End of the Semester Reflections, Spring 2016

My students sometimes give me the roll-eyed look when I talk about our profession being one of self-reflection. I know it’s true and I am confident that you can find many programs across the country that also have some sort of reflection-based assignment in one of their courses. Self-reflection is critical to the learning process. There is even a great journal focused solely on this subject called Reflections: Narratives of Professional Helping. Full disclosure, I have a recent publication in this journal:-)  To this end I thought I would reflect a bit on the second semester of my first year at Cal State San Marcos.

This semester has been full of working with students on their culminating experience, which is either a capstone project or Thesis. I had the opportunity to chair several projects and be part of others. These projects focused on veterans, homelessness, and social media in clinical social work practice. I’m sure the students might share a different perspective, but I enjoyed the opportunity to work with them. It was challenging at times and yes I am exhausted but that could be due to the fact that I haven’t read that much paper since my dissertation phase.  These projects turned out rather well and gave me a renewed sense to pursue some avenues of research I was becoming dis-interested in. For example, one group focused on developing an advocacy campaign around homelessness. See the trailer below. I was truly amazed at how well this project turned out and extremely pleased with the learning demonstrated by these, and all students.

 

 

Another example of some great student learning through reflection happened in my macro practice course. I employ a critical thinking presentation assignment and pretty much leave it open to the students to create a presentation that demonstrates their learning as it applies to one or more of the course learning objectives. These objectives are also tied to the learning competencies set forth by CSWE. Students did an amazing job this semester thinking critically and reflecting on their learning. I use twitter in this class and I had students create presentations that used some of the twitter assignment that they completed in class.  One particularly creative use of this was developing a word cloud of the course hashtag from the semester’s tweets and talking about how it related to their learning.

word cloud

If you are interested in creating word clouds you can use a number of different web-based platforms such as http://www.wordle.net/ or applications like TweetRoot. I really like the word clouds because they also represent a form of data visualization where the larger words represent the number of times those words were used. It is reassuring to see my students tweeting messages, links, and other content related to community, awareness, and change. These are things that definitely make up Macro Social Work practice.

I can honestly say this semester has been fun and challenging. I thoroughly enjoy teaching students about macro social work and positive social change. I am looking forward to teaching research this summer and to my other class in the fall. But I’m wondering what you do to help students reflect, be mindful, and engage in otherwise formative learning activities?  Maybe you, as a student, have participated in a learning activity that was especially meaningful. I hope that you will leave a comment and let me know so I can think about using my class the next time:-)

Remember the Good in Social Media!

Anyone who knows me, my work, or frequents this blog will recognize that I enjoy social media. Well, most of the time anyways. There are days, weeks, and sometimes even months where I want to close all my many accounts and throw away my iPad or turn of my iPhone. Then something great happens. Something amazing goes viral or comes to me through those very social media channels that I sometimes loathe. November 13th, 2013 was actually one of those days. A day like most others where I opened up Twitter to get some of my daily news and discovered my feed was being overrun with the hashtag #SFBatkid. If you are a regular Twitter user than you know exactly what I’m talking about, how could you not, as that day Batkid was everything.

batkid-thanks-hed-2013

 

The Make A Wish Foundation of the Greater Bay worked with some amazing volunteers to make the wish of one 5-year old boy come true as San Francisco was turned into Gotham City for a day. This event TOOK OVER social media for the day and reminded me then, as it does now, to remember the good in social media. Often times I think social media gets a bad rap and yes there is some complete garbage online, but I like to look to the positive aspects of this participatory culture and be hopeful that these tools can change the world for good. Batkid is one example of just how that happens. Now, there is a documentary available on Netflix (at least that’s where I watched it) that chronicles this story. Check out the trailer below and then go watch the movie. You will not be dissapointed.

 

I took so much away from the movie and it did remind me of that day back in 2013. I was fortunate enough to be teaching a class on the use of social media and I pretty much scrapped the lesson for that day so we could join in on social media. Students were amazed at the magnitude of the event and how many people got involved not only on social media but in person on the day of the event. It was something truly special. I actually liked that people joined in and created signs that read we love batkid or save us batkid. The end of the documentary shared a very important point. That although people may have thought it was fun to join in on this viral moment, the reality is that Batkid really did save us. He saved us by remembering what it’s like want to be a superhero, to let go and have fun, and to just be a kid. he saved us by helping the world to gather together in San Francisco and through social media. For one day everyone was a little nicer, more polite, friendly, and giving. This to me, is the power of social media. The power to bring people together, to rally around a cause, and to ultimately change the world.199zvq8v6wpdkjpg

#BPDTX16 Annual Conference for Baccalaureate Program Directors

The annual conference for the Baccalaureate Program Directors is taking place this week in Dallas, Texas. Unfortunately I am not able to attend because I maxed out on my allotment of conferences for this academic year but I wanted to call your attention to the conference hashtag #BPDTX16 on Twitter because you can follow the conference and get some great updates from various social work educators, students, and practitioners who are in attendance.
dallas-tx-skyline

 This conference is really geared towards social work education at the undergraduate level but still features some great research presentations and teaching workshops. One such workshop I was meant to be apart of was put on by Stephen Baldridge of Abilene Christian University and Laurel Hitchcock of the University of Alabama at Birmingham. The workshop was titled “Social Media Technology Basics for the Social Work Educator” and featured some great content related to using social media in social work education. Dr. Hitchcock wrote a great blog post about the presentation, which also included the presentation abstract. The three of us regularly use social media in our classes and have found it to be useful to students. Be sure to go check out that blog post and if you have questions, you can always leave me a comment or reply to me on Twitter.

Motivation

-motivationI have to admit, sometimes I don’t love what I do and recently I have been thinking about how to change my perspective. I have looked at many different motivational quotes, ideas, etc. and I decided to post this image of the late Steve Jobs because I both disagree and agree with it at the same time. I think it’s easy to disagree with when you don’t love what you do and to agree when you do love what you do. The challenge is managing the in between and getting yourself back to loving what you do. It’s in that spirit that I am going to be pushing myself to do something different and to share that process here. It’s a process that I hope to be successful with but time will tell. The first of several goals I have is to update this blog regularly. I am going to start with once a month posts related to the topics I generally have written on in the past but also hope to integrate a few other things as I try to increase my level of writing activity. I have tried this once before, writing that I will update more regularly, only to fail! What is changing this time? I don’t really know, other than I want to love writing again. So I hope you, whomever you are, don’t mind as I start on this journey. If you feel so inclined. Please comment or share your own insights as well.

Thanks,

Jimmy

 

Student Documentary Movie Night 2-25-2016 with #MacroSW Chat

Dr. Laurel Hitchcock and I are once again partnering with #MacroSW to have a discussion about Income Inequality in America. We have used this innovative assignment and engaging documentary for a couple years now and even published some of our findings in Social Work Education: The International Journal. I hope you will join us this Thursday at 9pm Central, 6pm Pacific Time as we organize around the #MacroSW hashtag on Twitter to talk about this important issue. Also, please go and checkout the MacroSW blog for more information.

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Live Twitter Chats in Social Work Education

imgresJust a quick update as the beginning of my semester kicks off this week. I can’t think of a better way to start than with news of my latest publication with Laurel Hitchcock about our Live Twitter Chat assignments we have been using for several years now. The article is free for the first 50 people who access this link http://www.tandfonline.com/eprint/mYvhnQ4e6C4DrRYAUbF5/full but I know Laurel will also have some eprints available.

We have written on our blogs several posts about this assignment and you can see a collection of my own posts here (hopefully the link works).  This project has been lots of fun and I really enjoy seeing the students learn from this assignment. We will be partnering with #MacroSW chat once again this semester for our live chat so stay tuned for another blog post later in the semester.

2015 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper prepared a 2015 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 2,800 times in 2015. If it were a cable car, it would take about 47 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

#ARNOVA15 Annual Conference in Chicago, Illinois

I figured I had better update my blog for all those who try to find it after the ARNOVA conference this past weekend. I actually meant to post this prior to the conference but well what can I say other than life seems to be super busy right now.

ARNOVA stands for the Association for Research on Nonprofit Organizations and Voluntary Action. It’s a great group of practitioners, students, and academics that are focused on all things nonprofit. I was part of two different presentations related to using technology in education. The first was a colloquium where I had 5 minutes (I know right only 5 minutes) to talk about engaging students in the digital world. I borrowed heavily from my work and previous writings on this subject as they relate to social work education. More information here. But it was actually a lot of fun to have such a short amount of time to get to the point before the gong. Yes there was actually a gong sound that would indicate your time was up.

The other presentation was related to some of my work on increasing digital literacies among students. I have written about this topic as well here on my blog but it was fun to take a unique nonprofit education perspective on the topic and I think the attendees enjoyed it as well. Here are the slides from that presentation.

 

 

#2015APM Council on Social Work Education, Denver, Colorado

denver-colorado

 

 

The Annual Program Meeting of the Council on Social Work Education takes place in Denver, Colorado this year and I am excited to be attending this wonderful conference. This conference affords me the opportunity to meet new colleagues, catch up with old friends, and begin new collaborations. Yes, I am also presenting some of my research and scholarly activities regarding the use of social media in social work education, but I mostly look forward to networking with others.

 

At this years conference I will be participating in two different presentations, one a panel regarding online social work education and another regarding the Twitter Chat Assignment developed by myself and Laurel Hitchcock. I have written many times before on these topics here on this blog as well as published several articles on the broad topic of social media, but more on that later.

The first presentation is all about engaging students in online education. I am presenting with several colleagues; Melanie Sage, Andrew Quinn both of the University of North Dakota, and Dale Fitch from the University of Missouri. We previously present on this topic and I also shared a blog post regarding that presentation. I hope to add in a bit more regarding the use of social media to further engage students in online learning in unique and innovative ways. I hope you can attend, but if not, I will try and get another blog post up after the conference.

The second presentation is focused on using Live Twitter Chats to meet macro/policy social work objectives. Laurel and I have been working together on this assignment for several years now and currently have a piece in the process on evaluating this assignment. Students have really engaged in this and we are excited to continue working to refine and improve the assignment, more to come on that as well.

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If you are in Denver during the conference, I hope to see or meet you. If not, you can always reach out to me via Twitter @JimmySW if you have questions or want to say hello. One of these conferences I do think we need to set up a Tweetup to get all the social workers on Twitter together at one time. That would be fun.

#MacroSW Chat October 8th at 9pm EST

Inequality for All: Student-Focused #MacroSW Twitter Chat on 10/8/15

Laurel Hitchcock of University of Alabama at Birmingham and I (Jimmy Young of the California State University San Marcos) are working with the wonderful folks at #MacroSW Chat to host a live Twitter chat for social work students in March. While the chat is designed with students in mind, anyone is welcome to join us. Here are the details:

 

Topic: Inequality for All – we recommend watching the documentary by Robert Reich before the chat.

 

Date & Time: October 8, 2015 at 8:00 PM CST/6:00 PM PST

 

Hashtag: #MacroSW

 

Hosts: Jimmy Young and Laurel Hitchcock

Questions:

  1. What is happening today in terms of distribution of wealth? Why is it happening? What do you see happening and what are the causes?
  2. When do you think inequality becomes a problem?
  3. If the government sets the rules for how the market functions, who do these rules benefit or hurt?
  4. Who is looking out for the American worker? Who do you think should be and what could be done?
  5. After watching the film, do you agree/disagree with the idea of equal opportunity and the American Dream?
  6. What do you think most Americans don’t realize about income Inequality?
  7. What single word best describes how the film made you feel?
  8. What’s next? How do we as social workers address inequality or move forward?

If you are an educator wanting to incorporate this chat as an assignment into your class, please click here for details. We hope you can join us!

Please contact us (by clicking on our names below) if you plan to have your class or maybe a student group participate in the chat. We also welcome questions.

 

Jimmy Young

Laurel Hitchcock

 

 

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