Academic journal article Professional School Counseling

Professional School Counselors' Approaches to Technology

Academic journal article Professional School Counseling

Professional School Counselors' Approaches to Technology

Article excerpt

Existing literature in the field of school counseling discusses how technology may be used for service delivery" however, the translation of this knowledge to practice among school counselors has been minimally examined. Three hundred eighty-one school counselors in Colorado, Iowa, and New York completed a survey regarding their comfort with and use of technology. Findings indicate that the majority of those surveyed were very comfortable with technology. Implications for school counselors are presented.

A common theme in the school counseling literature includes the use of technology, specifically an argument that school counselors need to utilize technology to improve their program and delivery of services (Hebert & Neumeister, 2001; Kuranz, 2002; Sears & Granello, 2002). It is suggested that effective and efficient uses of technology among school counseling professionals are necessary for making guidance and counseling programs more comprehensive and an integral part of our schools (Sabella, 2000; Sabella & Booker, 2003). The sophistication of modern information and communication tools (e.g., film, video, personal digital assistants, virtual communities, multimedia presentations, and e-mail) influences the manner in which students are educated and counseled (Casey, 1995; Hebert & Neumeister; Sabella & Halverson, n.d.; Sabella & Isaacs, 2002; Tyler & Sabella, 2004).

Furthermore, program accountability is enhanced by and dependent upon the efficient and dynamic communication of program goals and strategies to all stakeholders (American School Counselor Association, 2002). For instance, electronic mail is fast becoming a universal means of communication and is rapidly replacing traditional means of sharing information (Van Horn & Myrick, 2001). Computer technology--particularly multimedia presentations, Web site development, electronic newsletters, and electronic journals--is useful in communicating messages about the profession and specific programs without the barriers of time and space (Sabella & Booker, 2003; Van Horn & Myrick). This technological paradigm shift is an important topic for exploration in the field of school counseling (Cabaniss, 2002).

Although there is a respectable amount of literature regarding the utility of using computers in the work of school counselors, much less is written about the extent to which school counselors actually do utilize computer technology (Owen & Weigel, 1999). One stud), completed during the early days of the computer boom found that 30% of school counselors in the sample reported using computers for counseling-related tasks (Moore, 1992). We expect that this percentage today would be higher given the surge in societal reliance upon technology. Although graduate programs recently have increased focus on technology competencies, the literature indicates that limited education and training may be one mitigating variable in the expected increase of computer use and that adequate training is one serious limitation to more wide-scale use of computer technology by school counselors (Edwards, Portman, & Bethea, 2002; LaTurno-Hines, 2002; Owen & Weigel; Quinn, Hohenshil, & Fortune, 2002; Van Horn & Myrick, 2001).

This study employed a mailed survey as a means of exploring technology training and usage among practicing school counselors in three states. Following are the specific research questions addressed:

1. What is the sell-reported comfort level of school counselors with computer usage, software, and electronic mail?

2. What are the most common types of technology and software used by school counselors?

3. What degree and type of computer training are reported by school counselors?

4. What relationships exist among the above variables and select demographic variables?

The remainder of this article shares the general findings gathered by means of the survey and presents implications for the field. …

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