Social Media, Digital Activism, and eCitizenship

Cyber-activismTwo years ago I developed a new General Studies course for the University entitled “Social Media, Digital Activism, and eCitizenship.” I have been teaching this course online and face to face for several semesters now and I thought I would share with others how I conceived of this class and how it has been evolving as I continue to teach it. I think some things work great and other things not so great.

From my syllabus it states:

The purpose of this course is to examine the role of social media in the human service and nonprofit sector and how to utilize social media for a variety of purposes. The course will identify what social media is and how it can be used for marketing, communications, and advocacy within human services in addition to how social media promotes civic engagement. Students will learn about participatory culture and new media literacies through the discovery of social media platforms as well as how to apply this knowledge, which promotes critical thinking skills, encourages collaborative problem solving, and acknowledges the role of social media in forming networks and affiliations that can strengthen civic engagement. The Capstone project enables students to employ social media to creatively design, organize, and evaluate an integrated strategy that promotes an organization, critical issue, or assists with marketing and communications.

Students are required to complete a Capstone project that requires them to evaluate information from more than one academic discipline, formulate logical connections between disciplines as they relate to the topic, employ the approach of more than one academic discipline in completing the project, synthesize knowledge related to the topic, and communicate effectively in the medium chosen for the capstone project. This is achieved by focusing on marketing and promoting as well as on advocacy or activism. The learning units and assignments are contextualized around the nonprofit sector and more specifically human service organizations.

There are four learning units:

  1. What is social media?
  2. Marketing & Communications in Human Services & the Nonprofit Sector
  3. Advocacy & Digital Activism
  4. Developing an Integrated Strategy

The funnest thing about this course is that because it’s a general studies course I often have a diverse array of majors. Many students have stated on the teaching evaluations that when they first enrolled in the class they did so to complete the Capstone Requirement and thought they already knew everything about social media because they use it everyday. I initially thought this would be and so I start of the course with a history of social media and try to present a different perspective on social media that many students may not have seen before. It’s fun, engaging, and students are usually surprised to learn they actually don’t know that much about social media. I really enjoy the lecture on identity development and how that identity is portrayed online where users can create an image of themselves that may be less than authentic.

Slacktivist or Activist

Unit two and three dig deeper into social media strategies and methods along with some discussions on appropriate or ethical use of social media and how organizations can use social media more effectively. The final unit brings it all together and I usually show several best practice examples of organizations strategic communications, advertising, or raising awareness using social media. In addition to these units and assignments geared towards social media, when I teach the class face-to-face during the semester I also bring in a focus on New Media Literacies and Participatory Culture. I have blogged about New Media Literacies several times but I always link back to this post. I incorporate the 12 New Media Literacies into class by using several of the skills to help students learn and master the content.

For example, one of the New Media Literacies Skills is Play, or the capacity to experiment with one’s surroundings as a form of problem solving. I use games in class to help students get their brain activity up, which can be especially good for early morning classes. Once I have done this then I can move onto focusing on a specific skill, such as Collective Intelligence. This semester I use the Jelly Bean experiment to demonstrate how Collective Intelligence works. If you don’t know what the Jelly Bean experiment is, watch the video below. Collective Intelligence is the ability to pool knowledge and compare notes with others toward a common goal, much the way Wikipedia works. But I was interested in getting students to engage rather than just simply talk about Wikipedia. Using the video below as inspiration, I grabbed some jelly beans and put them into a jar. During class I asked students to guess how many jelly beans were in the jar. Then I asked them to share a photo of the jar to their various social networks in hopes that we would get a higher response rate. In the end, the experiment didn’t work as well as in the video but students were able to understand the wisdom of the crowd, and it was fun to engage their social networks in the lesson as well.

The not so great things about this class include some of the things I have written about before in regards to having an iPad required course. Specifically, the distraction that can exist because students are seemingly more engaged in their iPads than in the class. Fortunately for me, I am easy going enough that it doesn’t bother me, unless it is clearly distracting at which point I talk to that student. But this is also the reason to have a discussion or policy in the beginning outlining the expectations of the course. I do this every semester and remind students that they are adult learners, responsible for their own education. If they want to waste the class checking Facebook or playing Candy Crush, then they should have no misunderstandings as to why they did not receive the grade they expected. More importantly, I think this motivates or even mandates that I become a more engaging instructor. I try to have interactive lectures and videos that draw the students in from Candy Crush and into my lectures. This doesn’t mean everyone is awe struck by my lectures but at least some students seem very interested 😀

Overall, I think this is one of my favorite classes. Not just because I designed it from the ground up or because it is one of my substantive areas of research, but because the topic is extremely relevant. It’s also fun but can be serious when needed. I don’t know exactly where it will go in the future as I have several ideas for improvement, but I recognize that the improvement must take place within the confines of the course requirements. If you have any questions, feel free to email or reach out to me on twitter. I like to keep some of these posts short so I’m sure there is something missing!

 

 

Special #MacroSW Chat October 28th at 8pm CST

UPDATE: This Chat was truly amazing. We hope to do this again as we have had spectacular feedback. If you are interested, you can check out this link to see the Chat archive.

 

The Live Chat questions will include:

  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?

 

Laurel Iverson Hitchcock (@laurelhitchcock) and I (@JimmySW) have designed a social media assignment for social work students that involve students watching a documentary and then participating in a live Twitter chat. The assignment is meant for a policy or macro class and involves students watching the documentary Inequality for Alland then participating in a live Twitter chat on October 28th at 9pm Eastern Standard Time or 8pm CST.  We have partnered with the wonderful folks that conduct the #MacroSW chat for this special event and will be using their hashtag #MacroSW to facilitate the live chat.

We are interested in piloting this assignment in classrooms across the country and hope that other social work or human service educators might participate by including the assignment in class and providing us some feedback. Of course if you would rather just join the Live Chat only, that would be wonderful as we hope to have many individuals participate.

 

 

The assignment includes some critical thinking and reflection components that include brief writing pieces and peer- and self-assessment forms. The purpose of this assignment is to 1) help students learn about policies and societal contexts that influence income inequality, and 2) give students the opportunity to collaborate and communicate with other students and professionals using technology. The assignment consists of three parts:

1)  Students will watch the documentary Inequality for All on their own or in class (it is available on Netflix), and then write a brief reaction to the movie including if they agreed with the film maker’s position (why or why not?) and how the movie informed their understanding of poverty in the U.S. (500-700 words).

2)  Students then participate in a one-hour Live Twitter Chat on October 28th at 9pm EST/ 8pm CST. Questions will be based around the film as well as the overarching topic of Inequality. Students will need a free Twitter account, and will demonstrate participation during the chat by: a) posting responses to at least three of the discussion questions; b) responding to at least three other chat participants; and c) include a hyperlink in at least two posts. If you or your students are new to Twitter, you can use the following guide to help get you started (Getting Started with Twitter) or watch this video on how to participate in a Live Twitter chat.

3)  After the live chat, students will write a self-reflection about the experience of participating in the Live Twitter Chat that includes a brief summary of the chat, lessons learned from the chat and how the experience could inform future social work practice (300-500 words).

Naturally you can assign point values or simply include this as part of the class participation. Should you choose to use it as a traditional assignment, the following Rubric will help you with grading and providing directions for students. The rubric is based upon the Educational Policy and Accreditation Standards from CSWE.

 

Criteria Exceeds Expectations Meets Expectations Below Expectations Points
Movie Reaction
Reaction to Movie ReviewEPAS 2.1.3 a – Apply critical thinking to inform and communicate professional judgments Very clearly constructed and communicated reaction or reflection to the documentary. Insightful, thoughtful, and supported. An adequate reaction is provided including thoughts, insights, questions, concerns or “a-ha”s expressed clearly. Weak reaction or reaction is not justified with thoughts, evidence or personal experience.
Understanding of Poverty in Movie ReviewEPAS 2.1.5 a – Understand the forms and mechanisms of oppression and discrimination Review provided description of insights related to poverty with clarity, evidence, included examples from the documentary. Sought to explore diverse viewpoints and provide insight into the lives and thoughts of individuals in the film. Review provided some description of insights related to poverty, but only included some evidence from the documentary to support their thoughts. Discussed only one diverse viewpoint. Review provided some description of insights related to poverty, but little or no evidence or examples from the movie were provided to support discussion. Review did not demonstrate cultural sensitivity or attempt to understand diverse viewpoints.
Writing Mechanics in Movie ReviewEPAS 2.1.3 c – Demonstrates effective written communication consistent with professional social work standards. Writes with no errors in grammar, capitalization, punctuation, and spelling. Writes with minor errors in grammar, capitalization, punctuation and spelling. Writes with major errors in grammar, capitalization, punctuation, and spelling (3 or more errors).
Live Twitter Chat
Policy Content in TweetsEPAS 2.1.8 b – Analyze policies that advance social well-being. Original tweets consistently provide new resources or ideas about income inequality or poverty that add value to the discussion. Tweets are creatively and succinctly written to stimulate dialogue and commentary. Most original tweets provide new resources or ideas about income inequality or poverty that add value to the discussion. Most tweets are written to stimulate dialogue and commentary. No or a few original tweets provide new resources or ideas about income inequality or poverty that add value to the discussion. No or a few tweets are written to stimulate dialogue and commentary.
Hyperlinks and other resources in TweetsEPAS 2.1.3 b – Synthesize multiple sources of knowledge, including research-based knowledge, and practice wisdom. Tweets include accurate hyperlinks to resources that enhance the topic. Effectively uses tiny URLs as needed to stay within the 140-character limit.   Selects hyperlinks representing the most current resources about the topic. Tweets include hyperlinks to resources relevant to the topic. Uses tiny URLs most of the time to stay within the 140-character limit. Usually selects hyperlinks that represent the most current resources about the topic. Some tweets include hyperlinks, but not all resources are relevant to the topic. Inconsistently uses tiny URLs to stay within the 140-character limit.   Hyperlinks connect to many out-of-date resources.
Writing Mechanics in TweetsEPAS 2.1.3 c – Demonstrates effective written communication consistent with professional social work standards. Writes Tweets with no errors in grammar, capitalization, punctuation, and spelling. Writes Tweets with minor errors in grammar, capitalization, punctuation and spelling. Writes Tweets with major errors in grammar, capitalization, punctuation, and spelling (3 or more errors per tweet).
Comments & Contributions in TweetsEPAS 2.1.1 d – Demonstrate professional demeanor in communication. Consistently responds to tweets with positive, respectful, and succinct comments while providing a meaningful addition to the discussion. Re-tweets are appropriate for the assigned discussion topic and always include the source’s Twitter username. Always uses the appropriate hashtag. Creates and sends tweets more frequently than required. Most responses to tweets are positive and respectful while providing a meaningful addition to the discussion. Most re-tweets are appropriate for the assigned discussion topic and include the source’s Twitter username. Consistently uses the hashtag. Creates and sends tweets as often as required. Some responses to tweets are negative and disrespectful and/or provide little value to the discussion. Re-tweets are often inappropriate for the assigned discussion topic and fail to include the source’s Twitter username. Consistently does not include the hashtag. Creates and sends tweets somewhat less often than required.
Self-Reflection
Self-Correction & Self-ReflectionEPAS 2.1.1b – Practice personal reflection and self-correction to assure continue professional development. The reflection demonstrates ability of the student to question their own biases, stereotypes, preconceptions, and/or assumptions and define new modes of thinking as a result. The reflection demonstrates ability of the student to question their own biases, stereotypes, preconceptions. New modes of thinking are not evident. There is some attempt at self-correction, but the self-reflection fails to demonstrate a new awareness of personal biases, etc.
Active LearningEPAS 2.1.1 e – Engage in life-long learning The reflection shows tremendous thought and effort. The learning experience being reflected upon is relevant and meaningful to student and assignment learning objectives. The reflection shows some thought and effort. Student makes attempts to demonstrate relevance, but the relevance is unclear in reference to assignment learning objectives. The reflection showspoor thought and effort. Most of the reflection is irrelevant to student and/or assignment learning objectives.
Writing Mechanics in Self-ReflectionEPAS 2.1.3 c – Demonstrates effective written communication consistent with professional social work standards. Writes with no errors in grammar, capitalization, punctuation, and spelling. Writes with minor errors in grammar, capitalization, punctuation and spelling. Writes with major errors in grammar, capitalization, punctuation, and spelling (3 or more errors).

 

Lastly, to help us with improving this assignment we ask that you assess the quality of the Rubric for this assignment by using the following meta-rubric and share it with us.

Jimmy Young

Laurel Iverson Hitchcock

Criteria

What students did on various aspects of the assignment (Tally for each occurrence):

What can be done better next time (change in assignment & directions):

Content Understands what income inequality is and can write a professional opinion about it:Understands how poverty is a form of oppression:Articulated meaningful learning:
Tweets Multiple links and resources used:Respectful language used:Hashtags and user IDs used:
Writing Skills Understandings what a professional reaction is and can write one:Understands what a tweet is and can write one:Understands what a self-reflection is an can write one:

 

Thank you and we look forward to chatting with you via Twitter on October 28th.

History of Social Work

I will be the first to admit that when I was a student in my BSW program I was not the least bit interested in the history of my profession, but now as I look back I realize how foolish I was. Perhaps it has been due to spending time with a friend who is a History Professor or teaching more about the history of the social work profession in my classes but I understand now that history is incredibly important. To that end I want to share a great resource from the folks over at the Simmons School of Social Work and their Blog. They posted some great resources related to the topic of the History of Social Work recently and I think you should check them out. I plan to incorporate some of these into my classes in the future.

 

Water fountain on Washington St., South End

Image Credit: Boston Public Library.

#husITa14 and The Joint World Conference on Social Work, Education, and Social Development

I recognize that the title to this post is rather long and I hope it transfers to Twitter well. I have actually been back in the States for some time and meaning to follow up here in this space about my experiences at this amazing conference.

husITa14 Session

First, Australia.What can I say other than I love Australia and was so happy to be able to return to a country I love. It was great seeing old friends and meeting new acquaintances. I loved being able to taste the food, see the sights, and interact with the people. It was more than fun, it was truly spectacular. If you follow me on Google+ I will try to add some photos later 😀

 

The conference was my first international conference and first time presenting at #husITa14 and I must say I completely over-prepared. Ten minutes is not nearly enough time to discuss the topic of New Media Literacies and my specific research.  I simply ran out of time and did not get to discuss my results, which if you were in attendance at the presentation, I’m sorry and hope that this blog will suffice. There is also a post over on the husITa website with my powerpoint slides and abstract.  I have submitted a manuscript for this study to the Journal of Technology in Human Services and with any luck it will be published soon. I just wanted to share quickly what I didn’t get to during the short 10 minutes I had in Melbourne.

Accessing the link above about New Media Literacies (NML) really gives you the context for the study. What I actually did was replicated a study produced by Ioana Literat who is a doctoral student with Henry Jenkins. I wanted to replicate the reliability and validity of the instrument they created to measure self-reported New Media Literacies skills. You can still take the survey to see your New Media Literacy Score here, and if you feel so inclined it would be great if you shared your score with me via Twitter @Jimmysw. But it is totally up to you. I also wanted to assess the levels of NML’s of social work students and educators and see if there is a significant difference between the two groups when it comes to new media literacies.

Results….

The results indicated that the survey instrument had adequate reliability and that between this study and Ioana’s, seven similar subscales of new media literacies emerged. There was a significant difference between the new media literacies levels of social work students and educators where students had higher levels of NML’s. Examining the number of hours engaged with media may also explain why students scored higher than educators in new media literacies as students spend more time playing games online or on their phones. Despite the argument for distraction with this type of media, the NML’s theoretical framework and concept of participatory culture illustrates how students are learning differently in a digital environment. They are using the skills of multitasking, play, appropriation, and performance to achieve some desired outcome and the reality is that there are tangible skills being learned in gaming and digital environments. Naturally there are some limitations with this study, such as the need for a better recruitment strategy and sample because the current strategy relied heavily on using technology, which could imply an inherent bias towards individuals that may already have higher levels of media literacy.

The social work literature is replete with arguments for increasing the information and communication technology competency of students as well as educators. These digital competencies are important, but I think we also need to include the topic of participatory culture and specifically new media literacies. As social workers we respond to contexts that shape practice, use critical thinking skills augmented by creativity and curiosity, and engage in research-informed practice and practice informed research. These are skills that compliment the concept of participatory culture and new media literacies, and this study provides a starting point to discuss the place of NML’s in social work education.

Lastly, a common misunderstanding of technology is the focus on what the tools do and do not allow. The conversation on digital technology and learning needs to include a focus on the participatory aspects of this new digital culture and how increasing knowledge around new media literacies can address the challenges we face in an ever increasing digital world. Expanding our view of new media, digital technology, and understanding participatory culture will help us to build upon the skills students bring to the classroom. This is an exciting time with the opportunity to empower students to build upon those skills by incorporating new media literacies in a way that will expand knowledge, create opportunities for collaboration, and prepare students for practice in a new and diverse society.

Some of that last part was taken from the manuscript now currently under review. I hope that if you like what you see, you will visit this blog more often or follow me on Twitter, and seek out the manuscript IF it gets published. Fingers crossed!

iPolicy: Evaluating iPads in social welfare

In the Spring of 2013 I authored a couple blog posts on my social welfare policy course that was designated an iPad course. You can find the posts here and here as well as a post about an iPad specific assignment.

I also took the opportunity to conduct a small study on the experience and now you can see the full write up in the Journal of Technology in Human Services. The first 50 people to follow this link can download a free copy of the article “iPolicy: Exploring and Evaluating the use of iPads in a Social Welfare Policy Course.” The iPad was/is a great tool and I am still teaching an iPad required course, although the course is focused on social media, digital activism, and eCitizenship. The exciting thing about this class is that I teach it both online and face-to-face. This summer I am developing an iBook for the course in the Fall and so far using iBooks Author has been relatively easy and even Fun. Yes I dare say fun. I will try to come back to this journal to share my iBook and the experiences I have with this technology throughout the summer but I have a few things to finish up first. I hope you have great plans for the summer and be sure to stop back by this blog again in the future or sign up for email alerts. You can also follow me on Twitter 😀

#SWKTweets from #BPD2014

Just a quick note to share the link for the Live Twitter chat Laurel Hitchcock and I presented at BPD.
http://t.co/PiqLkovh0W

I had promised to post more on this presentation a few weeks back but the semester has been a little overwhelming. Laurel has written up a spectacular post on her blog, and you should definitely check it out if you are interested in this presentation and understanding more about teaching Professional Social Work Skills with Twitter.

#SWpolicy410 & Twitter Chats in Social Work Education

Last night President Obama gave his 2014 State of the Union Address. Because I am teaching social welfare policy, I wanted my students to watch and engage with this event outside of the classroom. I have written on this blog before about the use of technology and social media in the classroom, and specifically about Twitter (Twittering and Documentaries) and how we can use it to develop skills. I see Twitter as a very powerful tool to engage students outside of the classroom, and a tool which requires incredible critical thinking skills. Yes, I said critical thinking skills. But it also helps students develop digital literacy and other competencies that are useful in social work practice today and the future. Twitter is space where individuals can interact and share information. Disseminating information in less 140 characters of text may seem mundane but it actually requires one to organize their thoughts and articulate them in a meaningful way. This requires higher level thinking and may frustrate some, so be patient and remember to learn about Twitter and how to use it properly. There are some great resources to get started, such as Dr. Laurel Iverson-Hitchcock or Dean Nancy Smyth and others.

This post is meant to demonstrate how I used Twitter to engage my policy students in the State of the Union Address. I already require students to obtain a Twitter account as part of another assignment in class, so it was a natural fit to encourage them to Live Tweet during the Address. Live Tweeting is essentially sending out messages via Twitter during a live event, such as the State of the Union. I already discussed proper use of Twitter in the classroom, but I gave students some ideas on what to Tweet during the Address. Generally, I wanted to see their reactions or questions to what the President discussed. One main objective of this activity was to help students identify and begin to obtain an interest in policy and issues that impact the profession and our clients. I also made sure that students included the course hashtag (#swpolicy410) in their tweets so that I could archive the event later. I had about 13 students engage in the Live Tweet and I was amazed at the results. Below is a Storify story of the event.

One of the greatest benefits I see in doing an activity like this is that my students have the opportunity to interact with others from around the country and the world. For example, several of my followers started to engage into our Live Twitter Chat/Event by ReTweeting mine and students’ tweets. I think this gives students an opportunity to later connect with these individuals (like @MikeLICSW) and organizations (like @CRISPontheHill) for a variety of purposes. I hope that as we discuss this in class, students will feel comfortable reaching to these individuals/organizations to help with research and policy advocacy. This activity helps students build skills and become competent social workers.  I am not trying to imply that every social work course incorporate Twitter. That would be ludicrous. Assignments and activities should correspond to learning goals and objectives. Live Tweeting and Twitter Chats represent just one innovative way to engage students and help them learn and get excited about social work and social welfare policy. If you have any questions about Live Tweeting or simply want to leave a comment. Feel free to do so, and you can always follow me on Twitter.

Twittering with Documentaries in the Classroom

This semester I have been engaged in teaching my Social Media, Digital Activism, and eCitizenship course in the traditional face-to-face format (previously it was completely online). This class was also selected as an iPad class, so each of the students either brought their own or were provided an iPad to augment their learning. One of the requirements of the course is to use Twitter to extend our conversations and learning outside the classroom. I have incorporated many assignments and skills from other social work educators, such as Dr. Laurel Iverson Hitchcock (@laurelhitchcock) and Dean Nancy J. Smyth (@njsmyth), as well as using New Media Literacies to help students understand social media. I am always trying to think about how to engage my students in hands on learning through experiential methods. This has involved the use of games, both low tech and high tech, and other methods as well.

This semester I have been more and more intrigued by the fact that the Nielsen Media Analytics Group has been tracking and reporting on the behavior of individuals who Tweet while they watch Television. Essentially, they discovered that Tweeting during a television broadcast can influence the ratings of that particular show. This study confirms many suspicions I have had about Twitter and in particular the integration of the Hashtag (#) on television broadcasts. Many television shows, news broadcasts, and even religious broadcasts now incorporate the use of the hashtag on the screen so viewers will tweet what they watch while they are watching and thus engage in a discussion about the show. This gave me the idea to incorporate it into my class while we watched the documentary Pink Ribbons Inc.

pinkribbons_splash

This documentary is very well done and if you haven’t seen it, I would encourage you to find it and watch it.

The directions I gave to students were fairly simple. I asked them to share their thoughts, reactions, and or quotes from the documentary using the course hashtag (#SOWK388) on Twitter. I thought this assignment would help them to stay focused on the documentary instead of simply snoozing through the two day event (not to say that students sleep during class, lol), and I knew that some of the students already used Twitter when watching some of their favorite shows, so I figured it would be fairly natural. The results were spectacular. My one regret is that I waited to long to archive the tweets using Storify, otherwise I would share them here.

During the course of the documentary, I followed the course hashtag on Twitter and would also tweet my own thoughts/reactions while at the same time responding to other students with questions and comments to push their critical thinking deeper. At the end of the documentary, I still held an in-class discussion but I was able to go back to Twitter to draw students into the discussion by highlighting their tweets and asking them to expand upon their thoughts and comments. This was by far the best in-class discussion of the semester.

The main takeaway for others who may want to adopt this in their course is to think ahead of time to organize the activity. The idea honestly only hit me the week before we viewed the documentary in hopes of encouraging interaction among the class. The next time I do this, I would like to get the students to also track the Twitter conversation while they view the documentary. There are multiple ways of doing this, from having them use a social media dashboard on their iPads (such as HooteSuite) to also getting an additional screen to display the conversation on Twitter in real-time in the classroom. Although, this might be more distracting for some students. I think asking the students to Tweet a reflection at the end of the period and the end of the documentary that sums up their reaction to the documentary and other’s tweets would also enhance the in-class discussion. Of course the students need to be set up on Twitter and understand the practice of using the Hashtag (#), but I also think archiving the conversation with Storify or some other service would also help students to reflect on the assignment/process. I’m sure there are several other products that could add to this assignment, so please leave a comment below.

In the end, I completely understand that some think the act of multi-tasking makes us less effective. I myself am not much of a multi-tasker for this very reason. However, I think this assignment helped to keep students engaged in the documentary and thinking about what was being conveyed because they needed to think critically about how to share their reaction in less than 140 characters of text (because that is all that Twitter allows). I was so amazed at the level of attention and critical thinking that students shared in relation to the content of the documentary, and I am certain that this assignment also helped students to grasped other concepts in the course as I would later use this assignment as an example in my teaching.

I don’t know that this would work for every class, because not every class is equipped with the technology, but if you plan on using something like this please come back here and share your results. I am very excited about how this assignment turned out and I hope that by sharing my experience others will also get excited to experiment with learning and share their experiences with me. As always, thanks for reading/following my blog and feel free to leave a comment or connect with me via Twitter.

New Article & an Excellent Journal

This is a really quick post to bring some attention to an article that was recently published in Advances in Social Work. The article is title “A Conceptual Understanding of Organizational Identity in the Social Media Environment” and can be found on the publishers website. I also tend to keep a list of my work (and I try to keep it updated) over on my Academia.edu profile. Mainly, I wanted to draw other’s attention to this journal because I believe it is an excellent journal, and it is an Open Access Journal.  Anyone can access the articles and use the information, which the main reason I really like this journal. Additionally, the peer review process and turn around time was excellent. I received some great feedback that I believe made the article much stronger, so thank you to the peer reviewers. Feel free to check out those links and let me know what you think about the article. It was definitely a process and result of several years of study and interaction in with social media. I think looking back at the structure of the article my main goal was to help those individuals unfamiliar with the idea of organizational identity, but who could understand individual identity and identity development, and to take them from the micro to the macro of identity. Situating this concept in the social media environment was certainly the main crux of the article, but I do think that these theoretical terms can help one to grasp the concept more easily. But again, feel free to let me know what you think by leaving a comment here, email, or connect with me on Twitter.

Thanks.

Social Work Skills and Twitter

imgres

     This post is mainly to serve as a supplement to a presentation given at the Council on Social Work Annual Program Meeting in Dallas, Texas (2013).  Dr. Laurel Hitchcock (@LaurelHitchcock) and myself (@Jimmysw) shared with others how we use Twitter in our courses. The presentation involved explaining what Twitter is, as well as some of the symbols, meaning, and context that are often associated with interacting in the online space.  The presentation also utilized a Prezi, which can be viewed by accessing the presentation link:

        http://prezi.com/ci5ctpyvthzl/?  utm_campaign=share&utm_medium=copy&rc=ex0share 

The presentation listed a number of resources that we wanted to share:

I would also point you to a blog post I authored on New Media Literacies, which I personally believe that new media literacies need and deserve as much attention as thinking about the ethics of social media and social work education (more on that later).

From the presentation abstract, we explain that Social workers need to be aware of and adept at using social media as part of their professional practice with clients and systems.

Social media includes applications and technologies on the World Wide Web and on mobile devices which create interactive dialogue among organizations, communities, and individuals (Richardson, 2006).  There is a growing awareness that social work practitioners, students and educators need to be adept at using social media and technology as part of their practice and interaction with clients of all system sizes (Getz, 2012; NASW & ABSW, 2005; McNutt, 2008; Perron et al, 2010).  Social media offers an opportunity for social workers to communicate and advocate around social justice causes, network with other professionals, and locate information and resources that will inform practice with clients. This workshop will cover how three social work educators from different parts of the country are using Twitter, a micoblogging platform, with their students in the classroom, and then how they collaborated to bring their students together via Twitter to engage in professional conversations about current topics relevant to social work practice.

Assignments and classroom tasks using Twitter help students learn about technology tools and resources available to communicate and interact with other professionals, and to stay informed about social work practice over time (Greenhow & Gleason, 2012).  Students benefit from using Twitter in two important ways.  First, they learn to communicate with professionals and each other in a new ways.  Using the parameters of Twitter (140 characters), students can easily share information with each other and their instructors about group assignments, research studies and current events.  Students also report the ability to communicate directly with social work practitioners and researchers via Twitter, and thus become more capable about how to communicate and interaction with professionals. While some students use Twitter for recreational or personal reasons, they can also learn how use the character limit, professional terminology and written skills to communicate in public ways using Twitter. Second, student learn to discover, disseminate and evaluate information related to important social problems and social work practice in new and very public ways.  For example, one of the presenters has students assess the quality of practice-based information received via Twitter, and then share this information with the instructor, each other and other professionals over a semester.  Classroom discussions about the Twitter assignment focus on topics such as privacy, public image, professional communication skills, becoming a life-long learner, and using social media as a way to give back to the profession, and reinforce the role of values and ethics such as social justice, competency and integrity in social work practice. Additionally, students learn how to approach and complete assignments that are publicly oriented (Jarvis, 2011). These examples demonstrate how Twitter can be used to address the educational policy and accreditation standards set forth by CSWE (2008). Specifically, students were able to engage in research and communication by discovering, interacting with and or engaging with different populations (EPAS 2.1.6 & 2.1.9).  Additionally, students used critical thinking and creativity (EPAS 2.1.3) to engage in the policy discussion.

Recently, the presenters conducted a live Twitter event as a collaborative effort between their universities to discuss gun violence and gun prevention. This was the First live multi-university social work Twitter Chat and the archive of the chat can be accessed by clicking here.  The purpose of the live chat was to demonstrate how social work students and educators can use technology to enhance policy analysis, macro practice, and online advocacy. Students were given instructions on how to participate as well as ground rules similar to those used in a group therapy session. At an appointed time, the presenters, their students and other social work practitioners “met” on Twitter to discuss a series of questions related to the gun violence. One of the presenters served as the moderator and used other social media tools such as HootSuite (to live stream the chat), YouTube (to record a video for future analysis) and Storify (to archive the discussion). The moderator closed the live twitter chat with a poll question to assess the reaction of the students who participated in the event. Out of the 30 people who answered the poll, over 70% stated they enjoyed the experience and felt it enhanced their learning.

Social work educators need to learn about and start using social media tools; not only to be role models for our students, but to facilitate discussions about the social work profession in a very public way. Twitter represents only one way in which social work educators can and are using social media in their classrooms. The literature is growing in regards to this area and much work still needs to be done.

Special thanks are in store to our esteemed colleague Deona Hooper (@DeonaHooper) at socialworkhelper.com, who assisted in facilitating the Twitter chat event and put together the Storify Archive. Deona wasn’t able to make it to CSWE, but her contribution has been invaluable.

Feel free to leave a comment or you can always tweet 😀imgres

Here is the presentation link once again.

References

Council on Social Work Education. (2008). Educational Policy and Accreditation Standards. Washington, DC: Author.

Davidson, C. (2010, December). Twenty First Century Literacies. Retrived from http://www.hastac.org/blogs/cathy-davidson/twenty-first-century-literacies

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

Greenhow, C. & Gleason, B. (2012). Twitteracy: Tweeting as a new literary practice. The Educational Forum, 76(4), 464-478.

Hitchcock, L. & Battista, A. (2013). Social Media for Professional Practice: Integrating Twitter with Social Work Pedagogy. Journal of Baccalaureate Social Work, Vol 18 Special Issue.

Jarvis, J. (2011). Public Parts: How Sharing in the Digital Age Improves the Way We Work and Live. New York, NY: Simon & Schuster.

Jenkins, H., Clinton, K., Purushotma, R., Robison, A. J., Weigel, M. (2009). Confronting the challenges of participatory culture: Media education for the 21st century [white paper]. Retrieved from http://digitallearning.macfound.org/atf/cf/%7B7E45C7E0-A3E0-4B89-AC9C-E807E1B0AE4E%7D/JENKINS_WHITE_PAPER.PDF

McNutt, J. G. (2008). Web 2.0 tools for policy research and advocacy. Journal of Policy Practice, 7(1), 81-85.

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.

Perron, B. E., Taylor, H. O., Glass, J. E., & Margerum-Leys, J. (2010). Information and communication technologies in social work. Advances in social work, 11(2), 67-81.

Rheingold, H. (2012). Net Smart. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press.

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

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