The Wakerly Technology Training Center Goes Mobile

By Carole Burns

Marquette University Dearborn Building, Chicago

Marquette University Dearborn Building, Chicago

I have to admit that I was a bit nervous driving to Chicago early last Monday morning to lead a group of alumni through discussions ranging from technology trends to the many different types of social media in the world today.

I could lie and say it was mostly due to the traffic—lets face it—Eden’s Parkway is never a fun trek, but even the bumper to bumper company I had was nothing compared to the swarm of butterflies in my stomach.

I had spent three weeks preparing for the seminar, and most of Saturday copying information and research to create five packets of information. Packed into the back of my Rav4 were five backpacks of equipment normally used by our students in the Urban Journalism Program. I had contacted industry professionals for input (thank you Mike DeSisti!) and knew the inside and out of digital storytelling thanks to Linda Menck. Gee Ekachai made sure I had been schooled in Social Media and iPad apps.  Lets face it—this was probably more ready than I have ever been.

So why the nerves?

Simple—I was representing the college. I wanted to make sure that the image I presented and the information I provided would be of use to the alumni that had signed up for this session.

Pulling up in front of the Marquette Building on Dearborn Avenue my nerves began to calm, thanks in the most part to Lynley Stephany, Director of Regional Development at the University Advancement satellite site. Lynley had arranged the program and was waiting for me on the curb with four of her colleagues to cart my supplies up to the third floor—my workspace for the Tuesday session.

The equipment delivered and my notes for the next day tucked safely under my arm I headed for the comfort of the hotel where I could review and prepare for the next day.

Six a.m.—the alarm in my room shrieking to tell me to get moving—the day was finally here. I started out the door like a child heading for the Christmas tree. I was actually excited to get started. I had my camera so I couldn’t help and take a few photos on the way to the class. The Chicago museum was close by and had wonderful gargoyles looking down upon the city.

Finally, I made my way back up to the third floor of the Marquette building.  The room was ready to go—I setup the laptops and iPad equipment that I had brought along and waited for the members to arrive.

It wasn’t long before the participants were all in attendance and the class in session.

If you ever question how much knowledge you have acquired from others through the years sit and share time with individuals that have similar interests to yours. The conversation was fast, friendly and informative. I had so much information to share that I wish we had set this up for a longer time frame.

We discussed social media, digital storytelling, journalism trends and the role technology will play in our future. The amount of shareware available that will enable us to create web sites, stream video and collaborate without the high cost of travel were all addressed at this initial seminar.

At the end of the seminar, which spanned the entire six hour day (Lynley literally had to kick us out—we were so engaged in conversation) the group had shared hints and how-tos, we had all “LinkedIn” and explored Facebook, Twitter, Second Life, and many other social media tools.

Driving home to Wisconsin, even the traffic was celebrating the success of the program. The sun was setting in a beautiful explosion of color and design, and I knew that I had made a positive impact for the College and University. It was great to be able to take the Wakerly on the road—something I hope to do more often.

After all, what is the use of having all this mobile technology if I only stay behind my desk on Wisconsin Avenue?

Carole J. Burns is the Director of the Wakerly Technology Training Center at Marquette University. Follow her on Twitter @burnsy1217.

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