Technology-Enhanced Counselor Training: Essential Technical Competencies

Article excerpt

Counselor educators must consider the possibilities associated with technology-enhanced counselor training and research. The focus of this article was to identify the technology competencies that should be acquired by graduate students who successfully complete the counseling programs.

The counselor educators have an opportunity to model efficient, meaningful and educationally sound use of technology. According to a survey by the American College Teacher (The Chronicle of Higher Education, 1999), among 33, 785 faculty members at 378 colleges and universities, the aging of the faculty plays into several trends--like the fact that older faculty report being more stressed by information technology even though they aren't using it as much as younger faculty. Keeping up with information technology was a source of stress for 67 per cent of the academics--more so for women than for men, and for older professors than for younger ones.

Age also affected how professors use computers. More than 90 per cent of those less than 45 years old communicated via Email at least twice a week, compared with 67 per cent of those 65 or older. Among professors fewer than 35.61 per cent used a computer at least twice a week to "conduct scholarly writing," and 45 per cent to do research using the Internet. For professors in the 55-64 age group, the proportions for those activities were 48 per cent and 28 per cent respectively (The American College Teacher, 1999).

ACES' (Association for Counselor Education and Supervision) Technology Interest Group Network report has recommended ten technical competencies (T. Hohenshil, Personal communication via E-mail to The Education Trust, April, 1998). However, recently, the Network has recommended twelve technical competencies for counselor education students (T. Hohenshil, 2000). At the completion of a counselor education program, all students should:

1. Be able to use productivity software to develop web pages, group presentations, letters, and reports.

2. Be able to use such audiovisual equipment as video recorders, audio recorders, projection equipment, video conferencing equipment, and playback units.

3. Be able to use computerized statistical packages.

4. Be able to use computerized testing, diagnostic, and career decision-making programs with clients.

5. Be able to use E-mail.

6. Be able to help clients search for various types of counseling-related information via Internet, including information about careers, employment opportunities, educational & training opportunities, financial assistance/scholarships, treatment procedures, and social and personal information.

7. Be able to subscribe, participate in, and sign off counseling related listservs.

8. Be able to access and use counseling related CD-ROM data bases.

9. Be knowledgeable of the legal and ethical codes which relate to counseling services via the Internet.

10. Be knowledgeable of the strengths and weaknesses of counseling services provided via Internet.

11. Be able to use the Internet for finding and using continuing education opportunities in counseling.

12. Be able to evaluate the quality of Internet information.

According to a survey by the ACES' Technology Group Interest Network (Myers & Gibson, 1999), counselor educators and students lack a uniformly high level of competencies in each of the 12 areas. More research is needed to determine the technology competencies in counselor training and preparation.

For this study, the researcher sent a modified survey to ascertain the perceptions of counselor educators and counselors regarding the technology competencies that should be incorporated into the counselor education curriculum. The survey contained a set of 15 technology competencies that counselor education graduates should have at the completion of their counseling program. …