Technology in School Psychology


Welcome to the Technology in School Psychology Wikispace. Here, you will find resources to guide the effective use of technology in your practice, as well as information on ways in which students may use technology that could be relevant to educators.

Technology supports innovation in a variety of disciplines. Whether you want to work in advertising, manufacturing, business, education, medicine....technology is important to what you do and how you get better at it. The video below features some famous faces discussing how important technology and being fluent in its use was to their success:



Obviously, for Mark Zuckerberg and Bill Gates, technology was integral to their success in the "tech business." However, technology has practical applications and implications in school settings as well. Whether technology helps a student do research for a history project, or allows a school psychologist to collaborate with a colleague at a university three states away, technology affects and enhances the learning environment, and it is essential that we embrace and prepare for the future of technology in schools.

Technology for Students


The students in classrooms today are the most technologically-savvy students in history. 82% of children are online by 7th grade and experience about 6.5 hours per day of media exposure (Wallis, 2006). Most of them grew up using or with access to a personal computer, many of them have cell phones, and the majority of them have daily interaction with some form of social networking. This familiarity and fluency with technology presents both a unique opportunity and a challenge for educators. Technology can be a tool to enrich the learning environment, but it can also be a tool for students to bully and harass one another or access inappropriate content. It is essential that educators balance the use of technology in their schools to ensure that we are maximizing benefits while minimizing risks.

The Benefits


This video lists 10 ways in which using technology in the classroom can enhance and support student learning and teacher success.




1. Students love it!
2. Engages active engagement, participation in groups, frequent interaction and feedback, and connection with real-world experts.
3. Professional development to make students more competitive in the work force.
4. Makes life easier for teachers.
5. Improves test scores by allowing students to move at their own pace and engage multiple learning styles.
6. Keeps students engaged.
7. Learning from the experts by connecting to experts from the field.
8. Encourages homework completion.
9. Saves money!
10. Removes obstacles to instruction.

Technology clearly has many potential benefits when it is used thoughtfully in the classroom. One of the most salient benefits is the time, energy, and money it can save teachers. By using technology effectively, teachers can make use of free web-based tools that can enhance their instruction, as well as free up precious time for them to devote to students who are struggling. Consulting online resources like TeacherTubeand intervention demonstrations on the EBI Network, teachers can use videos to help them implement new and effective methods in the classroom. Other useful web-based resources for teachers can be found in the Resources section. School psychologists can also effectively use technology to assist them in administering and scoring assessments, writing and disseminating reports, creating IEPs, and communicating with other professionals. More information on how school psychologists can use technology most effectively can be found in the Technology for Practitioners section.

While there is certainly a myriad of benefits to using technology, there are also some considerations that technology brings along when it is integrated into the learning environment. In the next section, we will look at some of these potential drawbacks to the use of technology, and discuss some ways school psychologists and educators can address these concerns.

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The Answer to 3 Educational Challenges: Richard Culatta, deputy director of the

Office of Educational Technology answers the 3 main questions


In this TEDx video, Culatta explains that by leveraging technology, we can solve three major challenges faced by educators across the country:
  • We treat all learners the same (despite individuals’ knowledge and backgrounds).
  • We hold schedules constant and allow learning to vary (instead of adjusting schedules to accommodate learning).
  • We assign grades too late to be useful for the learner

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The Drawbacks


Technology clearly has many benefits for both students and educators. However, the misuse of technology must also be considered when encouraging students to use technology in the learning environment.

Cyberbullying


Studies have shown that cyberbullying is on the rise, both on and off school grounds. According to recent studies:
  • 19% of youth ages 10-17 had experienced cyberbullying, as either a victim or an offender (Ybarra and Mitchell, 2004).
  • 11.1% of middle-schoolers had been cyberbullied in the past 2 months (Kowalski, 2007).
  • 4.1% were cyberbullies (Kowalski, 2007).
  • 6.8% were both a cyberbullying victim and offender (Kowalski, 2007).
  • 10% of middle school students had been bullied in the past 30 days (Hinduja and Patchin, 2009).
  • 17% of middle school students had experienced cyberbullying over their lifetimes (Hinduja and Patchin, 2009).

While bullying is not a new problem in schools, the incorporation of technology has "changed the game" for both victims and bullies. Here are some of the primary ways cyberbullying differs from traditional bullying (Patchin and Hinduja, 2010).

  1. Cyberbullies can remain anonymous by using temporary email and IM accounts and pseudonyms in chat rooms, social networking sites, and on message boards.
  2. No regulatory bodies or authorities police conversations in cyberspace, allowing bullying to continue unabated.
  3. It often seems easier to be cruel and malicious via digital harassment because of the physical distance separating the bully and the victim, and because social norms, rules, and morals seem less relevant in electronic communications.

Educators must be vigilant in monitoring students' use of the internet and technology to ensure that cyberbullying does not affect students in the learning environment. Being either a victim or perpetrator of online harassment puts students at risk for lower self-esteem, which can have a variety of negative academic and emotional consequences (Patchin and Hinduja, 2010). Using bulletin boards, active teaching of school rules, and frequent computer-activity monitoring, educators can help prevent cyberbullying.

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For more information on how to prevent cyberbullying and the misuse of technology in schools, see the following resources:

Stop Bullying, from the United States Department of Health and Human Services

National Crime Prevention Council, Cyberbullying page

Facebook's Tips for preventing Cyberbullying

Other drawbacks for encouraging students to use technology include students potentially using the technology to surf unrelated sites or play games during instructional time. When teachers incorporate use of computers or tablets into their instruction, they should remember to carefully monitor students' activity to ensure that they are staying on task. Additionally, school personnel and administrators can block sites that are not appropriate for student use. Students may also use the internet inappropriately to complete homework by copying and pasting work from other students or websites and present it as their own. When students are encouraged to use the internet to complete their work, teachers should carefully monitor for potential plagiarism.

Drawbacks practitioners should consider when using technology include the potential for confidential data to be "leaked" or accessed by unauthorized personnel. This is particularly of concern for school psychologists, since many of the psychoeducational report data they collect are highly sensitive and confidential. School personnel using electronic data storage should take all necessary steps to maximize the safety of these materials, and should do everything they can to maintain the security of confidential data and reports.

Technology for Practioners


There are a lot of questions that come up regarding technologies that could be helpful for students. For more information see the TechPsych Blog
  • What are some emerging technologies & how can you incorporate into the classroom?
  • How to determine the effectiveness of such technologies?
  • What about assistive technology and can it be used in a prevention/ intervention model?
  • What evidence-based research is available to support emerging technologies?

Q-Interactive is an emerging technology: It is an innovative mobile solution for professionals involved in the administration of psychological, neuropsychological and other diagnostic interactive assessments. The Q-Interactive platform includes:

  • Use of portable Apple® iPad® tablet technology
  • Customization batteries
  • Administer, score and manage clinical assessments anytime - anywhere
    • Dr. Sheila Balog, a psychologist who practices in multiple states, said, “Q-Interactive has moved psychological testing into the 21st century! The portability and accessibility of the materials and my data are unrivaled in the testing industry. Flying with two iPads is much easier than transporting kits, or spending extra money to purchase multiple sets of materials. The platform is extremely easy to learn and use, and made my transition from paper materials to electronic administration seamless.”
    • Dr. Richard J. Perrillo, a neuropsychologist in private practice in San Francisco, who administered nearly 130 subtests during the beta, said, “I love the way Q-interactive reduces examiner fatigue.”
    • A high school psychologist from Illinois who administered more than 100 subtests, commented, “Q-interactive has single-handedly changed the future of psychological assessments for us as school psychologists. It is very user-friendly and has dramatically cut down the amount of time I need to both administer and score assessments. The days of carrying bags and briefcases full of heavy testing instruments are a thing of the past.

  • Currently, the following assessments & subtests are available in the Q-interactive Assessment Library:
    • WAIS–IV (Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale – Fourth Edition)
    • WISC–IV (Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children – Fourth Edition)
    • CVLT–II (TheCalifornia Verbal Learning Test – Second Edition)
    • CVLT–C (The California Verbal Learning Test – Children’s Version)
    • D–KEFS (Delis-Kaplan Executive Function System) – Selected tests
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McDougal, Clark and Wilson have created a helpful site which provides Excel tools for use with CBM and DIBELS data, as well as many behavioral monitoring and recording forms. Click the image above to view their site.


NASP on Technology


According to the National Association of School Psychologists, school psychologists use technology in a variety of ways. At the 2008 conference in New Orleans, Louisiana, Dan Florell gave a presentation entitled "The Use of Technology by Practitioners in School Psychology." In this presentation, he presented findings from a survey of 369 school psychologists on their attitudes towards and use of technology in their practice. Some of the highlights of his findings are presented below:

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This graph shows the technologies school psychologists rated as most useful in enhancing their productivity. Ranking highest among the 13 types of technology were laptops, desktops, copy machines, scoring programs, and access to the internet.

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The survey also asked participants a variety of questions about their attitudes towards technology. Most respondents reported feeling comfortable with technology and found it was helpful in improving their job performance. They seldom experienced ethical dilemmas related to the use of technology, but were somewhat mixed about being the first to embrace new technology and feeling that technology may change too quickly.

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According to the survey, school psychologists also used technology to facilitate their report-writing process. The most helpful technologies in this important area of practice were word processors, scoring programs, and report templates.

InterventionsNASP.PNG
School psychologists also reported using technology to facilitate the identification and implementation of new interventions. The most helpful resources for interventions were internet sites and books. Not surprisingly, e-mailing a colleague was also rated as useful, which demonstrates that effective use of social networking tools like e-mail and messaging can support collaboration between professionals and enhance the practice of school psychology.

Communique and NASP Principles


School psychologists also have access to current opinions of and recommendations for using technology in their practice in each issue of Communiqué. Bill Pfohl's "Tech Corner" column discusses changes in technology relevant to school psychologists and the ethical and legal implications of using technology. In Volume 39, Issue 3, he discusses the Ethical Principles set forth in NASP's Principles for Professional Ethics (2010) that govern the use of technology:

  • Standard II.3.2:"School psychologists use assessment techniques and practices that the profession considers to be responsbile, research-based practice...When using computer-administered assessments, computer-assisted scoring, and/or interpretation programs, school psychologists choose programs that meet professional standards for accuracy and validity. School psychologists use professional judgement in evaluating the accuracy of computer-assisted assessment findings for the examinee.
  • Standard II.4.1: "School psychologists discuss with parents and adult students their rights regarding creation, modification, storage, and disposal of psychological and educational records that result from the provision of services. Parents and adult students are notified of electronic storage and transmission of personally identifiable school psychological records and the associated risks to privacy.
  • Standard II.4.5: "School psychologists take steps to ensure that information in school psychological records is not released to persons or agencies outside of the school without the consent of the parent except as required and permitted by law.
  • Standard II.4.6: "To the extent that school psychological records are under their control, school psychologists ensure taht only those school personnel who have a legitimate educational interest in a student are given access to the student's school psychological records without prior parent permission or the permission of an adult student.
  • Standard II.4.7: "To the extent that school psychological records are under their control, school psychologists protect electronic files from unauthorized release or modification (e.g., by using passwords and encryption), and they take reasonable steps to ensure that school psychological records are not lost due to equipment failure.

Using guidance from the NASP Ethical Principles, mentoring from other professionals, and prudent clinical judgment, school psychologists can use technology in an ethical and responsible manner to enhance their practice and increase their effectiveness.


Online Resources for Educators


The resources in this section provide school psychologists, teachers, and parents a wealth of information about how to appropriately use technology, as well as some web-based materials covering relevant topics to enhance the educational environment.

Doing What Works from the United States Department of Education

Intervention Central, a collection of online resources and interventions for classroom use

RTI Action Network, a guide to implementing and using RTI with a variety of learners

National Center for Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports

What Works Clearinghouse from the United States Department of Education Institute of Education Services

Microsoft in Education Technology in the Classroom Teacher Resources, a collection of free web-based tools to enhance the use of technology in the classroom

NASP Technology Articles, a collection of articles from Communiqué and other sources available to NASP members.


References

Diamaduros, T., Downs, E., & Jenkins, S.J. (2008). The role of school psychologists in the assessment, prevention, and intervention of cyberbullying. Psychology in the Schools, 45(8), 693-704.

Hinduja S., Patchin J.W. (2007). Offline consequences of online victimization: School violence and delinquency. Journal of School Violence, 6(3), 89-112.

Kowalski RM, Limber SP. (2007). Electronic bullying among middle school students. Journal of Adolescent Health, 41, S22-S30.

Patchin, J.W., Hinduja, S. (2006). Bullies move beyond the schoolyard: a preliminary look at cyberbullying. Youth Violence Juvenille Justice, 4(2), 148-169.

Wallis, Claudia. “The Multitasking Generation.” Time, March 19, 2006, pp. 48-55.

Ybarra, M.L., Mitchell, J.K. (2004). Online aggressor/targets, aggressors and targets: A comparison of associated youth characteristics. Journal of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 45, 1308-1316.