You’re either at a very small school with one person departments or at a lean institution where it’s difficult to get additional help to run your unit. Either way, many student affairs practitioners are asked to do more with less on a regular basis--which means that you need to optimize your time, communicate quickly, and organize your resources thoroughly.
This post will explore some options I’ve used extensively in the past as a seasoned student affairs professional running a one person office. Hopefully these will help you work smarter (not harder) and connect you with your students and your colleagues in the most efficient and effective way possible!
Working with a budget and finite resources can is a common challenge. I’ve been there before, which is why all of the technologies included in this post are free to use.
Loom allows you to record and create videos right from your browser. It’s easy integration and hosting allows you to record a quick video and share the link via email, text, or social media. The videos can accompany text, capture screen content, or just yourself. Video has an added touch over just text by providing some more nuanced information. The creation of these quickly produced videos allow student affairs professionals to communicate meaningfully, quickly, and empathetically. Student affairs professionals can best use this for welcome videos for new students as well as creating “How To’s,” and tutorials for student staff.
Remind is a site that allows you to send out mass text messages to a group of subscribers. These groups can be as small as a classroom or organization. Or, they can be as large as the entire college or university. Having scheduled announcements means that you can remind your students of important information in a timely manner. Using the read receipts features means you can tell who is (and is not) reading your messages. The best part is that you can maintain your privacy: your actual cell phone number is never released. Student affairs professionals can use this in order to reach students via multiple means: email, text, and social media.
Kahoot allows you to create an unlimited number of multiple choice “quizzes” called Kahoots. Those quizzes can be supported with text, images, or even video. These Kahoots are best placed in a communal environment where everyone participates using a device (smart phone, tablet, laptop, or computer. It really has that “campfire” moment where everyone knows they can achieve something by playing together. Kahoots can also be shared with on or off campus colleagues. Its dedication to support for education in an easy to use, games-based learning platform, is unparalleled. Student affairs professionals can use these for programming at trivia nights, student leadership trainings, or new student orientation.
Trello is an online collaboration and project management tool where status updates and comments are as easy as moving a “card” from one status to another. This was based on the Japanese “Kaban” board of project management. Projects have boards. Columns are statuses. Cards are individual tasks. Student affairs professionals can keep track of the “moving pieces” of the board as cards are moved from one status to another. Information can be provided at a glance through comments, attachments, and links. Overall, this provides a great “visual outline” of where a project is, what is held up, and how close it is to completion. Student affairs professional can use this for program planning, project management with students or colleagues, and overall collaborative activities.
Google Voice uses a technology called Voice Over IP (VOIP) to send and receive calls and text messages through the internet! This is a benefit because with Google Voice, you never have to reveal your own phone number. You can also stay in touch via any device: Laptop, Tablet, Phone, and PC. Voicemails left on Google Voice are transcribed and sent to your email as text. Student affairs professionals can use this to communicate with their students more closely though email in an easily documentable format.
Ed Puzzle is a platform that allows you to take ANY video on the internet and turn it into a lesson. You can take a video and edit it to use only the portion relevant to your students. You can record a voice over introduction for your video as well as embed quiz questions to assess viewers’ knowledge retention. The platform also provides data analytics on students, views, and test results. Student affairs professionals can use it for on boarding student and professional staff, teaching freshman seminar or pairing it with Loom for a customized experience.
Toggl is the 21st century punch clock; because you can’t improve what you don’t measure. Toggl is quick and easy way of measuring where your time has been invested and what you invested it in. Knowing where you spend most of your time helps outline future forecasts for budgeting, staffing, and funding. Toggl helps you make smarter choices by dissecting where you spend your time. Student affairs professionals can see what responsibilities are their biggest time sinks and where they can focus more of their time for better outcomes.
This post reviewed 7 technologies. Kahoot and Ed Puzzle can be used for Games-Based Learning. Trello and Toggl can be used for Project and Time Management respectively. Loom, Remind, and Google Voice can improve your communication with students and colleagues alike. Lastly, remember that technology is only as good as the professional that uses it. You have the power now. Use it well. Use it together!
Dave Eng, Ed.D. is an intellectual and creative educator, designer, and researcher who combines, games, theory, and technology to define NEXT practice. He currently consults privately for colleges and universities on games-based learning, gamification, higher education administration, and instructional design. He loves the student affairs community and has helped many entry level professionals get their foot in the door with their first position through his consultancy The Job Hakr. His research interests include learning theory, technology, and games. Find out more at www.davengdesign.com