Welcome to the newly created TCG Interview Series. I wanted to try to reach out and get some info, tips, and advice from fellow counselors about using technology in their counseling program. This is the first installment I have another one coming very soon, so stay tuned. The interviews will be held via different media – from a written interview (like this one) to video interviews over Skype/Google Hangouts. I am excited about this because I not only learn a lot myself, but I feel that the info shared by some of the people willing to let me ask them some questions about their counseling program will be valuable to all counselors out in the blog world.
I hope to make this a semi-regular series on The Counseling Geek, but that will take help from all you counselors. If you would like to help me by volunteering to let me interview you, please email me, send me a Tweet, or message on Facebook, letting me know you want to interview. You do not have to be a tech guru or even know a huge amount about using technology in counseling – my interest is what got you started, how you kept going, and what types of tips can you pass along to fellow counselors following the same path. So, without further ado – here is installment #1 of The Counseling Geek Interview Series.
Many people who are involved in Twitter and #scchat will most likely recognize my interviewee. Professor @Prof_Polzin) graciously allowed me to interview her via email. She has a Master of Arts in Counseling degree from Lindenwood University in Missouri, is a certified school psychological examiner, and a counselor educator. You can follow her on Twitter using @Prof_Polzin and she regularly posts awesome info the help with counseling PD. Elizabeth Polzin (
The Counseling Geek: Can you describe a bit about your past experience as a counselor and how you got started in the profession?
@Prof_Polzin: I completed my Master of Arts in Counseling at Lindenwood University, MO in 2009 and at the time, was working as a Graduate Assistant. Do to my familiarity with the department, I was hired as a staff member to work as the Counseling Program Coordinator (responsible for curriculum changes, orienting new students, working with adjunct faculty, assessment committee chair, etc.) Since then, I have earned my certification as a school psychological examiner and am currently working on my EdD in Instructional Leadership. I also teach two undergraduate education courses and one graduate counseling class that deals specifically with assessment.
TCG: What types of technology do you regularly integrate into your program?
@Prof_Polzin: For the courses I teach, I have integrated Twitter to a small degree. I have introduced Twitter to students (began doing this in the spring of 2011) and given brief tutorials on its use. I’ve continued to encourage students to use it to connect with other counselors and educators.
Beginning this semester, I will allow students to present information in class using their technology of choice (encouraging them to use on they could use in their future school). Specifically, Prezi, LiveBinder. I regularly use Blackboard, PowerPoint, and Prezi in my classes.
TCG: How do you feel technology has improved or supported your counseling efforts? Any one type/program in specific stand out?
@Prof_Polzin: Personally, I have found Twitter to be the most beneficial–I think it’s been great for professional development. Students that have joined Twitter have realized that technology can be fun and educational at the same time–something I hope they take into their future careers. Tech tools like Blackboard have helped me save paper and made it much easier for students to locate information.
TCG: How receptive have other stakeholders been to the technology you have used? Are administrators supportive, parents open to using things like Twitter, and students utilizing the tools you share?
@Prof_Polzin: To be honest, I have gotten no feedback regarding the use of technology in the classroom from my administration. The university does their best to maintain the equipment that helps make it possible, so I see that as supportive.
TCG: What speed bumps have you had to overcome when working to implement new technology or keep your ongoing projects fresh/useful?
@Prof_Polzin: I have had to play around with some of the tech tools I use so that I can teach others how to use them, which slows down my attempts to incorporate them into the classroom in some way. Also, because just a few other counselor educators are including things like Twitter, I have little guidance regarding suggestions for how to include it in my courses.
TCG: How do you maintain the vital human touch factor while using technology?
@Prof_Polzin: I still have regular face to face contact with all my students–so we’re not only connected online, but in person. For tools like Twitter, they have helped maintain the relationships I had with students because it enables us to stay connected.
TCG: Is there anything you would do different, looking back at the process of starting to integrate technology into your counseling program?
@Prof_Polzin: The only regret I have is not getting more people on board to begin with. I could use someone to help bounce some ideas off regarding the use of technology.
TCG: Do you have any final tips/advice/words of wisdom for counselors wanting to start using the tech tools in their programs or for new counselors just getting started?
@Prof_Polzin: Pick one tech tool to start with and get connected with others using it. Don’t overwhelm yourself by attempting too many new tasks at a time.
Awesome advice! Thanks again to Elizabeth Polzin for helping support the professional development of school counselors around the globe. If you have further questions for Elizabeth, you can comment below or send her a tweet to @Prof_Polzin. I would love to hear back from people with other specific questions you would like to hear answers for in upcoming interviews – comment, tweet me, or leave a Facebook note with your questions and I will be sure to get that into our next interview over Skype with @SchCslgByHeart.