A Whole New Semester & Perspective

Media Literacy I can’t believe summer has come and gone. Actually, I can’t believe I haven’t written a blog post since March, WOW. To be fair I have been super busy editing a special issue of the Journal of Nonprofit Education and Leadership, which I hope will be out sometime in the beginning of the next year…AND we added a new addition to the family. Charlie is sure getting bigger and his brothers and sister love having him around. I would just like to get more sleep 🙂

This semester I am teaching courses on social work law and ethics as well as program evaluation and research. The latter course is going to fun and interesting because research is always fun and interesting, right!?! I have a couple ideas so I’m going to try my best to share them here and report on how well they went over in the class. This is part of my attempt to get back into the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning, where I have published several pieces on digital technologies, digital literacies or new media in the past. By making this claim, that I plan to share more here, I am hoping it keeps me more accountable but time will tell.

The other day, the wonderful @Melanie Sage asked on Twitter how we are teaching digital literacies this term. There were some great ideas from having students evaluate an app for social work practice to using the new Social Work Tech Standards to create an infographic. I continue to use my new media literacies instrument to assess student’s level of digital literacies, which I have written about here and also provided the survey if you wish to use it here. But in my research class, I am going to talk specifically about the idea of judgment, or crap detection, and critical consumption. We now live in a very dubious society, some contend it’s because of social media and the proliferation of garbage content, but as the internet and social media continue to evolve I think we need to take a step back to reflect and consider several things. This is the critical thought aspect of judgment, where I think we can consider varying viewpoints and empathize with those opinions. The challenge, however, will be politely disagreeing with opinions and helping some to understand facts. I will use my example of cloaked websites but I will also have students try to find their own examples as well. Be it friends on Facebook sharing questionable news pieces or simply blogs that are completely opinion based.

This could be very hard, and I think some students may initially feel it is a waste of time, but my hope is that they learn more about critical consumption of content and the skill of judgment, but more importantly the skill of engagement. The idea of listening to another person’s opinion, empathizing with them, but (if the situation calls for it) providing some fact based education. I really don’t know how this will go, but that lends itself to me being accountable to come back here to share my experience. Wish me luck, and if I have any new ideas between now and then, I will try to share them on this blog as well.

But what about you. How will you be engaging students and developing their digital literacies? Let me know on Twitter or in the comments section.

Thanks,

JY

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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 🙂

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.

Screen Shot 2015-03-13 at 9.51.40 AM

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.

#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.

imgres

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.

New Position

As we come to a close of the spring semester here at UNK, I have been thinking a lot about the past three years and my future. I decided to take a new faculty position in the department of social work at California State University San Marcos in San Marcos, California. While I am excited to start this new position and work in a department with some great new colleagues, I will miss the colleagues and friends I have made here at UNK. I never imagined myself living in Nebraska and it has really been enjoyable. I, and my family, are excited to be closer to other family as we move to Southern California but I will forever be grateful for the work I was able to complete here at UNK and for the students in my classes. It may have taken some convincing of them that social media can be powerful in social work, but I think they now have a better understanding of its place in the profession. I will continue my work on social work and social media in my new position but I am also looking forward to getting involved in more community-based research. I have lots of grand ideas and hope to share them along the way here on my blog. Yes, I know I do not update as often as I should and it’s honestly something I hope to work on as well. In the mean time, back to grading, then packing and moving. It’s going to be a wild and fun summer 🙂

#MacroSW Chat Follow Up

Last night Laurel Hitchcock and I moderated the #MacroSW Chat, hosted by @MSWatUSC to discuss the documentary film Inequality for All. This is the third semester where we have worked to create an opportunity to learn and discuss in openly networked spaces and I continue to be amazed the engagement by students and others. If you would like to view the transcript of the chat, head on over to Storify via this link > https://storify.com/MacroSW/3-12-15-macrosw-twitter-chat-inequality-for-all-1

 

I believe Laurel will post a follow up to this chat on her blog as well but I wanted to share some quick stats on the event last night. In all we had just under 100 users on Twitter engaging around the topic of Inequality and over 730 posts. We had users from many different states and several countries represented. All these stats come from the website Keyhole and so I’m not exactly sure how accurate they are but one thing I did like from the site is this really cool word cloud of some of the top Keywords.

http://keyhole.co/widget/jmGc9s/topics/7

I’m not sure that the widget will come through when I publish this post so here is a screen shot.

Screen Shot 2015-03-13 at 9.51.40 AM

 

This assignment has been really fun and even eye opening as I read through student’s reflection papers and I am constantly amazed at how much the students learn and recognize that Inequality is a real challenge and that they feel like the CAN do something about it. Stay tuned as Laurel and I continue to update and adapt this assignment. We have started gathering a bit more data and hope to share the results in the not to distant future.

Using Social Media to teach and assess Macro/Policy-based Social Work Competencies – #BPD2015 Conference

I am presenting with Dr. Laurel Hitchcock at the Association of Baccalaureate Social Work Program Director’s Annual 2015 Conference on March 6, 2015 about our social media assignment designed for social work students to learn about and try their hand at macro- and policy-practice skills. In this workshop, we describe how we developed, implemented and assessed this assignment which incorporates a documentary movie with a live Twitter chat. We will discuss things we learned along the way and offer tips on how other educators can incorporate a similar assignment into their courses. The learning objectives for this session include:

 

  1. Understand how the social media platform Twitter can be incorporated into assignments for social work policy courses at the BSW-level.
  2. Demonstrate how social work educators can assess attainment of competency among BSW students using a social media assignment paired with a Rubric for evaluation of the assignment’s learning outcomes.
  3. Appreciate the role of professional collaboration in the development, implementation and assessment of social media-based assignments.

 

We have previously written about this assignment on our blogs:

 

  1. Special #MacroSW Chat October 28th at 8pm CST from JimmySW’s Blog:

https://jimmysw.wordpress.com/2014/10/03/special-macrosw-chat-october-28th-at-8pm-cst/

 

  1. Follow-up to 10/28 #MacroSW Twitter Chat from Teaching Social Work Blog:

http://www.laureliversonhitchcock.org/2014/11/07/follow-up-to-1028-macrosw-twitter-chat/

 

Here is a link to the Prezi that we will show during the presentation (http://tiny.cc/SMAssignment_BPD2015).

 

Our next live Twitter chat for this assignment will be on March 12, 2015 9 PM EST/8 PM CST and we invite you all to join us. The chat is sponsored by #MacroSW. Click here for more details.

 

Finally, here is the abstract for our presentation:

 

Social media includes applications, digital technologies, and mobile devices that utilize the Internet in a manner to create an interactive dialogue among organizations, communities, and individuals (Richardson, 2006). More specifically, social media are defined as an array of digital technologies that allow for the creation and exchange of user generated content (Kaplan & Haenlein, 2010; Kanter & Fine, 2010). Irrespective of the variety of terms and definitions, the role of the user as an active participant of interaction with others is paramount when describing social media (Kilpelainen, Paykkonen, & Sankala, 2011). There is a growing awareness that social work practitioners, students and educators need to be adept at using social media and information communication technology as part of their practice and interaction with clients and organizations of all sizes (Coe Regan & Freddolino, 2008; Getz, 2012; National Association of Social Workers [NASW], 2005). However, technology in social work education has been integrated sporadically with varying degrees of success, and the literature suggests social work educators need to increase their digital competencies or media literacy while carefully considering how and why to integrate technology into their courses and curricula (Hitchcock & Battista, 2013; Straub, 2009; Young, 2014). By doing so, educators can play a pivotal role in helping students to increase their own media literacy, and ultimately apply this knowledge to their own learning and subsequent practice.

 

This workshop will inform participants about the development, implementation and assessment of a social welfare macro/policy assignment for BSW students using the microblogging platform, Twitter and a documentary film. The assignment involves social work students from four different universities spread across different parts of the country using Twitter to participate in a live chat about a macro/policy issue highlighted in the film, and is embedded as part of a policy and or macro-practice course. Through the assignment, students actively engage in competency-based practice behaviors connected to professional behavior, policy practice and critical thinking while also increasing digital media literacies (CSWE, 2008). Specifically, students are able to use critical thinking augmented by creativity and curiosity to convey their thoughts and reactions to the issue being highlighted (EPAS 2.1.3), and students understand that policy affects service delivery. Students are able to engage in policy practice through this assignment by collaborating with others to advocate for policies that advance social well-being (EPAS 2.1.8).

 

Student assessment of competency attainment is achieved through a rubric designed specifically for the assignment and implemented across multiple classrooms. Rubrics have been increasingly used to evaluate and promote student learning (Gezie, Khaja, Chang, Adamek, & Johnsen, 2012; Stevens, Levi, & Walvoord, 2012). The presenters will share their experiences in designing and executing the assignment along with data demonstrating how the assignment’s rubric assessed student achievement of social work competencies. Lessons learned from the project will be shared and implications for the implicit curriculum will be reviewed.

 

References:

 

Coe Regan, J. A., & Freddolino, P. P. (2008). Integrating technology in the social work

            curriculum. Alexandria, VA: Council on Social Work Education.

Council on Social Work Education. (2008).   Educational Policy and Accreditation

            Standards. Washington, DC: Author.

Getz, L. (2012). Mobile App Technology for Social Workers. Social Work Today, 12 (3), 8 -10.

Gezie, A., Khaja, K., Chang, V. N., Adamek, M. E., & Johnsen, M. B. (2012). Rubrics as a Tool for Learning and Assessment: What

do Baccalaureate Students Think? Journal of Teaching in Social Work, 32(4), 421-437.

Hitchcock, L. I., & Battista, A. (2013). Social Media for Professional Practice: Integrating Twitter with Social Work Pedagogy. The Journal of

             Baccalaureate Social Work, 18(special issue), 33-45.

Kanter, B., & Fine, A. H. (2010). The networked nonprofit: Connecting with social media to drive change. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Kaplan, A. M., & Haenlein, M. (2010). Users of the world, unite! The challenges and opportunities of Social Media.

              Business Horizons, 53, 59-68.

Kilpelainen, A., Paykkonen, K., & Sankala, J. (2011). The use of social media to improve social work education in remote areas. Journal of

              Technology in Human Services, 29(1), 1-12.

NASW (National Association of Social Workers)/ASWB (Association of Social Work Boards).

(2005). NASW & ASWB Standards for technology and social work practice. Retrieved on July 30, 2012 from http://www.socialworkers.org/practice/standards/NASWTechnologyStandards.pdf.

Richardson, W. H. (2006). Blogs, Wikis, Podcasts, and Other Powerful Web Tools for Classrooms. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press.

Stevens, D. D., Levi, A. J., & Walvoord, B. E. (2012). Introduction to Rubrics: An Assessment Tool to Save Grading Time, Convey Effective

Feedback, and Promote Student Learning (2nd edition.). Sterling, VA: Stylus Publishing.

Straub, E. T. (2009). Understanding Technology Adoption: Theory and Future Directions for Informal Learning. Review of Educational

               Research, 79(2), 625–649.

Young, J. (2014). iPolicy: Exploring and Evaluating the use of iPads in a Social Welfare Policy Course. Journal of Technology in Human

              Services, 32(1-2), 39-53.

 

 

iPolicy: Exploring & Evaluating the use of iPads

I just received an email this morning that explained my iPolicy article published in the Journal of Technology in Human Services was one of the most downloaded articles of 2014. Now it’s being included in a special open access section along with many other journal articles from across the Routledge journal family for free. Yes FOR FREE. You can access my article at http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/15228835.2013.860366

and all the other articles at http://explore.tandfonline.com/page/beh/health-social-care-most-read/social-work#20824

Hope you enjoy and find something worth looking for 😀

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