#APM19 Social Work Education Conference

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Once again I find myself attending the Council on Social Work Education’s Annual Program Meeting in Denver, Colorado. I really enjoy this city and all it has to offer, but the main purpose of this post is to highlight some of my research and give more context to the work I am presenting at this conference. I have already written one blog post about this conference and my poster presentation, which you can view here.

This post is mainly to highlight my two other presentations during the conference. One related to my work to better understand how Social Work Schools and Programs use Twitter, and the other to illustrate how to teach Digital Literacies. The first presentation is based on a research paper that is currently under review. The title and proposal are below:

#SocialWorkEducation: Using Data Science to Understand How Social Work Programs use Twitter

Social media can be a valuable tool in social work education to help collaborate with others, promote programs, engage with alumni, or promote interprofessional education. 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) and include digital platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Snapchat. 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; Hitchcock & Young, 2016; National Association of Social Workers [NASW], 2017). As more and more organizations adopt social media to promote their services (Goldkind, 2015; Young, 2017), social work education programs have also utilized social media for a variety of purposes.

The purpose of this paper is to examine how social work education programs use Twitter by leveraging the principles of data science. Data science allows for the analysis of big data sets that can be structured or unstructured to develop understanding, extract knowledge, and formulate actionable results (Cariceo, Nair, & Lytton, 2018, p. 1). Specifically, a text and sentiment analysis of 26,000 tweets, collected over a 10-month period, was performed utilizing the Information, Community, and Action framework (Lovejoy & Saxton, 2012). The author first coded a sample of 2,000 tweets with graduate research assistants utilizing the framework to help identify keywords that could be used in performing a larger text analysis. The sample of tweets also helped to establish more rigor and validity for this study as the author was able to obtain an inter-rater reliability score of 72%. Disagreement within the sample of tweets was addressed and discussed to help identify the most meaningful keywords and categories that could be used for the larger database of the 26,000 tweets. Utilizing the Lovejoy & Saxton (2012) framework categories and keywords, Microsoft Excel along with Microsoft’s Azure Artifical Intelligence Software was utilized to analyze the larger database to identify how social work programs use Twitter and what kind of tone, or sentiment, their tweets contain. Sentiment analysis identifies tweets as positive, neutral, or negative based on the frequency of words within the tweet by using a lexicon. This data mining analysis helps to illustrate how programs engage with other Twitter users to promote their respective schools or programs.

The findings suggest that programs tweet primarily to share information about a variety of topics and opportunities, categorized as Information. Programs also tweet calls to action and try to engage with their online community but not at the same level of sharing information, categorized as Action. A smaller sample of the tweets did engage in more of a dialogic connection between users to promote conversation or interaction, categorized as Community. A majority of the tweets have a neutral sentiment with some also being identified as positive or negative. Interestingly, larger programs were able to produce more tweets and engage with a larger audience. Tweets by larger programs often received more likes and retweets than other smaller programs. A possible reason for this could be the number of staff available in larger programs, but more research is needed to have a definitive conclusion.

Social Work programs can play a pivotal role in helping students to become lifelong learners, increase their digital literacies, and model ethical and appropriate technology use through their curriculum and online presence. However, technology in social work education has been adopted sporadically with moderate degrees of success. This paper supports this notion by evaluating how social work programs use Twitter for a variety of purposes. Attendees will understand how programs are using Twitter and gain ideas for their own programs and efforts regarding the use of social media. By examining the past usage of Twitter, this presentation will help participants look forward to understanding how to use Twitter in more effective ways.

This research project has been fun and challenging as I have had to learn how to use new software to capture and analyze Big Data from Twitter. I mainly used Microsoft’s suite of tools but also supplemented with Rstudio where needed. Computational social science is a new area for me and I still have so much to learn but my hope is that this project will launch some important conversations and future research. One specific aspect that came out of this research was the development of the Top Ten Social Work Schools/Programs on Twitter. Be sure to click the link to find out more 🙂

The second presentation in Denver is related to my ongoing work around New Media Literacies or Digital Literacies, which I have written extensively about here on my blog and in the literature. This presentation has been a few years in the making and something that I myself have even had challenges with, which is why the title of this workshop is so pertinent.

What if there’s no WiFi? Teaching Digital Literacies in Social Work Education

Over the past several years social media and digital technologies in social work education and practice has exploded with books, articles, and trade publications being devoted to the topic (Goldkind, Wolf, & Freddolino, 2018; Hitchcock & Young, 2016; Hitchcock, Sage, & Smyth, 2018). The expectation among students to become digitally competent professionals has been discussed in the literature and many recognize the need to infuse these technologies into the classroom in ways that can build technical competence, social and cultural competencies, and digital literacies (Perron, Taylor, Glass,  & Margerum-Leys, 2010; Young, McLeod, & Brady, 2018). Digital literacies has become essentially an umbrella term that covers many forms of literacy (Considine, Horton, & Moorman, 2009). Media literacy generally refers to “the ability to access, analyze, evaluate, and communicate messages in a wide variety of forms” (Hobbs, 1998, p. 16). The emphasis of media literacy is learning and teaching skills related to the process of critically analyzing and creating messages in a variety of print or digital forms (Hobbs, 1998).  There has been an emergence within the literature regarding the use of social media and digital technologies for the acquisition of specific social work skills that mirrors the forms and methods of media literacy (Hitchcock & Young, 2016; Jones, Sage, & Hitchcock, 2019; Sage, Singer, LaMarre, & Rice, 2018; Young, 2015). The challenge with digital literacies in social work education is that the concept is too broadly defined, and it has not been thoroughly developed, discussed, or researched enough to provide specific guidance on what conceptual framework of digital literacies is suited to the development of professional social work skills. Teaching digital literacies needs to move beyond the skills of critical analysis to building the capacity for engaging, understanding, and communicating with others in a genuine, authentic, and ethically appropriate manner.  Digitally literacies are as much about understanding the how as they are about understanding the why.

The purpose of this workshop is to differentiate between the concepts of digital and media literacies (Belshaw, 2011; Hobbs, 2011; Jenkins, Clinton, Purushotma, Robison, & Weigel, 2009; Rheingold, 2012) as they apply to social work education. Participants will learn about leveraging the participatory culture of social media through the pedagogical framework of Connected Learning to create applied learning activities that motivate students to learn. “Participatory culture is a culture with relatively low barriers to artistic expression and civic engagement, strong support for creating and sharing creations, and some type of informal mentorship whereby experienced participants pass along knowledge to novices” (Jenkins et al., 2009, p. 3). The Connected Learning framework rests on six principles: it is interest driven, peer supported, academically oriented, openly networked, production centered, and maintains a shared purpose (Ito et al., 2013). The essential part of Connected Learning and Participatory Culture comes down to the idea of epistemology, or how one comes to know what one knows. It is important to be able to use knowledge, skills, and values in the participatory culture of social media to better understand how to function, participate, collaborate, and ultimately achieve some task or goal. Fortunately, bridging all these ideas together in the classroom is relatively easy and educators can accomplish multiple objectives in their quest to enhance the digital literacies of their students.

The specific digital literacies that will be covered in this workshop stem from the 12 New Media Literacies Skills identified by Jenkins et al. (2009). These skills include appropriation, performance, judgement, simulation, transmedia navigation, multitasking, distributed cognition, collective intelligence, play, networking, negotiation, and visualization. Participants will understand what each term means and explore specific strategies to teach each skill using technology when appropriate, or not using any technology at all if there is no WiFi for instance. It is important to consider which digital literacies to utilize in the classroom because a careful review will ensure that the educator has matched the literacies appropriately to their learning objectives in the course. It’s important to remember that social media and digital technologies are just tools and should not be used to replace sound pedagogy (Young, McLeod, Brady, 2018). However, building applied learning activities around the ideas of new media literacies can help students to realize the potential of social media and digital technology for solving complex issues and developing tangible skills that will be incredibly useful during the course of their professional career. Through the demonstrations in this workshop educators will be able to help students develop the requisite technical, social, and cultural competencies to be ethical and effective social workers.

This workshop will be very hands-on, which is good because it is early early Sunday morning 🙂 Hopefully social work educators will come away from the workshop understanding that digital literacies are critically important for our students and that while we can teach them the necessary skills, knowledge, and values to ensure they are competent ethical professionals, we don ‘t necessarily need to rely on technology to get the job done. This may sound weird, especially coming from a technology advocate like myself, but in the real world, we may not always have access to the latest technologies or even the fastest internet. We should not let that slow us down in terms of preparing our students for the vastly digital world we now practice in.

Top Ten Schools/Programs of Social Work on Twitter

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Remember the old Top Ten lists from Late Night TV? I remember loving some of those lists and since I have been engaged in some research to understand how Social Work Programs use Twitter, I decided to go ahead and create my own Top Ten list of Schools or Programs on Twitter. But first, you should know that I currently have this list under review for publication with a journal and that this list could be subject to change over time given the shifting variables or factors embedded with my methodology. This begs the questions, What was my methodology?

Well, I utilized some of the principles from Data Science to gather over 26,000 tweets during the period of 2017 to 2018. I follow all, at least I think it’s all, of the social work education programs and schools on Twitter. The list below is not indicative of all programs currently on the list because some have just joined Twitter. I think the list still has merit given my methods because newer programs on Twitter have not yet gathered the number of followers and other factors used to create the list. After downloading all the tweets, cleaning and organizing the data set, I ranked each program/school based on a composite score of 1 to 100 that I created from key metrics like number of followers, number of likes, how many Twitter users each program follows back, most @ replies, greatest use of the hashtag (#) in tweets, and overall number of tweets included in the sampling period. I get that it’s not perfect, but David’s research from the home office probably wasn’t perfect either 🙂

So…without further adieu.

Top Ten Social Work Schools and or Programs on Twitter! 

Rank

1

School

University at Buffalo School of Social Work

Score

49

2

San Diego State University School of Social Work

45

3

Case Western Reserve University Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences

25

4

University of Houston Graduate College of Social Work

22

5

Columbia University School of Social Work

20

6

Florida State University College of Social Work (tied)

University of Utah College of Social Work (tied)

17

7

University of Pennsylvania School of Social Policy & Practice

16

8

University of Southern California Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work

12

9

The University of Texas at Austin Steve Hicks School of Social Work (tied)

Tarleton State University Department of Social Work (tied)

10

10

Arizona State University School of Social Work

7

 

I know there are more than 10 programs represented and I was a little surprised to see a tie at numbers 6 and 9. However, the top schools on this list have a couple of things in common. First, they are active on Twitter and do a fantastic job of engaging with their online communities. For example, U. of Buffalo consistently engages in the #MacroSW Chats and thus has a lot of tweets under their profile. Second, the top schools have a lot of followers but they also follow back, which can be a good indicator that they understand how to use Twitter to build relationships. I will save the rest of the interpretation for until my article is published, fingers crossed 🙂

Let me know what you think or if you have any questions. Of course, you can always follow me on Twitter. Thanks for taking the time to read through this post and stay tuned as I hope to update this list within the next year.

Teaching Social Media for Nonprofit Managers

https:/In 2017 I was fortunate enough to receive a teaching grant from the Association for Research on Nonprofit Organizations and Voluntary Action. This grant allowed me to develop some materials to help other educators teach social media and aspects of digital literacies to nonprofit managers and students alike. I have decided to share that presentation, a Prezi below, in hopes that more people will be able to access it and share or use it how they see fit. I do have a book chapter built on this presentation forthcoming, so hopefully I will have another announcement about that soon 🙂

Apologies that the prezi doesn’t appear to want to embed. Perhaps I should update my WordPress theme 🙂

/prezi.com/mohbjwcictuv/?utm_campaign=share&utm_medium=copy&rc=ex0share

Feel free to let me know if you have any questions.

 

Council on Social Work Education #APM18

Wow, I can’t believe I haven’t written anything on this blog since March. Sorry to my regular readers, all two of you, but life has been pretty busy. I will try to post something about that later.

Here I wanted to post about the 2018 Council on Social Work Education Annual Program Meeting, taking place in Orlando Florida. I am presenting a poster on how Schools of Social Work use Twitter. IMG_6487.jpg

In case you weren’t able to stop by to see the poster I thought I would link to it here and write a little more about this project. Please Retweet #SocialWorkEducation: A Content Analysis of Social Work Programs on Twitter has been a project in a process now for over a year. It all started by tracking the schools or programs of social work on Twitter that I know about. I created a List and then used If This Then That (IFFT) to track all the tweets and download them to a GoogleDoc. There is a much easier way to do this with Python and some Programming but I’m still learning Python 🙂 Plus Twitter seems to change their API often and so this was an easy way that got the job done, even though it took forever!!!

I just want to know how schools and programs use Twitter, what they share, and who they might interact with. Take a look through the slides below for a bit more information.

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I do actually have more tweets to analyze and I am currently working with one of my grad students on developing a coding scheme to apply to a larger dataset. I hope to have this other project done within the next several months so you might be interested in checking back here to see my progress. Or you can always follow me on Twitter 🙂 imgres

The Annual Program Meeting is always fun and informative. I hope I am able to meet you there or catch up with old friends. Stop by and say Hi during my poster presentation.

Cool Tools & Apps for Education

Anyone who has frequented this blog knows I like technology, and I really like technology that helps with education. I don’t really think technology gets in the way, well maybe it does sometimes, but I think technology can really enhance learning and help students apply their knowledge in a variety of ways.  To that end, I have been trying to collect tools as I use them or experiment with them during my teaching. I have collected a few that I think are pretty cool tools, but I would like help in finding more.

I have created a GoogleDoc where anyone can add tools they use in the process of education or work. I’m particularly interested in education, but you will see there are some tools that help with workflow management and productivity as well. Take a look, but better yet, ADD your own apps and tools to the spreadsheet so we can create a master list of the best tools out there for education.

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1vFbAvoBnmAHpJDMeRBk3E33btFeSZqshGd-UifoF4R0/edit#gid=0

Are you a Social Media Master?

Social-media-masterI was recently visiting a colleague’s blog and reading through some possible assignments that social work educators can integrate into their curriculum. One of the assignments was about finding an online quiz to assess digital literacies. I am happy to report that I have written about this topic in the academic literature and utilized such a tool. I am now offering that tool here just for the amusement of anyone who wants to see what their New Media Literacy score is. Enjoy.

I had to add a password to the quiz so find me on Twitter and I’ll be happy to share.

https://csusm.co1.qualtrics.com/SE/?SID=SV_eu1yxhAywTfXcS9

#APM16 Council on Social Work Education Annual Conference

screen-shot-2016-10-31-at-2-51-53-pmLater this week I am headed to Atlanta, Georgia to participate in the 2016 Annual Program Meeting of the Council on Social Work Education.  I have attended this meeting every year for the past 6 years and I still get excited to go, mainly to see old friends and meet new colleagues. This year I am continuing my work by presenting the ideas of Student Engagement in Online Education and Digital Literacies. I have previously participated in a panel at other APM’s and I have written about Student Engagement on this blog here. I am also presenting on Digital Literacies, a project I created an entire course around when I worked at my previous institution and I am still analyzing data from. I presented a variant of what I am doing at APM this year at another conference and also wrote about that here.  I will be tweeting lots from the conference so feel free to connect with me via Twitter, but I hope to see you there in Atlanta. Travel safe!

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

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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#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.

 

 

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