Over the past few days at the 2013 Dalton Institute, I have been encouraged to think about the cross-section of how our cultural norms, use of technology, and institutional practices intersect to support students. Educational reform for higher education is not new; however it was refreshing to have a group of graduate students, faculty, scholars, and practitioners to be part of a thoughtful collective to think deeper about these challenges.
Although the institute’s focus was self-promotion, social media, and student development, it was great to hear a number of conversations emerge about the disruptive forces and potential opportunities to embrace change in Student Affairs. The philosophical narratives and analysis of technology’s impact on identity was enriched by listening to personal perspectives and such varied experiences.
As the final keynote of the institute, I gave my “triple threat” perspective as a student, instructor, and professional in higher education. My goal was to share ideas and practices to develop a richer learning experiences; specifically ones that I have valued as an active scholar. So, doing my best to follow the amazing #dalton13 featured speakers – I shared my own narrative, critiques, and insights on how emerging technology can support and challenge student development. I gave some tangible examples and ideas of how to move beyond the gadget, application, or “next big tech thing” by considering ways educators can be actively pushing their learners. I talked about everything from exploration to collaboration, specifically by empowering students to be part of the solution to our institutional challenges.
My #Dalton13 Keynote – Notes & Then Some! (thanks for the photos & tweets #dalton13 backchannel!)
I appreciated the conversations (although some were far too brief!) around identity and student values that I had with a number of #Dalton13 attendees, especially the FSU HESA graduate students. Although a number of ideas were shared at the institute, I am still left thinking and reflecting about these key questions:
- How are student values demonstrated in a digital environment?
- Can educators have an impact on the character development of learners?
- Is student development really impacted by technology? How so?
- Does there need to be a shift in how we support our student population on campus?
- How can our graduate programs do a better job of challenging and supporting scholar-practitioners with “self-promotion” questions?
- Will higher education cultural norms and institutional practices be changed, or will we be left behind?