22. March 2012 06:50
NASPA is an organization for student affairs administrators in higher education. In an effort to innovative ideas and practices in education, NASPA runs initiatives and holds events to bring together higher ed vendors, school representatives, and special guests. Last week, RoomSync was lucky enough to make our debut in the world of student affairs by exhibiting at NASPA’s 2012 annual conference. There we also encountered something special and rare.
A Surprise Keynote. Lucky for us, Grammy Award winning vocalist, John Legend was the keynote for the opening reception. Attendees may have been confused as to the connection between the performer and the theme of the conference, but it turns out that Mr. Legend, along with his passion for music, is a giant advocate for education. He founded The Show Me Campaign, a nonprofit organization that fights poverty using proven solutions, with the hope that diminishing poverty will lead to higher high school graduation rates and college attendance for the next generation.
In fact, Legend is so committed to eradicating poverty and bringing education to every child that he created the Show Me Fellowship Program, which awards young people who are dedicated in improving the world. The program provides $3000 stipends for college students who take unpaid internships in the areas of international development and US education. Note to students, teachers, and parents - the program is currently accepting application for the 2012 Fellowship.
The Cycle of Education. I was truly moved by John Legend’s key note. While he performed a few songs for us (and mesmerized the crowd), I was even more intrigued by his convincing discussion on the effect of poverty on education, his enlightening perspective and worldliness, and his ability to open us up to true realities we face as a nation:
“U.S. high school graduation rates have fallen from #1 to #18 in the world. One third of American children don’t graduate from high school. Just 15% of our schools – the ones we call “drop out factories” – are responsible for 50% of the drop out students and those schools are more likely to have a majority of students who are African American or Latino” (ShowMeCampaign, 2012)
The Full Circle. Here at RoomSync, we are a higher education company; however I think we, along with other higher education companies, often don’t remember the connection with and potential impact we have on post-secondary education. We have to work harder and broaden our awareness, so that more students graduate from high school and make it to college. Then, we can all play a role in helping those students become successful in life.
3. November 2011 12:30
I sat in on an excellent session this week at #NASPAtech put on by Ed Cabellon of Bridgewater State University entitled "social media strategy and planning". The focus of the session was obvious from the title, but what was not obvious is how Ed would teach the session.
Rather than doing the normal slides highlighting keys to social media strategizing, he took a collaborative approach. Ed engaged audience members by enlisting all of us to build a social media strategy for our joint institution. On every slide, he led a guided discussion where we had to think critically about the key components of our strategy. What were our goals? What should our social media voice be? Should we use ;) or just stick with basic smiley faces? All this discussion made for a more engaged audience and, ultimately, more learning by the attendees, including myself.
Another example of this approach to education is at the University of Florida, where I graduated with my Masters in Entrepreneurship. I had been circling around the idea of roommate matching software powered by Facebook for the past year and finally decided to start the business during the first semester of the MSE program. By having a company of my own, all of the classes made more sense and became infinitely more useful. I could template all of the entrepreneurial classes over how they could benefit RoomSync.
The other thing that Ed's presentation made me think of was a website I found last night called codecademy which teaches people how to program. Why did I think of this? Try signing up for the site and you'll know. They make you code in order to register for an account! Genius.
Too much of the education that I witness in K-12 and higher education is not taught like this. Instead, professors are asking students to regurgitate dates and equations. I hope to see a growing number of approaches to education like the ones above.