This week marks the 1 year anniversary of my “travel binge.” When I began this journey, I felt a little lost and depressed. I needed a change of scenery. When I booked a flight to see my old friend Laura in Dallas last year, I didn’t expect it to turn into this. Being in a new location, however, and spending time with an old friend, did wonders for me! When I returned to Boston, however, many of my same feelings of drifting returned. So, I booked more flights… and more. In essence I was “running away” because it helped me forget and avoid. Over the course of these trips, however, something changed. They became less about running away, and more about discovering and engaging in the world around me. I felt adventurous and liberated. Now I travel to discover and make new friends (of which I’ve made many). It’s been a pretty wild ride.
I recently came back from the 2014 National Convention of ACPA-College Student Educators International… and it was AWESOME. The Convention Team really took to the challenge of “reinventing” the conference experience into something new. As a leader in the Association, I left the experience proud of what my colleagues had accomplished and excited that ACPA has become a nimble organization that is able to change quickly but with thoughtful intention. Throughout it all, it was evident that ACPA’s values were front and center: (1) research and scholarship, (2) social justice, equity and inclusion, and (3) innovation and technology. So what made this experience the most social, innovative and inspiring student affairs conference ever?
My research passion is about college students and how social media and technology impacts the developmental process. Unfortunately, I’ve found a lot of the discourse in student affairs around this subject to be lacking. When you attend a conference session or read a thought piece centered around this topic, they often focus on marketing, technological tools, and their use, rather than what’s occurring at a more theoretical or fundamental level. If articles and sessions do focus on student development, it is often on the byproducts of a larger developmental process rather than on how technology may be changing the process itself or our understanding of the process. I believe that faulty assumptions are baked into this framework that will increasingly be hard to maintain as we learn more about social media and technology and what it reveals about our selves.
The following is a work in progress and represents some of my current thinking on these issues. Please leave comments! Your thoughts and feedback, both critical and affirmative, are immensely helpful. As my understanding evolves through my research, so will some of my posts about the topic. To follow along, you can come back here (www.postdigitalidentitydevelopment.com) to find updates and read more.
Titled, “Digital Identity Isn’t About Identity At All,” the following series of slides is from a PechaKucha I first gave at the 2014 ACPA National Convention. PechaKucha is a presentation format involving twenty slides each displayed for twenty seconds, set to advance automatically, for a total presentation time of six minutes and forty seconds. (For more about how I and some colleagues brought the format to ACPA and other conferences, go here and here.)
Eric Stoller did a wonderful job of curating a list of social media and technology-related sessions for some of the other conferences this season, and I thought some may find it helpful to know what’s on tap for #ACPA14. This year the Convention team did a major overhaul of the schedule and session types to bring a fresh approach to our professional development. Much of this innovation relates to technology, social media, and cutting edge practices. Below you will find general sessions related to technology as well as the new “Genius Labs.” In addition to these programs, check out the HEd Talk and keynote speakers (and Theorist HEdTalks, too). Many address technology-related topics.
(And if I missed a session, please let me know!)
I’m excited to be presenting on one of my research passions at the 2014 national conventions of both ACPA-College Student Educators International and NASPA-Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education. My session on the future of higher education (see below) is something I’ve presented on before, but I’ve been able to update this presentation with about 50-60% new content as my understanding of the topic has evolved.