Throughout my time as a student affairs professional, we have gone from flip phones to cellular devices that can ultimately run your life at the touch of a button. The time when sending communication through an on campus mail system to a student, in my opinion, is becoming obsolete; and it is my prediction that as we finish this academic year and head into 2012-2013; many of us will spend this summer trying to get caught up on some of the newest technological advances so that we will seem up to date…only to be lost in the dust by the end of the upcoming Fall semester.
Recently on my campus, The College of New Jersey, I had the opportunity to participate in a professional development workshop that surrounded this very topic…technology. Out of the MANY new advances used and discussed, I thought that I would come to you and share some of the technological advances and websites that I use to assist me in the everyday work that I do.
As a proud member of Team Android, I have found that there are a lot of applications for my phones platform that can ease the work that I do, and this is mostly due to the fact that our lovely owner, Google Inc., constantly finds ways to improve the lives of their customers. This brings me to my first technological advance…Google Voice! Personally, I have been with Google Voice since it was Grand Central, however, with Google acquiring it, I enjoy the fact that it will integrate into my phone with ease. For example, when I go to make a phone call, my phone will always ask me if I want to make the phone call using my phone number, or my Google Voice number. Furthermore, I can also send text messages the same way. This application also allows you to listen to a Voicemail while its being left, and will permit you to answer it in the middle, similar to old answering machines; the ones that we remember and our students would cringe. Finally, the best feature is that when my Google Voice number is dialed, it will call: my cellphone, my office, and my apartment. So, instead of giving my staff two numbers to reach me, and ask them to remember to call my office first…giving them one number will require less thinking on their part, and save me minutes on mine; as I will hear my office phone and cellphone ring at the same time…and can simply answer it on my office line.
The second technological advance that I use on a regular basis is called Wiggio. This permits me to work with groups of individuals without having to send documents back and forth through email, thus, clogging up my email inbox. I was introduced to this while working with my fellow Jersey Alliance members, and now utilize it for my fraternity brothers, and soon…my student staff. The ability to set reminders for them on a calendar, as well as to collect information in one location is amazing. How many times have you been asked by your staff member about something that they missed, or a form that they can no longer find? With this tool, you can simply inform them that they can go to the Wiggio, and download it, and re-upload the finished document when complete. Talk about making your life easier.
As student affairs professionals, we should not be afraid of using technology, or to introduce it to the lives of our students. My motto for my staff is “Let’s work smarter, not harder”! Therefore, as we look into different ways to reach our students, be smart about the communication methods, and remember to be willing to learn. If ever in doubt about using any of these FREE technological advances; talk to your students…chances are that they are already using it, and can make you an expert within a few minutes of showing you how to do something!
What are some technological advances that you use in your daily work, and how do you use them?
Kyle R. Williams, MSEd
Residence Director, The College of New Jersey
Treasure, The Jersey Alliance