AL/MS 2014 Social Work Education Conference

This October day finds me in Tuskegee, AL presenting at the 2014 Alabama-Mississippi Social Work Education Conference. The purpose of this post is to provide supplemental information for today’s presentation. My session will focus on how social work educators can incorporate social media into their pedagogy.

Here is a link to the Prezi that I will show during the presentation.

Here is the proposal for the presentation:

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).  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 (NASW & ABSW, 2005).  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: 1) provide an overview of different types of social media; 2) describe how social work educators and students can use social media in the classroom and practice; and 3) discuss important skills and values needed to use social media as a social work professional.

Current revisions to CSWE’s Educational Policies and Accreditation Standards (EPAS) suggest that learning to use “technology ethically and appropriately to facilitate practice outcomes” will be an important practice behavior in the assessment of social work competencies starting in 2015 (CSWE, 2014, p. 3).  While faculty in all disciplines have used email, streaming videos, learning management systems, and other forms of technology for some time, research shows that social work education programs have been comparatively slow to adopt the use of digital technologies into their curricular designs (Moore, 2005).  By making social media an essential component of social work curricula, educators can prepare future practitioners for a climate in which advocacy, information-sharing, and community organizing occur on collaborative, publically-available networks.

Students benefit from using social media in two important ways.  First, they learn to communicate professionally and ethically via social media (EPAS 2.1.1 & 2.1.2).  Using different types of platforms, students can easily share information with each other and their instructors about group assignments, research studies and current events.  Also, students can demonstrate the ability to communicate directly with social work practitioners and researchers via social media, and thus become more capable to communicate and interact with professionals outside the classroom.  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, the presenter 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.  Specifically, students were able to engage in research and communication by discovering, interacting with and or engaging with different populations (EPAS 2.1.3, 2.1.6 & 2.1.9).

Social work educators who attend this session can learn how to incorporate social media in their own classrooms. The presenter will discuss the challenges and rewards of using social media in the classroom and as a professional.  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.


Council on Social Work Education. (2014). Draft 2 of the 2015 Educational Policy and Accreditation Standards (EPAS) March 2014.  Retrieved from:

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

Moore, B. (2005). Faculty Perceptions of the Effectiveness of Web-Based Instruction in Social Work Education: A National Study. Journal of Technology in Human Services, 23(1-2), 53–66.

NASW (National Association of Social Workers)/ASWB (Association of Social Work Boards). (2005). NASW  & ASWB Standards for technology and social work practice. Retrieved on from:

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

Author: Laurel Hitchcock

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