The enhanced use of digital technologies in school guidance counsellor and student activity

Hohn, Gary A. (2017) The enhanced use of digital technologies in school guidance counsellor and student activity. [Thesis (PhD/Research)]

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Abstract

Digital technologies are constantly changing and school guidance counsellors (SGC) are challenged to keep up with the adolescents use and acquisition of new technologies. There is limited research investigating the impact of providing practicing SGCs with professional development and support in implementing digital technologies. In a rural district in Queensland, Australia, nine secondary SGCs in public schools experienced a customised professional development program in the use of digital technologies. The aim of this face-to-face professional development digital technologies in their school guidance and counselling program. Following the professional development, the researcher and SGCs collaboratively designed nine activities incorporating digital technologies which were then used as an intervention in six schools. These activities were implemented with Year 11/12 students over 16 school weeks. The researcher used Activity Theory as a conceptual and methodological framework to help understand the changes that resulted from the activity generated by the use of digital technologies by SGCs and Year 11/12 students. Data were collected through mixed methods instruments using pre- and post- surveys, pre- and post- semi-structured focus group interviews, SGC diaries, SGC research meetings unstructured observations. A total of 123 students completed the pre- and post- surveys.

The following significant differences (p <.05 level) emerged from the study:

1) SGCs increased their use of the mobile phone in their guidance and counselling service delivery at school.
2) Students decreased their frequency of use of data projectors at school.
3) SGCs increased their frequency of use of apps in their guidance and counselling service delivery.
4) Students increased their frequency of use with eight of the eleven listed digital technologies.
There were some specific SGCs’ technological duties and responsibilities that increased over the research period. These included, providing up to date information, providing information for the School Guidance and Counselling web page, organising an electronic newsletter, using apps that complemented SGC’s interventions, and managing a School Guidance and Counselling blog.
6) There were increases in students’ technological duties and responsibilities which included trying to apply new information to their lives that they had received from the SGCs’ use of technologies, checking the School Guidance and Counselling webpage and regular checking of SGC emails.
7) Following the intervention, students’ results demonstrated increases in them feeling part of the school guidance and counselling community, that SGCs’ use of digital technologies had built a stronger relationship with them and that they had a good relationship with the SGC.

Additional quantitative findings emerged from the study:

1) A further quantitative finding of the study established that the majority of students (73%) agreed that the school guidance and counselling service had improved through the use of digital technologies. This was supported through student comments regarding improved accessibility to the SGC, improved quantity, access and application of information and enhanced communication with the SGC.
2) All SGCs affirmed that digital technologies had improved the service. This was supported through SGC comments of improved and increased communication with students and greater access and contact with students.

The following qualitative findings emerged from the study:

1) There was an increase in how SGCs used digital technologies in their school guidance and counselling service through: Data Management, Communication and Collaboration, the use of the World Wide Web, and the use of available Multimedia.
SGCs highlighted that digital technology rules fell into four themes: maintaining confidentiality, following policy requirements, ensuring safety, and work technology entering SGCs’ private lives. SGCs viewed the technology rules to be appropriate and needed to protect both student and SGCs.
3) Students highlighted that digital technology rules also formed four rule groups: ensuring safety, using social media, respecting others, and using digital devices. Students viewed the technology rules to be appropriate and needed. Rules that constrained students included blocked websites.

Conclusions from this study:

This short form customised face to face professional development program increased SGCs’ knowledge, confidence and skills while using digital technologies in their service delivery. Results indicate that professional development in the use of digital technologies can result in changes in SGC behaviour and improve school guidance and counselling service delivery. In the main, students appear willing to engage in enhanced use of digital technologies by SGCs. Research results indicate that if SGCs are given the appropriate professional development in technology, access to appropriate technological devices, and support in implementation, the school guidance and counselling service will improve. SGCs are prepared to use digital technologies in their role however they appear wary of technology that increases workload for little perceived benefit.


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Item Type: Thesis (PhD/Research)
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) thesis.
Faculty / Department / School: Current - Faculty of Business, Education, Law and Arts - School of Teacher Education and Early Childhood
Supervisors: O'Brien, Patrick; Jamieson-Proctor, Romina
Date Deposited: 31 Jul 2017 03:08
Last Modified: 01 Jun 2018 04:42
Uncontrolled Keywords: digital technology; school guidance counsellors (SGC); Queensland
Fields of Research : 13 Education > 1302 Curriculum and Pedagogy > 130212 Science, Technology and Engineering Curriculum and Pedagogy
URI: http://eprints.usq.edu.au/id/eprint/32885

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