ERIC Identifier: ED435947
Publication Date: 1999-00-00
Author: Myers, Jane E. - Gibson, Donna M.
Clearinghouse on Counseling and Student Services Greensboro NC.
Technology Competence of Counselor Educators. ERIC Digest.
To many people, technology is simply a fact of life - it affects virtually
every aspect of our daily living. Thus, the increasing use of technology in
counseling is viewed as unavoidable and even desirable. To others, technology
has little place in counseling beyond the traditional uses of computers for
assessment and career counseling, as described by Walz (1997). The increasing
availability of inexpensive computer applications and networks is a major force
promoting the infusion of technology in our field (Sampson, Kolodinsky, &
Greeno, 1997), yet the extent to which counselors and counselor educators use
these resources is largely unknown.
If counselors find uses for technology in their work, may it be assumed that
they will learn technology skills in pre-service preparation? To what extent do
counselor educators use technology in their classrooms? In a recent survey of
members of the Association for Assessment in Counseling, participants indicated
that they used the Internet for assessment and for the purpose of searching for
data (Lundberg & Cobitz, 1999). Little research is available concerning how
counselor educators use technology and how prepared they feel for the
technological revolution; however, it appears that technology competence is not
a universal priority. For example, Hackney (1990), in Changing Contexts for
Counselor Preparation in the 1990s, devotes no attention to the impact of
technological change. At the same time, educators have realized that students
have different learning modalities and can benefit from a variety of teaching
approaches that utilize technological advances (Hayes, 1999).
The benefits of technology are numerous for both students and educators
(Hayes, 1999; Morrell, 1992), and it is educators who provide the impetus as
well as the medium for much technological literacy, through course assignments
and instructional methods. It is timely to ask the question, how competent are
counselor educators in the use of technology? The answer to this question may
establish training needs of counselor educators and promote research on how best
to meet these needs. We expect our students to be technologically literate, but
how competent are counselor educators in the technology skills they require
their students to possess?
To answer the question posed above, we created
a survey, based on the 12 technology competencies for students identified by the
Technology Interest Network of the Association for Counselor Education and
Supervision (ACES; http://www.auburn.edu/ccp/acestin). The survey was published
in the Spring, 1999, issue of the ACES Spectrum, and asked ACES members to
self-assess their technology competence. The availability of the survey was also
announced to members of the CESNET listserv, which is used by counselors,
students, counselor educators, and supervisors. Each competency was stated and
readers were asked to respond using a Likert-type scale with the following
points: 1-no competence in this area; 2-a little competence; 3-about average
competence; 4- above average competence; and 5-very competent. Surveys could be
completed using a web-based form on-line, sent through e-mail, or the hard copy
filled out and returned by "snail-mail." An opportunity was provided at the end
of the survey for open-ended comments concerning technology competence in
counselor education and supervision.
Ninety-two individuals responded to the survey,
including 62 counselor educators, 22 students, 13 professional counselors, and 7
supervisors. Among the counselor educators, 14 checked that they were assistant
professors, 13 associate professors, and 23 full professors. These individuals
had a combined total of 850 years of experience, with an average of 13.9 years
(s.d. = 9.6). The average years of experience by rank were as follows: assistant
professors, 3.86 years (s.d. = 1.41), associate professors, 9.85 years (s.d. =
4.76), full professors, 22.5 years (s.d. = 7.07). Six of the students were
entry-level and 19 doctoral-level. The overall response rate to the survey,
based on 2,492 ACES members, was 4%.
The means and standard deviations for all
respondents for each of the 12 competencies are included in Table 1. For each
item except competency number two, responses ranged from 1 to 5. For competency
two, responses ranged from 2 to 5. The mean competency ratings ranged from 2.95
to 4.55. The variability, as indicated by the standard deviations, ranged from
.82 to 1.29.
The table also shows the rank order of each competency based on the mean
scores. The highest ranks, indicating the highest level of competency, were for
using e-mail (1), accessing listservs (2), and using audio-visual equipment (3).
These were also the three competencies for which the least amount of variability
in responses occurred, as noted by a review of the standard deviations for each
competency. The lowest competencies were reported for using computerized testing
(10), knowledge of webcounseling (11), and using computerized statistical
packages (12). There was a large amount of variability in responses to these
items compared to the top rated competencies, as noted in the table.
MANOVAs for each competency computed between educators and students revealed
three significant differences. Counselor educators self-rated as more competent
than students for competencies 9 and 10 (F = 7.09, df=35, p = .01 and F = 8.21,
df=35, P = .01, respectively), knowledge of ethical codes relating to counseling
on the internet and knowledge of the strengths and weaknesses of counseling on
the internet. Students rated themselves as higher on ability to use audiovisual
equipment (F = 4.84, df=35, p = .035). Eighty-eight of the 92 respondents
indicated that they "actively seek opportunities to develop my technology
skills" while two indicated that they "avoid opportunities to develop my
Thirty respondents provided comments related to the survey or counselor
education technology competencies. Only three individuals reported that
technology competence was infused into the curriculum in their counselor
education training program, and that a high level of competence was expected of
students throughout their enrollment in the program. Concern for lack of access
to computers, especially by adult, commuter students, was noted as a barrier to
instructor use of the web for dissemination of syllabi and other course
materials. Several individuals noted that they were unaware of the competency
levels of other persons, thus rating themselves in relation to other counselor
educators was a difficult and possibly inaccurate process.
RECOMMENDED COURSE OF ACTION
Strategies for increasing
technology competence among counselor educators, students, and counseling
professionals seem to be a necessity as we enter the 21st century. The results
of our survey, though limited in scope, provide baseline data to help determine
the present state of the field and suggest current and future directions for
training and research. More research on counselor educator technology competence
is needed to provide a basis for designing continuing education programs to
increase technology skills. In addition, specific technology competencies for
counselor educators that may be over and above those needed by counseling
students have not yet been identified, and competencies for practicing
professional counselors remain undetermined.
Continued research as well as dialog concerning technology competencies in
counseling is needed, as well as discussion concerning ways to infuse technology
competence into counseling and counselor training. As part of this discussion,
the relative importance of various competencies needs to be considered, as well
as the desirability, feasibility, or necessity of being "very competent" in all
SUMMARY AND CONCLUSION
As the impetus for advanced
technology continues, counselor training programs are increasingly required to
adapt. Results of the ACES survey on technology competencies for counselor
educators and students indicate that counselor educators and counseling students
lack a uniformly high level of technology competence. Given the likely
possibility that primarily "technology-interested" individuals completed the
survey, the results probably overestimate, by an unknown amount, the actual
levels of technology competence among counselor educators and students.
Further research is needed to determine the relative importance of each of
the technology competencies in the various settings in which counselors work.
With this information, it will also be necessary to determine the extent to
which the competencies are currently infused into counselor preparation programs
as well as strategies for promoting technology training. It will be important to
address both pre- and in-service preparation that will enhance needed technology
competence in our field.
Hackney, H. (1990). Changing contexts for
counselor preparation in the 1990s. Alexandria, VA: Association for Counselor
Education and Supervision.
Hayes, B. G. (1999). Where's the data? Is multimedia instruction effective in
training counselors? Journal of Technology in Counseling 1.1 [On-line].
Lundberg, D. J., & Cobitz, C. I. (1999). Use of technology in counseling
assessment: A survey of practices, views, and outlook. Journal of Technology in
Counseling 1.1 [On-line]. Available: <http://jtc.colstate.edu>.
Morrell, P. D. (1992). The effects of computer-assisted instruction and
students' achievement in high school biology. School Science and Mathematics, 92
Sampson, J. P., Jr., Kolodinsky, R. W., & Greeno, B. P. (1997).
Counseling on the information highway: Future possibilities and potential
problems. Journal of Counseling & Development, 75, 203-218.
Walz, G. R. (1997). Using the I-way for career development. In R. Feller
& G. R. Walz (Eds.), Career transitions in turbulent times: Exploring work,
learning and careers (pp. 415-427). Greensboro, NC: ERIC/CASS Publications.
Technology Competence of Counselor Educators
ACES Technology Competencies: mean s.d. rank
1. Be able to use productivity software to develop web pages, 3.32 1.18 9
presentations, letters, reports, etc.
2. Be able to use such audiovisual equipment as video 4.12 0.91 3
recorders, audio recorders, projection equipment,
and playback units.
3. Be able to subscribe, participate in, and sign off 4.16 0.96 2
4. Be able to access and use
counseling-related CD-ROM databases. 3.45 1.29 7
5. Be able to use e-mail. 4.55 0.82 1
6. Be able to use computerized statistical packages. 2.95 1.19 12
7. Be able to use computerized testing,
diagnostic, and career 3.31 1.29 10