Using #MacroSW in the Classroom
#MacroSW is a live weekly Twitter chat for anyone interested in macro-level social work practice. The chat partners include practitioners and academics with a passion for working with policy, communities and organizations. In full self-disclosure, I have been an active partner with #MacroSW for almost a year now, and value the opportunity to be part of this online community.
Why use #MacroSW in the classroom?
Simply put, it is an incredibly engaging way to learn about macro social work practice. When students participate in an hour-long chat, they are engaging in the principles of Connected Learning, a theory that incorporates the digital technology into the learning process (Ito et al., 2013). Connected Learning suggests that learning in the 21st century must be driven simultaneously by the interests of the learner (Interest-Driven) and the academic requirements (Academically-Oriented) while occurring in an environment that supports openness, sharing and feedback with peers and others (Peer-Supported) (Ito et al., 2013). For example, if the goal of your class is for students to learn social work practice with communities and organizations, #MacroSW offers weekly topics related to social welfare policy, research, and practice with community and organizations (Interest-Driven) that are hosted and attended by a variety of social work professionals including students, academics, policy analysts and practitioners (Peer-Supported). Each chat includes a blog post on our website, numerous resources for the week’s topic, and a chat transcript which allow any social work educator to easily incorporate #MacroSW into a course or a specific assignment (Academically-Oriented).
How can you incorporate #MacroSW into your class?
There are four things you want to consider when creating an assignment with #MacroSW in your class:
1. Setting-up a Twitter Account: Students will need to create a free Twitter account, understand the basics of how to use Twitter, and be familiar with how to participate in a live chat. As the instructor, you will want to model for your students so set-up your own account too. Here are some resources:
- Twitter Help Center
- Low-Stakes Twitter Assignment for Social Work Educators
- How to participate in a Live Twitter Chat – Tips for Social Workers
2. Frequency and Substance of Tweets: Before students participate in a #MacroSW chat, you will need to outline the number and quality of their tweets. For example, students might need to respond to all of the questions posted during a chat as well as respond to at least three people during the chat. Additionally, you may require them to post hyperlinks to resources that contribute to the chat such a newspaper article or community resource. It is helpful provide examples of good and not-so-good tweets. A short, in-class practice session of live tweeting (10 minutes) before participating in an hour-long #MacroSW chat helps reduce anxiety among students.
3. Archiving/Tracking: While not necessary, it can be useful to create an archive your students’ tweets for review and grading purposes. You can either do this one your own or ask students to create their own archive and send to you. Archives can be created in Storify, taking screenshots of tweets or copying tweets into a spreadsheet using IFTTT. Here are some resources:
Alternatively, you can simply ask students to submit a hyperlink of their Twitter account in the course learning management system and then link directly to their Twitter account via the web-based platform.
4. Assessment or Grading: Finally, you will want to decide how much the assignment is worth and how you will grade. Jimmy Young and I have created an assignment in partnership with #MacroSW chat, using a competency-based grading rubric. We recommend incorporating writing tasks along with the chat participation such as a written movie review and after-chat self-reflection. You can read more about our assignment at the following link: Special #MacroSW Chat on October 28, 2014.
Finally, I offer a list of #MacroSW Learning activities based on the Council of Social Work Education’s 2015 Competencies. Please feel free to incorporate these learning tasks into your course or across a curriculum. Or better, please let me know how you are engaging your students in our weekly #MacroSW chats. Does anyone have any experiences with #MacroSW and their classroom? Please share your thoughts in the comment section.
|Social Work Competency||#MacroSW Learning Activities|
|Competency 1: Demonstrate Ethical and Professional Behavior||
|Competency 2: Engage Diversity and Difference in Practice||
|Competency 3: Advance Human Rights and Social, Economic, and Environmental Justice||
|Competency 4: Engage In Practice-informed Research and Research-informed Practice||
|Competency 5: Engage in Policy Practice||
|Competency 6: Engage with Individuals, Families, Groups, Organizations, and Communities||
|Competency 7: Assess Individuals, Families, Groups, Organizations, and Communities||
|Competency 8: Intervene with Individuals, Families, Groups, Organizations, and Communities||
|Competency 9: Evaluate Practice with Individuals, Families, Groups, Organizations, and Communities||