After many years of being a side-discussion at other conferences, technology in student affairs is finaly taking center stage at two upcoming conferences:
- The Student Affairs Technology Unconference is being held on July 29, 2011, at Boston University. Although the agenda is not set (and will not be set until the attendees set the agenda at the conference itself, one of the defining features of an unconference), this unconference is aimed at student affairs and higher education administrators who use technology and want to connect with others who share their interest. The conference is being set up by several persons who frequent the #satech Twitter hashtag; use #satechBOS to follow them. The event is free with participants responsible for their own lunch.
- The #NASPAtech: Student Affairs Technology Conference is scheduled for October 27-29, 2011, in Newport, Rhode Island. In contrast with the Boston event, this will be more of a traditional conference with a set schedule, invited speakers, and a call for programs that closes on July 22. The schedule has as many timeslots dedicated to unconference sessions as it does traditional concurrent sessions. This event seems to be aimed at the same general population as the Boston unconference: Student affairs technology users and enthusiasts.
I’m disappointed that I won’t be attending either of these events. I will be returning from England just a few days before the Boston event and the turnaround is just too quick for my comfort. I won’t attend the NASPA conference because (a) I will be attending and presenting at another conference and (b) I don’t care to support NASPA right now. (And while I’m being a Debbie Downer, I’ll also note that these conferences both seem to be aimed at the same audience with those who (a) build and support and (b) study the technologies and their users still lacking homes of their own.)
It’s exciting to see these events on the horizon! I hope this is a sign of more good things to come for those who work with technology in student affairs and other areas of higher education.