Friday May 31st marked the Michigan edition of the Student Affairs Technology Unconference. The event was unlike anything that I have ever been a part of, and I never want to be a part of anything else. Being in Ann Arbor (one of my favorite places in the great Pure Michigan), surrounded by 70+ people all hear for a mission. The group was here to talk technology. It wasn't about a catered meal or some tourist attraction, we were there because we wanted the content. Now, to get the content, it meant sharing, collaborating, conversing through three intense breakout sessions.
Did we know what we were going to talk about at the beginning of the day? Nope!
That is the best part of the unconference model. Content was not determined ahead of time through program proposals. It was determined right there in the room on the spot! We talked about what we wanted to talk about! More importantly, when you got to a session that you wanted to attend, you were surrounded by those that wanted to be there too! There was no content expert waiting for you to show the cool project he or she did, but rather, an immediate jump into dialogue and discussion. Some people asked questions, some people performed an impromptu show and tell session on what either they personally or their university was doing.
At the end of day, I walked away with buckets full of new ideas and a healthy serving of inspiration. I walked away meeting some of my connections on Twitter in the physical life for the first time. I made connections to professionals that will continue via Twitter and LinkedIn. I walked away spending all of the battery on my iPad creating 80 of the most content heavy tweets I think I have ever written.
Most importantly, I walked away knowing my purpose in Higher Education. That feeling I had when all of my work over the last seven years (especially the last 2) all came together was something I never want to lose. I know what I want to do, I know what is needed, most importantly, I know how to get it done.
There will be many posts to come giving highlights to each of the conversations I had throughout the day. I sit here fired up and excited for what the future has in store. It was by far the best experience I have ever had.