Blog 🍎 School 28th February 2020

Why Educational Technology is Essential to Your Counselling Curriculum

Profile image of Zahra Onsori
Zahra Onsori University Content Writer

Education technology is going to change everything in the classroom. 

If you’re a teacher, college counsellor or education professional, you’ve likely already read or heard a variation of this argument somewhere. 

Whether it’s through a blog like ours, or through a talk you’ve heard at a conference, it’s likely you possess a working familiarity with some of the arguments for technology in education (or ed tech, to use its abbreviation) and why it’s going to potentially revolutionise both how students are taught and how they learn. 

At BridgeU, we’ve always been passionate advocates for the transformative potential of educational technology

It’s not hard to see why – we’re an ed tech platform after all! 

We believe that ed tech can change a student’s life at one of the most important moments in their life – when they begin to make the decisions that will affect their future career path. 

Experience has also taught us that ed tech can be transformative for careers advisers and college counsellors as they help their students to take these definitive first steps into adult life. 

But we also recognise that, for many schools, the process of implementing educational technology into an existing school curriculum can also feel complex and time consuming. 

How can your school best use ed tech to improve students’ outcomes? How can teachers and counsellors ensure that students are engaging with the technology? What ed tech is right for your school? 

Before we answer those questions in more detail, it’s worth quickly revisiting the definition of educational technology, how it works and some of the key benefits of using it. 

What is educational technology?

Educational technology (ed tech) is basically any technology that supports and facilitates a student’s learning experience. Ed tech’s power lies in its potential to allow teachers to create a more inclusive, individualised and engaged learning experience. 

What are the benefits of educational technology?

There are numerous benefits to using ed tech in your school, but some of the most notable include. 

  • Ed tech can be an effective way to connect with students who might have vastly different learning styles 
  • It can help smartphone savvy students stay engaged in the classroom. 
  • It can increase students’ interactions, both with their fellow students and with their teachers and empower students to be more collaborative and creative. 
  • Students can develop a sense of digital citizenship – i.e. learning how to use digital technology safely and responsibly. 

In short, educational technology can be an invaluable resource in your university and careers guidance programme. But it’s only truly invaluable if you know how to use it properly. 

Using educational technology for planning

What activities are you going to carry out with your students? When? With which year group? Ed tech can help you to create single, organised workflows for both you and your students, ensuring you are designing a whole school guidance curriculum where everything is kept in one place. 

We know from experience that  education technology can play a crucial role in any of the following. 

Designing a curriculum

Technology can make it easier to plan what tasks you are going to set your students and when in the school year you are going to set them. 

Designing a curriculum that has ed tech at its core makes it easier to ensure that students are engaged throughout their whole time at school, from early career exploration to final university application. 

And it helps counsellors, teachers and other school staff members to build a whole school programme that is structured around key milestones and deadlines.

Task management 

Education technology can make it easier to set relevant tasks for students and track their progress. It also makes it easier to identify when students and fellow counsellors/teachers are falling behind with certain tasks. 

Preparing resources

Technology can make it easier to put all of your classroom resources and material in one place, ensuring that project management goes hand in hand with knowledge sharing. 

For example, here at BridgeU, we designed our own lesson plans to help our counsellors understand when students should be undertaking certain tasks on the platform and what resources they will need.

Top Tip:

Check out our Resources page, and take a look at some of the classroom materials that can help you prepare your students for university application. 

Using educational technology for data

The increased use of technology has made all of our lives a lot more efficient. But when they’re thinking about their future prospects, technology can also bring added complexity for students (and school staff). 

A Google search sounds like an easy enough way to gather information. But when they’re looking for information about entry requirements, financial or just the general quality of life at their preferred university, students can easily end up with information overload. 

Students may also begin the university application process with a series of preconceptions, whether it’s believing that they have to apply to a prestigious/top ranked university, or feeling a pressure from parents/family to go into a particular profession. 

Counsellors and advisers in turn struggle to know what their students have found out about universities and whether those universities are truly a good fit for the student. 

There are other problems too. How to keep track of students’ outcomes and evaluate the overall effectiveness of your counselling curriculum? How to get access to the meaningful data that will ensure your guidance strategy improves over time? 

Luckily, there are a number of ways that educational technology can help you build a more data-driven curriculum. 

Making sense of university data

The rise of ed tech in university and college counselling has made it easier for schools to collate university data and help their students make sense of it. 

We speak from experience when we say that education technology platforms like Naviance and BridgeU have helped schools to gain a better understanding of students’ decision making and enabled counsellors and teachers to have more informed conversations with students about their university options. 

And of course, it’s made students’ decision making smarter too. 

Ed tech allows schools to create a counselling curriculum where students are discovering better fit universities, and exploring options they may not have previously considered

Making sense of careers data

As with university application, students’ career aspirations are often informed by unrealistic expectations or preconceptions about the sort of work that is available to them and what qualifications they will need. 

For example, a recent report found that there is a huge disconnect between UK students’ career aspirations and current labour market demand. The report found that five times as many UK students wanted to work in art, culture, entertainment and sport as there were jobs in these sectors. 

Such a disconnect is understandable when students often lack access to good quality data about the job markets of the future. 

Ed tech can provide access to real time data that can help students equip themselves with the exact skills they need to enter the 21st century job market. 

Making sense of schools data

Data can have a major role to play in ensuring that counsellors, teachers and school leadership teams keep track of their students’ progress and eventual outcomes. 

We mentioned earlier the potential for ed tech to transform how you plan and strategise a college counselling curriculum. 

Counselors we’ve worked with have told us how amazing it is to be able to use data to understand where their guidance curriculum is having an impact. This in turn gives them the tools to prove the value of their guidance curriculum to senior leaders and heads of school. 

In an increasingly competitive higher education market, it’s difficult for guidance counselors and school leadership teams to meaningfully measure their students’ performance against those of other schools. 

That’s where ed tech comes in. 

Educational technology platforms give schools the ability to visualise their school data, allowing staff to track and analyse students’ university outcomes and gain a critical overview of the successes and failures of their counselling curriculum.

Creating a more impactful guidance curriculum

Like we said at the beginning, there’s a reason why we at BridgeU are such vocal champions of educational technology in university and careers guidance. 

Ed tech has the power to revolutionise how schools prepare their students to enter the 21st century job market. And we’ve been working with schools for nearly six years to make this revolution a reality. 

Instead of students receiving outdated careers advice, they can use ed tech to equip themselves with the skills they’ll need for the world of tomorrow. 

Instead of students being overloaded with information from different university websites, they can research and discover their best destinations in one place. 

Instead of relying on manual processes and struggles to keep students engaged, counselors can build a guidance strategy that is centralised, co-ordinated and helps students to take ownership of their own career planning. 

In a fragmented and fast changing world, technology can empower students to pursue questions that are crucial to their development. It gives them the tools they need to think critically about their future career path. 

Today’s students are already digital natives from a young age. That’s why it’s essential that your counselling curriculum speaks the language of technology. 

Now apply this to building a multinational, quality international student cohort.

The truth is, humans are collaborative by nature.

And whilst the competitive nature of international student recruitment and enrolment can make this collaborative process more difficult, at BridgeU, we believe that in order to create real change, it’s vital to work collaboratively with international schools.

Or, to put it another way, consider your international school network to be your metaphorical ‘village’.

Building trusted relationships with international schools and students is, for us, the most effective way to understand what’s driving your prospective applicants’ decision-making.

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