Are We Focusing Too Much on The Tools?

New survey on technology and student affairs.

July 2, 2013
Too much focus on the tools

If you ask me about the need for a technology competency in student affairs, I have a lot to say on the topic. It's been something that I've been advocating for since I was a graduate student in 2004. In 2013, technology and student affairs is still a topic that is full of more questions than answers. On social media sites like Twitter and Facebook (as well as on several blogs, including this one), the conversation about technology and student affairs abounds. However, once you step outside of the student affairs technology community, the conversation is fairly limited. Don't get me wrong, there are pockets of activity. But, consistent, profession-wide-riffing is still emerging.

Thankfully, a survey was just released to collect some new data about student affairs professionals and their usage of technology. Created by members of the NASPA Technology Knowledge Community, the survey asks questions about personal and professional technology use. I'm excited to see the responses to the survey. To my knowledge, there have not been any recent surveys of student affairs practitioners that asked them this many questions about their technology use.

While the survey is focused primarily on the tech tools, it got me thinking about whether or not this is how we can get to a more focused place in the student affairs technology conversation. I don't think that it's a question of learning specific tools as a means of confirming competency. Rather, our profession's lack of adoption of technology seems to stem more from how we embrace change from an organizational standpoint. We've socialized a certain type of anti-change, status quo comfort into the field. Getting folks up to speed on the latest and greatest forms of technology will definitely be a start. However, I wonder if there is another way for us to instill a radical orientation in the profession around how we seek out innovation and embrace the ever changing swirl that is technology.


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