While driving to Newport, Rhode Island for the first ever #NASPATech: Student Affairs Technology Conference, one thought kept running through my mind: no matter what, this was going to be a big deal. The event, its hosts (NASPA), and the 170+ attendees did not disappoint. With unsessions, keynotes, panels, mini-institutes, and "regular" sessions, #NASPATech was exhilarating. Student Affairs professionals from a variety of functional areas came together and shared a terrific amount of #SAtech insights. The vendor "theater" had a nice selection of service provider info, and while chilly, Newport was a quaint location for our uber techie crowd. The Twitter backchannel was immense. Jenna Magnuski's laptop keys barely had time to rebound as she furiously tweeted a tremendous quantity of reflections, thoughts, and sound bites.
Since my backpack was full of pretty much every gadget that I own, I decided to broadcast a couple of live video streams at the conference. Jeff Jackson of BreakDrink.com joined me for a special "on location" #NASPATech recap episode of Student Affairs Live. If you want to share your thoughts about #NASPATech, Jeff is collecting audio reflections on his site. When I saw that there was going to be a Women Talk Tech mini-institute, I knew that it too had to be broadcast live. The 1 hour and 25 minute conversation about the state of women in the student affairs technology sphere is a must watch.
In 2008, I wrote a blog post called "To Boldly Go." In that post I mentioned that "the student affairs technology bar has been set far too low." Thanks to NASPA, we have now reached a new level for the student affairs technology conversation. Kevin Kruger, Associate Executive Director of NASPA, stated that we have a student affairs technology competency issue. Perhaps in 2012 we can begin a dialog within our profession about what it truly looks like to have a student affairs technology competency? I think everyone at #NASPATech would agree that technology is no longer just a thread.
Next year's event (NASPA has indicated that they hope to make this an annual conference) needs to have better sponsorship. For too long, higher education technology vendors have largely ignored student affairs. Now is their chance to step up and truly add value to this exciting event. Decision-makers, champions, media makers, and student affairs technology leaders make #NASPATech the go-to event for higher education technology providers to sponsor. The sponsor queue for #NASPATech 2012 should be extremely long. We're your audience, and thanks to NASPA, we now have our very own event.
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