Using Innovative Content to Tell the Social Work Story by Chris Ingrao

Chris Ingrao PhotoMr.  Chris Ingrao is the Community Manager of SocialWork@Simmons, the online Masters of Social Work program, offered through the Simmons College School of Social Work. In this blog post, Mr. Ingrao writes about how digital technologies can be used to curate content about the history of social work.  

The possibilities are endless when it comes to curating content for social workers. There is a seemingly infinite amount of topics that touch the lives of professionals in micropractice that are worth sharing. However, I have found that the history behind the profession is rarely discussed. Despite having immersed myself in all things social services for some time now, I discovered that I too knew very little about the historical milestones and legislative shifts that ultimately resulted in what we now know as modern day social work. As a result, our team performed research around the origins of the social services industry and created a chronological resource documenting the evolution of the profession.

We wanted this to be more than a passage from a history book. Our goal was to create something that taught our readers a lesson while retaining their attention in an attractive and digestible format.  I’ve found that the best way to contextualize fragments of history is through powerful imagery that clearly represent the given time period. Using a platform called Slideshare,  we were able to tell this image-rich story through an interactive slideshow. We carefully selected photos that best represent the subject and time period reflected in each milestone.

Jane Addams Ellen Gates Starr

Jane Addams and Ellen Gates Starr

Digital content is playing so much more of an essential role in social work education. Especially in our online social work program, we integrate as many opportunities as we can to break from the standard textbook/lecture method of teaching. Our hope is that professors across multiple disciplines can incorporate our resource as a tool to tell the important, but rarely told story of social service pioneers. We encourage professors and bloggers alike to challenge their methods for historical lesson planning and breathe new life into the social work story!

In addition to blog content, social media is a tremendous tool for the social service community. Embracing the connectivity opportunities presented by social media platforms are a great way for professionals to share great digital resources and receive input from prominent thought leaders in the space. In sharing our historical resource, we’ve encountered a diverse array of perspectives on social welfare history. This kind of dialogue is what makes these platforms so useful and will help us to continue to build better resources that incorporate a wider range of perspectives. Digital content is the future of keeping the evolution of social services alive and we are so happy to be part of the tale!

Author: Laurel Hitchcock

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