Twitter Learning Activities for Social Work Competencies

Last month, Ellen Belluomini wrote a very practical and helpful blog post for social work field educators and students about technology-based activities that can be incorporated into a social work student’s learning plan for field education.  I tip my hat to Ellen and am shamelessly borrowing her idea to present my own list of learning activities for each of the CSWE Social Work Competencies.  My list focuses on using Twitter, a microblogging social media platform, as a tool for students to practice and demonstrate proficiency of social work skills,  knowledge and values.  As you may guess from my previous posts and research interests, I am a big fan of Twitter as a tool for professional social work practice.  This list includes just some possibilities of tasks, assignments and readings all based on students using Twitter as part of a course.  It is by no means a comprehensive list.  What are some other ways you have used Twitter as part of your courses or as part of your social work practice? How have you used Twitter to enhance your own social work practice.  Please share your ideas or thoughts.

CSWE Social Work Competency

Classroom Tasks, Assignments and Readings

Identify as a professional social worker and conduct oneself accordingly.

1. Create a free Twitter account and develop a public profile as a professional social worker.

2. Review the public profiles of practicing social workers, educators and/or students.  Develop of list of common characteristics from these profiles, identifying any best practices or good model.

3. Review the tweets of practicing social workers, educators and/or students for examples of professional vs. unprofessional demeanor in communication.

Apply social work ethical principles to guide professional practice.

1. Read Dr. Frederic Reamer’s article Developing A Social Media Ethics Policy.  Write and post a tweet about the most important concept you learned from the article.

2. Write a brief one-paragraph social media policy for how one plans to use Twitter as a professional social work, including examples of what one will and will not include in their tweets.

2. Post tweets about the National Association of Social Worker’s Code of Ethics. For example, send out a tweet describing one of the six core values including a hyperlink to a source that represents the value.

Apply critical thinking to inform and communicate professional judgments.

1. After each social work class, post a tweet about what you learned in the class.

2. Alternatively, after each class, post a tweet with a question that you have about the class content.

3. Create a public list on Twitter about a social problem or important social work topic, and follow at least 10 different groups or organizations.  Provide a reason for why you included each group on your list.

Engage diversity and difference in practice.

1. Create a public list or groups or organizations that focuses on an area of diversity and difference in practice such as a list of LGTB advocacy agencies or bloggers who write about aging in American society.

2. Search for new articles about an issue of diversity that is important to you and re-tweet with a comment.  Consider focusing your tweet on how the article supports or does not support the dignity and worth of the person.

3. Read NASW’s Standards for Cultural Competence in Social Work Practice.  Identify three ways you could use Twitter to develop culturally competent knowledge and skills as a social work student, and in the future as a social work practitioner.

Advance human rights and social and economic justice.

1. Participate in a live Twitter Chat that addresses a social and/or economic justice issue such as the Mental Health Chat.

2. Create a public list of advocacy organizations on Twitter related to social or economic justice issues such as poverty or health care disparities.  See my list on food insecurity as an example.

3. Watch a documentary movie on a social justice issue and send out tweets with hashtags about the movie, focusing on the movie’s message and important facts from the movie.  See Dr. Jimmy Young’s blog post on twitter and documentaries for more details.

Engage in research-informed practice and practice-informed research.

1. After reading a social work research article, write and post a tweet summarizing the article.

2. Create a public list of researchers interested in an important social work issues or social problem.

3. Read the blog post From Tweet to Blog Post to Peer-Reviewed Article: How to be a Scholar Now by Jessie Daniels.  Identify ways Twitter could be used to answer important social work research questions.

Apply knowledge of human behavior and the social environment.

1. Post tweets with links to different newspaper articles about topics relevant to HBSE.

2. Do a search with hashtags on Twitter about different developmental stages covered in your HBSE classes such as #aging or #childhood and read what others are tweeting.  In a brief paragraph, identify different themes you discovered from the tweets and describe each one.

3. Go to the Pew Internet & American Life Project’s website and search for the most recent information about who is using Twitter in the US and why. Write a brief paragraph about what you learned.

Engage in policy practice to advance social and economic well-being and to deliver effective social work services.

1. Identify a policy issue of interest to you and tweet a question about it to the local, state or federal government agency responsible for implementing the policy.

2. Create a public list of local politicians in your community, and share your list with others.

3. Write and post tweets about current social welfare policies using links to newspapers articles, policy research centers and other professional literature sources.

Respond to contexts that shape practice.

1. Read Dr. Nancy J. Smyth’s blog post Twitter 101 to learn about Twitter.

2. Read the NASW & ABSW Standards for Technology and Social Work Practice. Identify examples of how these standard will influence social workers using Twitter for professional practice.

3. Participate in a live Twitter Chat about a social work topic that interests you.  Write a brief paragraph about the experience and what you learned.

Engage, assess, intervene, and evaluate with individuals, families, groups, organizations, and communities.

1. Create a public list of organizations that focus on one of the five different client systems.  For example, a list about agencies or organizations that focus on small group work or practitioners who specialize in family therapy.

2. Write and post tweets about new research on interventions strategies used by social workers. Check out the Information for Practice website as resource for this activity.

3. Develop and moderate a live Twitter Chat about an important issue in your community or offer to host a live Twitter Chat for a local non-profit on a topic related to their mission.

Author: Laurel Hitchcock

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