk to someone else, you just pull out your phone.

I know you have heard it all before.  Pundits tell you to unplug from technology.  Authors write about how it is hurting our ability to get work done.  We feel guilty for being allowing a dependence on our techno gadgets.  It’s easy to rationalize our relationship with technology (and specifically our smart phones) because you see so many others around you with the same approach.

I am no different.  I never leave home without my iphone in my pocket and my ipad in my purse.  However I read an article a while back that planted an idea in my head that has been eating at me.  Does our constant connectedness kill our creativity?

As a techie, your mind probably does the same thing that mine does – instantly defends the stance that constant technological connectedness ENHANCES our creativity.  We share ideas, we build communities, we are exposed to new perspectives!  What could be bad about that?

But consider this; what did you used to do in all of those moments commuting, walking, and waiting before you had a smartphone?  Daydreaming, list making and absorbing information about your surroundings.  You were taking in the world in a different way.  Perhaps it was just to see an exciting new font, a shoe style on the person next to you that reminded you to call your brother, or read a magazine that had an article that spurs your next blog post.  The article I read proposed that without these moments of daydreaming, the unstructured time in our lives not invaded by videogames, facebook, and TV shows, we don’t allow ourselves to make the random connections that become a fully formed thought, which in turn can become an idea that leads to a true creativity.

I am not proposing that we cut all technology out of our lives.  I am certainly not suggesting we throw out our smart phones (my iphone isn’t going anywhere!).  I am simply suggesting that instead of pulling out a smartphone the next time you are on the subway or waiting in line, you consider using those precious minutes in your life to just take in the world around you and see what creative moments it might inspire.

Note: I do want to acknowledge that I am writing this article aimed at the privileged folks in Student Affairs who are able to afford a smartphone and other fancy pieces of tech.  If you are not one of those people, consider my article as a good way to rationalize enjoying this freedom from the smartphone world, and how much more thoughtful you have the potential be without the distraction J


Originally posted on the SA Women Talk Tech Blog at:


When making this the #NASPA11 and #ACPA11, I received so many fabulous ideas, I couldn’t possibly incorporate them all.  I also wanted to make sure that I wasn’t counting anyone out who didn’t know the “inside lingo” of the #sachat or twitter community.  SO, I figured would go ahead and pull all of the twitteriftic ideas together into one fun geeky board. For those of you playing #SAbingo at the conference, feel free to pick your favorite board, the #ACPA11 general board, or the one I made especially for the #sachat community below.

My only hope is to make a few people smile (and possible even make a few connections with one another) by adding a “game layer” to the conference experience.  I’ll be enjoying the #ACPA11 backchannel from home, so keep tweeting!

Looking for #sachat presenters? Visit one of the the running lists: google doc #1 & google doc #2

Remember, tweet your bingo pics to me and I will post them on my blog, or tag them #sabingo for all to see!

SAChat Bingo

Thanks especially to @NikiRudolph, @MikeJHamilton, and @EricStoller for the Bingo ideas (plus anyone else I might have forgot!)


Do I get an #acpa11 bingo square for spotting 3 professionals in a row wearing argyle socks?Mon Mar 28 19:18:39 via Twitter for Android

Kathy Petras gets credit for her own minglestick of course!

Do light up “minglesticks” from 2010 count? (cc. @OberBecca @KARupert ) RT @jessfaulk: #ACPA11 BINGO Mar 25 03:51:29 via TweetDeck

Laura Pasquini gets bingo credit for herself. Anyone else need to know what a PLN is? Find Laura to ask, watch the Student Affairs Life Podcast, or flip through Laura’s presentation slides. For the geeks out there, you will know what I am talking about when I say ” </silos> now”

Wow. How cool! Great idea = gaming RT @jessfaulk: tweeting up 2night #acpa11 #sachat bingo SPECIAL EDITION Mar 28 00:37:32 via Seesmic for Android


NEACUHO Residence Life 2.0: Living in a Quick Response (QR) world

Email, cell phone, and text messages all enable us to stay connected with people in our lives and quickly exchange communication at any time of day.  These quick exchanges have led us to expect things quicker; fast replies to our emails, text messages, fast access to information, etc.  How many times have you been sitting at a restaurant with a friend who asked a question and someone just HAD to look up the answer on their smart phone? We love having information at our fingertips and we’ve come to expect that the businesses that we interact with will make it easy for us.

Enter QR Codes.  Quick response (QR) codes help us and our students access information in a super quick and easy way.  They bring interactivity to traditional text advertisements or articles, and they have endless possibilities!

Before you can get as excited as I am about the potential, I need to slow down and take a step back, as many of you have probably never heard of these wonderful marketing tools.  QR codes are similar to barcodes, in that there is an image that can be placed on printed material that when scanned is interpreted by a computer or a phone.  But QR codes are more versatile than barcodes because when scanned they can take you to a website, a video, a person’s contact information, a phone number, or a text.  The other great thing about these codes is that they are open source, so anyone can make one, and anyone with a camera phone (or ipod) and internet connection can access them.  Access to new information is instantaneous when you scan the image with any number free of QR code readers that are available for all phone platforms.

In 2009, the EDUCAUSE Center for Applied Research published a study (PDF) of undergraduate students, stating, “more than half of respondents (51.2%) owned an Internet- capable handheld device and another 11.8% planned to purchase one in the next 12 months.”  We know that a large number of our students are ‘connected at the thumb’ to their phones, which should lead us to think: How to we use this insight to our advantage?

Are you now starting to see the possibilities?  Let’s look at some ways that you can use QR codes on your campus!

1. Marketing

This is the most obvious use for QR codes, and once you know what they are, you will start to notice that many companies are using them already.  A QR code on a flyer for an upcoming concert could take the student to a YouTube video of the artist, or to the Facebook events page to allow them to RSVP. You can also simply link the code to your own website for students to learn about more upcoming activities or to a google map to show people how to get to an event.  Take note that the best experience will be sending students to a website that is optimized for mobile phones.

2. Surveys

Ed Cabellon at Bridgewater State University shared that at the recent Association of College Unions International (ACUI) conference presenters were using QR codes for attendees to go to evaluations of the session to fill out on their phone.  Noel-Levitz suggests using QR codes to do quick surveys of students. Do you think your students might be willing to fill out a 2-3 question survey on their phone while waiting in line for the food?  Want to give QR linked surveys a try?  Scan the

QR code on this page and fill out a quick survey for me about this article!

QR cupakes

Image courtesy of Flickr, clevercupcakes

3. Scavenger Hunts/Tours reported on a citywide scavenger hunt in New York City that utilized QR codes to send participants to the next location in the game.  Teachers can use them to innovate learning, and orientation programs or admissions offices can use them to help students get to know the campus or surrounding area better.  If you create your own QR code hunt/tour be sure to partner students without camera/internet enabled phones with other students or to provide options at your office for students to participate without a phone.

4. Tagging resources for “take away”
Libraries are finding the usefulness of QR codes for allowing students to walk away from a resource search with the details of the search in their hands.  No need for little slips of paper and those tiny pencils that never work.  As the Association of College & Research Libraries shares, QR codes can be “placed on audio book cases for author interviews or books for reviews” or “placed on study room doors connecting to room reservation forms.” Visit the link above for a list of additional ideas. Libraries may have a head start on when it comes to technology, which is a great reason to learn from their successes for our own use.

5. Sharing your contact information
Another interesting way to utilize QR codes is through networking.  In this informative video I learned that folks at google are starting to put them on the back of their business cards so that clients don’t need to engage in the tedious process of entering contact information into their address book.  I am excited for the day when Student Affairs professionals start having QR codes on the back of their name tags at conferences so that when you meet someone new all you have do is turn over your nametag and scan to exchange info.

6. Accessing how-to information

One of most exciting ways for me to think of QR codes is about how they can make both students’ lives and our own easier.  I was impressed to learn from EDUCAUSE that University of Leicester is using QR codes in equipment rooms to easily access how to manuals or video. I can imagine my own department working on creating easy videos via screenr to link videos such as “How housing selection works” or “How to check out of your room” and directing students to this more dynamic context through napkin holders in our dining commons or on our bulletin boards.  I know that I for one would rather be shown how to do something than have to read about it and I imagine many of our students would appreciate it as well.

Student Affairs offices need to get as smart as marking companies about tracking data. Similar to the way or tracks clicks through to a website, you can gather analytics on your QR code scans so that you can later report to your Director or Dean how successful your campaign has been.  The data can also help you determine where and how to market for future programs!

When considering whether to use the codes on your campus remember that your student body (and staff) may need some educating on how to use them first. You could consider a Social Media Week like Bridgewater State University, or put explanation text next to the code when you start.   I want to acknowledge that this technology, like others will be affected by class disparity. Not all institutions will have a student body that are using smart phones with internet connectivity or may have international student population without US cell phones. For now, you can consider QR code as a possible addition to marketing you are already doing, not a replacement, and your campus can consider additional funding for mobile devices that can be checked out for use at the gym, library or anywhere else you are employing the codes.


Whether you decide to use them on flyers, T-shirts, or equipment, I believe that they will be coming to college campuses soon, and I think Student Affairs professionals can really benefit from their use.


To create your own codes and start experimenting with the possibilities you can visit QR Media for a list of generators. Make sure that you test each code with multiple types of phones before putting your flyers to print.


If you want to learn more about possible QR uses, you can read the articles that inspired me to write this article or see videos on how they are being used.


Note: Due to the large number of articles I referenced I decided to link directly to each webpage throughout my blog.  A full reference list can be found here (in a few days).

Please feel free to visit to comment on the blog post and share with others how your campus is using QR codes! 

This blog was originally posted on the NEACUHO Navigator March newsletter.

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