Technology as a Tool of Innovation

To kick off the new year and tap into our collective powers of innovation, this week's #scchat will be about TECH TOOLS - an opportunity to share what you are using, want to try out and the technology that helps you to be innovative in the world of school counseling. I'll be co-moderating this week's #scchat with Jeff Ream, The Counseling Geek, a newer professional who balances my more "veteran" perspective, and who I admire for his own innovations. Check out his recent post (I couldn't agree more), "10 Insanely Easy Ways to Infuse Technology in Your School Counseling Program" as well as all the tools reviewed by school counselors here on SCOPE (with more being added in 2016). We hope you'll join us at 8pm ET on Tuesday, January 5th on Twitter! Visit the #scchat page for more information about Twitter chats.

Photo by nevarpp/iStock / Getty Images

January is like our 2nd "back to school." You know what I mean, right?! Though much looms ahead it's an aspect of the traditional school schedule that I've appreciated as an opportunity to re-invent and re-empower myself as an educator. As a school counselor for thirteen years, I was constantly in search of ways to improve, invigorate and energize my program down to the most basic tasks. I still engage in this search as a counselor educator, "how can I make this course more engaging than the last time?", "how can I make sure students are consistently getting the information they need?", "how can I better organize my files?", "how can I work more efficiently when collaborating with others?" and on it goes. I rarely find the magic bullet that answers all my questions but technology was then, and continues to be now, the tool I fall back on to bring out my powers of INNOVATION

While the ASCA National Model compels us all to utilize our skills of leadership, advocacy, collaboration and systemic change, I believe INNOVATION is another force at the forefront that is needed by all school counselors (and counselor educators) in order to drive our profession to the next level. If we aren't innovating, we lose our relevance and relevance is something that has been an uphill battle for us as a profession for a very long time. I would argue that school counselors have been innovating for decades - we are masters of problem solving and generating solutions - but we rarely use this word to describe the work we do and it hasn't been common for others to describe our work with this word either. Let's make it part of our vocabulary!

"Technology can be crucial in the development of innovative organizations, but innovation is less about tools like computers, tablets, social media and the Internet, and more about how we use those things."  - The Innovator's Mindset, pg. 20.

One of the primary personal and professional goals of my work as a counselor educator continues to be helping school counselors (and future school counselors) consider the impact of technology on the profession both in the present and into the future. But really, technology is just a tool of INNOVATION. In reality, I hope the work I do promotes an innovator's mindset, not just technology use. To that end, I owe thanks to Susan Spellman Cann, an inspirational friend and school counseling colleague (whom I first met on Twitter) for a recent book recommendation. I'm finding MUCH energy in The Innovator's Mindset by George Couros, a book that resonates with my thoughts about where school counseling (and education) needs to go if we are to maintain our relevance. If you're on Twitter you can follow the hashtag #innovatorsmindset. Couros defines the innovator's mindset as "the belief that abilities, intelligence, and talents are developed so that they lead to the creation of new and better ideas." (p. 33). The creation aspect is what's critical here. If you like Carol Dweck's work on the Growth Mindset, and I know many school counselors who do, take a look at how Couros takes it a step further.

With innovation and technology on my brain, I've got two specific projects that I'm working on for 2016. The first is a video blog I've started called How I See It. I'll share more about what's behind starting this blog in February. For now, watch the first of the How I See It entries below for more on these projects and some additional thoughts about INNOVATION in school counseling.

Happy New Year!