This lesson would prove useful to anyone seeking information on the benefits and limitations of various technological applications in school counseling.
As with anything, technology has its benefits and its limitations. Understanding the role that technology can play and the useful applications (apps) school counselors have at their disposal can open doors for both school counselors and students.
New technology has created new issues school counselors must combat like cyber bullying and sexting. When issues between students on social media create problems on school campuses, it is the school counselor who is responsible for addressing the issue and finding solutions.School counselors should not shy away from having a Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, and/or Instagram account because these are places where their students will interact both positively and negatively inside and outside of school. Understanding hashtags and what they mean when students reference them on campus is another great way to be proactive about mediating negative interactions between students.Twitter can also benefit school counselors in many different capacities.
If school counselors are looking for professional development opportunities, articles and journals about school counseling that are peer reviewed, and purposeful websites dedicated to school counseling they can use the hashtag #scchat. This one hashtag can be used as a one-stop-shop for all things school counseling, and is a great place to connect with other school counselors as well to share resources.
Useful Student Apps
The list of diverse and useful apps school counselors can use to better assist their students socially and academically grows each day. Due to the diverse nature of the role of school counselor, and the depth of apps at their disposal, the following apps will have benefits and limitations for school counselors based on personal and professional preferences and student demographics.Duolingo Languages is an app school counselors can use with their English Language Learner students that will supplement their reading, writing, and speaking skill development.
This app contains interactive games students can play that test their skills, track their progress, and offer more opportunities to build upon skills they have mastered as they navigate the games they play.Professor Garfield offers three different apps school counselors can use with students to teach them about discerning good information from misinformation on the internet, cyber bullying, and internet safety. In these apps Professor Garfield helps Nermal learn about fact and opinion, tips for dealing with cyber bullying and what to do, and how to keep identities safe online with information about avoiding online predators.
Moody Monsters is an app that school counselors can use with students to teach them about how to deal with their emotions and problem solving skills. Students can play games where they learn about different moods and emotions through the different monsters on the app. Games are geared towards students helping the monsters solve their conflicts and deal with their emotions by using conflict resolution.120+MentalDisorders is an app school counselors can use that offers quick reference for, as the title suggests, over 120 mental disorders.
Disorders are alphabetized, their symptoms are explained, and information on how to diagnose and treat each disorder is provided as well. School counselors can share information with others, access Facebook, and have essentially a digital DSM at the ready at all times.Emotionary is an app that school counselors can use for work with children on the Autism spectrum. This app allows school counselors to help children with autism understand their thoughts and emotions by recording their voice or taking their picture and then going back to either and reflect on what they were thinking or feeling at the time.
Useful Professional Apps
For school counselors, there are new cell phone applications produced every day that can make performing their administrative duties less of a task. Depending upon personal preferences (cell phone brand/provider) the following apps have their benefits and limitations for school counselors.For the school counselor who prefers the iPhone:TED is short for Technology, Entertainment, and Design and is an app where users can find information like speeches, conferences, videos, and even professional development opportunities for counselors and teachers.Keynote is an app that allows users to put together slide show presentations from their cell phones that is Microsoft Power Point compatible.
For the school counselor who prefers the Android:WaveSecure is an app that helps keep any confidential information kept on your cell phone secure.Urban Dictionary is an app for quick reference of new lingo, slang, and text message jargon students use to stay abreast of what terms school counselor’s should know.
There are limitations to school counselors using technology despite the many benefits it can afford them in servicing students. The main limitation to technology in education overall and specifically to school counselors is funding.
With spending cuts taking place in education across the nation, purchasing technology to provide school counselors with adequate technology to use with students remains a large problem that is difficult to overcome. Locating sources of funding to overcome this limitation also comes with its own source of added problems for school counselors.For example, most funding sources in education come in the form of grants.
Grant writing is a skill that not many people possess that involves filling out long applications with strict guidelines and deadlines, reports and spreadsheets involving information on how the grant funds will be used, proposals that state data regarding the demographics and populations that will be served by the grant with clear attainable goals, and a myriad of other information. School counselors who are new to grant writing may need to take courses to learn how at their own expense.
New technology and apps allow school counselors to keep up with the changing world and challenges that their student’s face. It also helps them understand how they can help their students navigate these challenges. Each app is different and has different capabilities. School counselors who have working knowledge and understanding of apps can determine the benefits and the limitations based on how they can use them in the services they provide for students.