Soft skill tests, college planners, and neuropsych evaluations are some of the traditional tools of the school counseling trade. Because school counselors have multiple goals—supporting and fostering positive personal, social, academic, and career development in students—they need a variety of resources at their disposal.
So you'd think counselors would embrace technological innovation that supports their students' development. But most seem to pass on opportunities to save time and money and to find new ways to reach out to children, parents, and educators by leveraging technology.
According to one academic expert in the counseling field, few K-12 school counselors use technology in their professional lives, despite the numerous digital guidance and counseling resources available. Russell Sabella, a professor of counseling in the graduate program at the College of Education at Florida Gulf Coast University and the academic in question, bases this estimation on years of experience working with school counselors during workshops, as a consultant, and through interaction with users of his resource-rich website SchoolCounselor.com.
Sabella says tech-resistant school counselors in his training classes are often intimidated by technology they do not yet know how to use and worry about losing the human touch that has been the foundation of their work for most of their careers.
"I have encountered that fear that technology is replacing something very precious and valuable, which is personal, human contact," he says.
That is not to say there aren't school counselors who find benefit in using technology in their work. There is evidence that counseling professionals all over the country take advantage of Twitter, Pinterest, blogs, websites, and mobile devices—but perhaps just not enough of them.
"Technology is a good fit for counselors," Sabella says. "Like counselors, who exist to help students meet their potential, technology provides us tools to help people achieve even beyond what it is they would have been able to achieve without technology. Our current generation is the most highly connected generation in the history of recorded time, and oftentimes…our face-to-face time is of a higher quality because of how it is we're able to stay connected when we're not face-to-face."
School counselors who do not get enough support from their administrators to use technological tools may also fall behind. Julia V. Taylor, dean of student services at Wake Young Women's Leadership Academy in Raleigh, NC, believes that leadership in the field of school counseling is sorely lacking, perpetuating misinformation that keeps school counselors from learning how to use technology effectively.
"Unless leaders are providing the professional development for technology and the opportunity to sit down and play with it and tinker with it and find out what goes well in the classroom, it's not going to happen," Taylor says. "Educators, administrators, and particularly ed reformers spend so much time talking about the disadvantages. I wholeheartedly feel that we play in technology, but our students live that world and they don't know any other way."
In fact, Taylor believes it so strongly that she says school counselors who do not take the opportunity to learn the new methods and means of communication—from Twitter and Pinterest to mobile devices like the iPad—are doing a disservice to their students. "You might not need to know how to program or code the HTML of a website," she says, "but you need to know where to point students."
Source: THE Journal
Read more: http://thejournal.com/articles/2012/06/07/for-school-counselors-technology-enhances-the-human-touch.aspx
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