I just attended the EDUCAUSE Annual Conference here in Philadelphia. EDUCAUSE is the leading conference for higher education IT professionals. From teaching and learning, to new technology such as cloud and mobile applications, this conference has renewed and excited me for the potential technology has in enhancing learning. Some of it was way over my head and other sessions were right in tune with my philosophy and approach to education. The opening speaker was Seth Godin. He challenged us to think differently regarding our impact on the future and our profession. We are artists and must create and have the freedom to do so. I now have a long reading list with Seth’s books at the top. I enjoyed listening to Keith McIntosh, who talked about growing your staff, developing your staff and loving your staff. This theme came through other sessions as well such as one by Linda Cureton, the CIO of NASA. She spoke of failing. Not once, but over and over. The message? Take a risk and encourage your staff to do so.
Another great aspect of this conference was the exhibition hall. I have never seen a conference display like this one. 3D technology was everywhere, plus great food. Nearly every vendor had a drawing for an iPad. I didn’t win, but I think it says something about where we are headed as educators. It was great to learn about new technology and systems, but almost overwhelming for my mind. I spent most of the conference reflecting and mulling on the impact of technology, not only in my work but also in my life. EDUCAUSE has opened new doors and concepts to me and has shown me really what is necessary to truly impact learning.
I don’t know if I’ll get another chance to attend EDUCAUSE in the future, as it’s not the typical conference for student affairs professionals to attend, but I think everyone needs to attend a conference not directly related to their work. It allows you to be exposed to new thought processes and opens new ideas and possibilities. I surely got this and have new thoughts and methods on how to achieve my goals and aspirations.