Academic journal article International Journal of Education and Development using Information and Communication Technology

E-Counselling Implementation: Students' Life Stories and Counselling Technologies in Perspective

Academic journal article International Journal of Education and Development using Information and Communication Technology

E-Counselling Implementation: Students' Life Stories and Counselling Technologies in Perspective

Article excerpt

1. INTRODUCTION

The history of e-counselling (Tate, Jackvony & Wing 2003) or online counselling (Shiller 2009) began in October 1972 (Wardell 2008). The first online counselling was demonstrated between computers at Stanford and University of California, Los Angeles in International Conference on Computer Communication (Wardell 2008). Since then, the rapidly expanding field of the ecounselling raises concerns among practitioners about the efficiency of the traditional face-to-face counselling in relation to the emerging new method of e-counselling (McHugh 2009, Wang et al. 2010). Given that, the internet and its related web resources, has taken counselling service beyond the face-to-face to electronic-based counselling services (Brown 2011). However, the essence of the emerging pace of technology in counselling is not meant to replace the existing traditional face-to-face counselling method. The face-to-face counselling method is nonetheless still a necessity and applicable (Zamani 2009). Tait (1999) also emphasizes the need to reconsider the face-to-face counselling method in counselling delivery. Thus, ICT needs to be integrated into the traditional face-to-face counselling for the diversity in counselling delivery (Obi et al. 2012) in order to alleviate the problems connected with the face-to-face counselling method. In this regard, the efficiency of the counselling methods needs to be rigorously explored in order to meet the needs of clients. Counselling in the Ghanaian senior high schools has existed for years until 2007 when the Ministry of Education re-emphasize the need to resource the centres with state-of-the-art facilities in order to augment the services (NERIC 2007). Conversely, the first researcher's prior experience as a teacher confirms that some educational counsellors in Ghana are reluctant to adapt to the emerging counselling technologies, and this is mainly due to their incapacity to use technology.

Sanders and Rosenfield (1998) define e-counselling as a counselling method through the medium of telecommunication technologies such as telephone, internet and teleconferencing. Digital counselling game is gradually emerging as an effective tool to leverage students into holistic self-management and development (Bada 2013). However, mimicking students' life challenges into digital counselling games and its related platforms is unconventional in the Ghanaian context, and this is undoubtedly a new dimension of rendering counselling services to students. Sedaño (2010) describes the contextual digital game as hyper-contextual. Hypercontextualised game is a locally designed game which seeks to depict the context for which it is developed (Sedaño 2010). The study is therefore focused on the understanding of the students' life challenges arising from their life stories. The study also examines the current use of ICT in the counselling units of the senior high schools. The content of the collected data from the participants was analyzed in line with the Interpretivists philosophical paradigm. It is clear and common that the deviant behavior of students stems from the challenges they face in life. Students explore all the available means in order to survive and this may lead to unacceptable societal behavior (Ghana education Service 1995). Duveskog et al. (2009) outline drug abuse, alcoholism, domestic violence and rape as social vices that have a negative impact on students and the society as a whole. The Ghanaian society frowns on this deviant behaviour (Ghana education Service 1995). Devising appropriate tools and framework to encourage students to tell the difficulties in their lives can help counsellors to deliver efficient counselling services to them. School counselling services are expected to help individual students to access and derive benefits from, career development and self-actualization. Thus, to achieve such effectiveness, there is a need for diversification of counselling methods to accommodate all students especially students living in remote areas. …

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