Where’s Your Digital “Water Cooler” for Professional Development?

Social media has afforded a number of educators (both in higher ed and K-12) a space and place to share, learn, curate, and connect.  If you look online, you will find no shortage of educational hashtags, podcasts, blogs, Twitter chats, online groups, and more. These user-driven, digital communities are thriving as teachers, faculty, staff, and students seek out professional development virtually. It makes sense as social media PD is on-demand, socially integrated, accessible from a variety of devices, portable, and FREE!

Image c/o Killer Infographics (https://vimeo.com/89969554)
Image c/o Killer Infographics https://vimeo.com/89969554

Last week, I shared how our networked communities are a bit like a digital water cool for PD on Vicki Davis’ (@coolcatteacher) 10-Minute Teacher Podcast, episode no. 19: Social Media PD Best Practices #DLDay (or Listen on iTunes). Check out the wealth of resources from Vicki, that definitely spills past K-12 education sphere:

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In looking at these social media spaces, both for research and practice, I am grateful for the learning, support, and care I have received from my peers. I share about the #AcAdv Chat community on this podcast and how it has impacted my practices, with regards to how I support learners in academic advising and instruction. Not only has it been a form of PD, but I am thankful for the connections I have made on a personal level.  I have a number of #AcAdv colleagues have become close friends, and I value them well beyond being a Twitter follower or Facebook reaction in my feed.

These social technologies are connecting professional to help us in the workplace. They allow us to be more fluid to allow for us to search for ideas, share effective practices, offer just-in-time training, and broadcast our daily work experiences online.

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These social media “water coolers” are having an impact on how we work in higher ed. It’s not the medium, per se, but we should examine how these platforms impact our social interactions and community development in the field. I believe social media affords us great opportunities for how we share information, curate knowledge, support professional learning, and apply ideas into our practice. That being said, there are challenges and issues we must also consider with regards to professional identity development, being in a networked space to learn, and how these mediums might influence our practice. As we talk with higher ed administrators and staff for our research study, we are beginning to chip away at the motivations for being part of a digital community, how practitioners value online spaces to support the work in highered, what does it mean to be a “public” professional online, and how personal/professional identity is complicated, evolving, and varies based on social media platform or how a community is support.  This research is SO fascinating…

We will share more about our findings soon. That being said, we are still collecting data AND interested in hearing about YOUR networked experience. Where is your digital water cooler on social media? Where do you go online to learn, share, and curate knowledge? How does being online and in these virtual spaces impact your professional (and personal) identity, growth, and career?

SURVEY: http://bit.ly/networkedcommunity

Here s a short, web-based survey that will take 15-20 minutes to complete. You will be asked questions about your online/digital communities of practice, and you will be given the option to share about your digital, online engagement.

INTERVIEW: http://bit.ly/networkedcommunityshare

We are interested in understanding more of your digital, networked self, which might include reviewing your digital presence on social media and other online platforms, and you may potentially be invited for one (1) interview lasting approximately 45-60 minutes in duration. During our interviews, we will ask participants to reflect on networked practices in online digital communities, inquire about your observations of these communities, ask about your interactions and contributions in the network, and discuss issues related to professional identity and professional influence in online spaces.

Have You Thought About Your Digital Self Lately?

While working on today’s workshop for the National Conference on Student Leadership (NCSL), I was listening to the recent Higher Ed Live broadcast with Ed & Josie talking “Engaging the Digital Generation” (an NDSS book they edited, and I contributed to — I promise to follow up on a blog post on this topic later). I was not surprised, but often wondered why student affairs (SA) and higher ed folks often go directly to technology:

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Why do practitioners in higher education, student affairs, and students services always go to the “tool” question first? Why do we want to know what’s “hot” with the digital, social technologies? Is it easier to think about a specific app, device, or platform? Why don’t we ask about the challenges or issues the technology is solving?  A wise supervisor once told me: Study problems, not things. The “thing” I’m thinking about are technology tools and platforms.

I am more interested how our campus stakeholders engage and interact with social and digital tools. What is their motivation and how are these online networks being utilized? Perhaps we should challenge professionals in higher education to start thinking about their own presence. I think it’s a good idea to reflect on our own contributions and social traces we are leaving in digital spaces and places [Hence why Paul & I are are studying just that: https://networkedcommunityofpractice.wordpress.com/] .  I really like the Visitors & Residents Continuum (White & Le Cornu, 2011) concept, which is also shared by Dave White (and colleagues from OCLC & Jisc) via a few resources and videos. Visitors tend to leave no social traces in the digital world. If you are Resident you are visible, active, and leave a part of you online in many spaces and places. If you have not heard of this concept, here’s a quick overview of the mapping process for visitor and resident in a personal and institutional (professional) context:

I think more thought and reflection into HOW and WHY we use these online networks and digital apps are needed. Here’s a start of my own visualization of my visitor and resident spaces & places — more will be added this afternoon during my NCSL Professional Workshop:

v_r_map_pasquini

Have you mapped your own V-R continuum lately? It’s an interesting process to think about and visualize. If so — please share and/or blog about it! To further this idea, what are the digital skills we need to hone within higher education? Here are a few suggestions organized on a metro map around digital skills:

digitalskillsframework

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This digital skills framework map was a solid start, but it definitely needs to be added to – what are your thoughts on this topic? How are you engaging and interacting with these spaces and places? What do we need to learn and bring to campus when it comes to digital understandings of self? How are you thinking about your resident vs. visitor self online? Show and share!

Reference:

White, D. S., & Le Cornu, A. (2011). Visitors and Residents: A new typology for online engagement. First Monday, 16(9).

Supporting Learners with Technology: Perceptions and Practices of Technology in Advising

It is a critical time to assess how campus stakeholders are employing digital resources to scaffold learners beyond the course curriculum and learning environments. A growing number of colleges and universities want to advance how they offer student support using technology outside the “classroom.” This campus change is impacting more student success and academic advising programs as they consider the best technology to provide advising content and service delivery for learner-centered approaches. By researching technological trends and challenges, conducting campus-wide assessments, and establishing strategic plans, higher education stakeholders can effectively integrate technology into student support practices to align with individual advising objectives and to further the goals of the institution.

#advtech

Surveying Institutional Perceptions and Practices on Advising
 To understand the impact technology has on student support and practice The Global Community for Academic Advising (NACADA) association, specifically the NACADA Technology in Advising Commission sponsors semi-regular surveys for the NACADA membership (e.g. 2002, 2007, and 2011). In 2013 a new survey instrument was designed to capture data, specifically to identify how higher education advising staff and senior administration employ technology to support their practices. A total of 990 respondents completed the survey; however 65% identified as an academic advisor/counselor. The other respondent’s role on campus included advising administrators (22%) and faculty (4%).

Key findings from this study:

  • Top 3 advising technologies: desktop computers, campus storage networks, & Wi-Fi
  • Technology tools/platforms the institution wants advisors to use: learning management systems (46%) and laptops (40%)
  • Technology tools/platforms utilized by advisors: 24% use scanners and 23% use social networks (e.g. Twitter and Facebook).
  • Advisors communicate with technology (daily) primarily with: other academic advisors/counselors (86.35%) and students (89.88%).
  • Advisors less frequently use technology to communicate with: academic administrators (58.08%), faculty (47.22%), & student affairs administrators (37%).
  • Daily advising practices include: e-mail (99%); face-to-face interactions (91%); locally installed word processor, spreadsheets, etc. (80%); phone (73%) and Facebook (30%).
  • Less frequently used advising technology (< 2%): licensed video-conferencing (e.g. Adobe Connect, Wimba, Zoom), retention software, photo-sharing websites, and podcasts.

Overall, we found the advising community communicates with campus stakeholders across their institutions and to stay connected to professional peers outside the institution:

  • 70-90% think advising technology supports information distribution on campus, and sharing knowledge and maintaining connections within higher education.
  • 24% indicated that advising technology tools do not help with communication and student scheduling.
  • 80-92% believe advising technology helps them work faster and more efficiently, produce higher quality work, store advising information, simplifies the academic advising administrative processes, and contributes positively to their academic advising role.

Technology Needs to be Location-Free, Build Rapport, and Use Current Systems

When asked what their “ideal technology in advising practice” to support students and advising functions, respondents wanted advising technology to:

  • Be integrated into current systems and existing campus technologies.
  • Create opportunity and access for student support and advising regardless of physical location, time, etc.
  • Help build an advising rapport, make connections, and support communication.
  • Support transparent knowledge sharing and degree completion information.
  • Scaffold effective online and blended models of academic advising.
  • Address the needs and challenges related to advisor and learner preferences and/or practices for student support/services.
  • Capture the holistic view of the student learning experience, which is essential to enhance academic advising practices and institutional outcomes.

It is imperative that campus decisions about technology and learning also include design and delivery methods that are inclusive of academic advising needs. From this research, it there is both a need and desire to improve front-line advising and student support practices in higher education using technology. Beyond soliciting input during the technology purchasing and implementation phase, institutions need to consider HOW student support is organized and ASSESS current advising practices and models.

To integrate or update technology for advising, our institutions will need to also consider how they will provide additional support, offer advisors training, and create job aids or resources to scaffold technology use for the students, staff, and faculty user experience. In the efforts to expand this research and distribute this knowledge for higher education technology for advising, the survey instrument, data, and white paper (also shared on Academia.edu) from this study are shared by the researchers with a Creative Commons license. Thanks for the support of the NACADA #AdvTech Commission, and co-author George Steele.

Reference:
Pasquini, L. A., & Steele, G. (2016). Technology in academic advising: Perceptions and practices in higher education. figshare. Retrieved from https://dx.doi.org/10.6084/m9.figshare.3053569.v7

Note: A version of this blog post was also shared on the NACADA Blog and the WCET Blog. In the coming months, I look forward to working with research collaborators on an updated version and replication of this study.  

#ACPA16 Presentation: Social and Digital Technology Competency Institute for College Student Educators

Today (March 6th) we will be facilitating the 1st Social and Digital Technology Competency Institute for College Student Educators (a.k.a. Half-Day Pre-Conference Colloquia H) at 2016 ACPA Convention on Sunday, March 6, 2016 from 1-4:30 pm EST (Palais des Congrès de Montréal, 513D). Here is the agenda for today, if you want to sign up for the event:

Agenda

  • Introductions and TECH Competency Orientation
  • Welcome Message & Pre-Institute Survey (http://bit.ly/TECHassess)
  • History of Tech in SA / Implementation Model
  • ACPA/NASPA Tech Competency Overview: Themes http://bit.ly/SAcompTECH
    –#SAtech Competency Reflection: Your Perspective
    –#SAtech Assessment at Your Campus
    BREAK 2:30-2:45 pm
  • Short Attention Span #SAtech Theatre: Here are topics and highlights to #satech trends, topics & more!
  • Discussion: Q & A // Comments
  • Wrap Up: Resources & Follow Up

Follow our conversation on the backchannel using the hashtags #SAtech + #ACPA16, and read via Paul’s blog post.

@PaulGordonBrown

tech-competency-institute-for-college-student-educators-1-638Myself and a number of my colleagues from the ACPA Digital Task Force came together to propose a pre-conference session that is intended to help practitioners make sense of the new Technology competency area in the ACPA/NASPA Competencies for Student Affairs Educators.  The following post gives a broad overview of the session as well as additional resources for participants and guests alike!

ABSTRACT

Today’s most progressive Student Affairs (SA) practitioners and faculty are recognizing the tremendous potential for technology as a core competency in administrative leadership and student learning. It’s crucial that SA educators understand digital technology in order to make informed decisions and model effective digital literacy and citizenship. Crisis management, student engagement, social media identity, and digital pedagogy are just a few areas explored in this fast-paced, interactive, and multimedia rich workshop. Guided by the new recommendations from the ACPA/NASPA Professional Competencies, presenters will also share the…

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Digesting the TECH Competency for Student Educators #SAtech

I have been thinking a lot about how we guide and support technology in higher education. Last year, ACPA/NASPA drafted a joint document sharing Professional Competency Areas for Student Educators [PDF], which included a new competency – Technology (TECH). As technology is woven into much the educational practices and student support field work, it is critical for student affairs educators to consider how this competency is guiding their work. Here are the basics about the TECH competency from the report:

TECH Competency Description: Focuses on the use of digital tools, resources, and technologies for the advancement of student learning, development, and success as well as the improved performance of student affairs professionals. Included within this area are knowledge, skills, and dispositions that lead to the generation of digital literacy and digital citizenship within communities of students, student affairs professionals, faculty members, and colleges and universities as a whole.

Professional Development: Professional growth in this competency area is marked by shifts from understanding to application as well as from application to facilitation and leadership. Intermediate and advanced level outcomes also involve a higher degree of innovativeness in the use of technology to engage students and others in learning processes.

TECH (page 33-35) The Technology competency area focuses on the use of digital tools, resources, and technologies for the advancement of student learning, development, and success as well as the improved performance of student affairs professionals. Included within this area are knowledge, skills, and dispositions that lead to the generation of digital literacy and digital citizenship within communities of students, student affairs professionals, faculty members, and colleges and universities.

With the 2016 ACPA Convention (#acpa16) just around the corner, I am looking forward to digging into the TECH competency further in a couple of weeks with Josie, Tony, Paul, Ed, and participants during our the Pre-Conference Workshop: Social and Digital Technology Competency Institute for College Student Educators (March 6th) in Montreal, Canada. I know that we each have some fantastic ideas and tools to share — and we are looking forward to learning from colleagues who will be joining us.

To prepare, I took another look at TECH as a competency earlier today. As a researcher, I naturally started to code these competencies into general themes, to further understand and digest the TECH competencies. Here are the categories I came up with based on themes:

  1. Trends, Research, and Knowledge Development
  2. Leadership, Governance, and Stewardship
  3. Assessment and Implementation for Education and Program Planning
  4. Information Literacy and Management
  5. Applied Skills for Using Technology
  6. Inclusion and Access
  7. Learning and Professional Development
  8. Communication and Collaboration

Many thanks to Brian Bourke for instigating this initial review of the ACPA/NASPA TECH competency last fall with the NASPA TKC Research Group (and kudos for crafting an #SAtech Research Agenda as well!). In returning to the TECH competency for the pre-conference workshop, I thought it would be a good idea to share these broad categories with participants and student affairs. Please take a gander and leave any thoughts/comments in this open google doc of what might need to be adjusted or reconsidered from this first analysis. I welcome comments here (on the blog) or directly in the document.  From this, I hope our student affairs community of inquiry, practitioners and scholars alike, can continue to work together to consider how these competencies can be applied our work with students in higher ed, and measured (as another ACPA/NASPA task force/working group is developing rubrics, etc.) to evaluate the work we do in the field. Google doc: http://bit.ly/SAcompTECH

A Conversation with @ACPAPrez @GavinHenning: The Future of Organizational Learning in Higher Ed #ACPAlearning

As we look to the future trends of training and development, it will be critical for professional organizations and trade associations to consider how to meet the training and development needs of their constituents. Considering the nature of how we work, the evolution of how it’s changing, and the demands that lie ahead, more organizations are considering new ways to optimize learning and development.

ACPA-College Student Educators International is one of the professional associations I have been a member of and been working with to consider new ways of delivering learning. ACPA is interested in understanding more about how to support organizational learning, with regards to its membership needs. Being involved in the ACPA Digital Task  Force and program planning for the #ACPA16 Convention, I know the ACPA International Office, the Board, and its members are interested and working on dynamic ways to learn.

What does training and development look like among student affairs educators today? What do you want your professional development to look like? How can ACPA support organizational learning to meet your needs, issues, and challenges on campus? Let’s find out more what the ACPA President has to say about: The Future of Organizational Learning in Higher Ed

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As ACPA considers the needs of their current members, I plan to chat with Gavin more about how the association plans to support student educators for their own training and growth in the field. We’ll talk about initiatives and ways ACPA is innovating for organizational learning, but also discuss the challenges and considerations, including:

Join me for a conversation with @ACPA President Gavin Henning on Monday (9/14) from 12-1 pm Central Time on Google+ Hangouts On Air as we discuss more about how ACPA learns and supports  the professional development of college and university student educators. Feel free to post your comments, questions, or thoughts you have for the ACPAprez here in advance. Then tune in for the LIVE conversation here and/or join the banter on the Twitter backchannel using the hashtag #ACPAlearning

 
Notes from the conversation: View the story “#ACPAlearning: A Conversation with @ACPAprez @GavinHenning on Learning & Development in Student Affairs” on Storify