Social Media and Technology Basics for the Social Work Educator – #BPDTX16

BPD_PreconferenceWorkshopWelcome to #BPDTX2016! Stephen Baldridge of Abilene Christian University and I are facilitating a pre-conference workshop about social media basics for the social work educator on 3/30/16 from 1:00 – 4:00 PM.  We originally created this workshop with Jimmy Young of California State University – San Marcos, but he won’t be making it to BPD this year.

Our goal for the workshop is to introduce social work educators to the world of social and digital technologies that can be effectively incorporated into the classroom. We will help bridge the gap between understanding and best practice by demonstrating how to use some of the social media platforms. Upon completion, participants will have several practical, “usable” tools to immediately implement in their courses.

Learning Objectives for the workshop include:

1. Understand how a minimum of 3 social media platforms can be incorporated into assignments for social work courses.

2. Recognize/identify a minimum of 2 ways using social and digital media can promote professional development among social work educators.

3. Appreciate the role of collaboration to support the development and implementation of technology-based assignments.

Slides for the presentations can be accessed here: 

Here is a link to my blog post about My Guidelines for using Digital & Social Tech in the Classroom and Beyond.

Here is the abstract for our workshop:

Facebook and other social media tools have become commonplace in most people’s lives.  Over 70% of all adults in the US are on Facebook, and 52% have two or more social media accounts (Duggan et al., 2015). There is now a call for social work education to understand and integrate digital technologies into the explicit curriculum, from simply raising awareness of how social media affects client systems to enhancing digital media competencies of students (Getz, 2012; Perron, Taylor, Glass & Margerum-Leys, 2010; Quinn & Fitch, 2014; Roblyer et al., 2010).

Some social work educators are incorporating digital technologies into classroom discussion and activity, meeting multiple needs and learning outcomes for social work students (Baldridge, et al., 2013; Hitchcock & Battista, 2014; Joosten, 2012; Young, 2014).  First, social media platforms help students and educators to make connections and engage in an interactive community.  This, paired with students’ access to mobile devices such as tablets, opens the door for numerous learning possibilities both inside and outside of the traditional classroom. Second, students learn to discover, disseminate and evaluate information related to important social problems and social work practice in new ways.  Many digital platforms include features to search, share and bookmark information from sources including government websites, scientific blogs and scholarly journals.  By creating and using online social media profiles, students can learn about important practice and ethical issues such as privacy, public image, professional communication skills, and using technology to give back to the profession. Finally, students can engage and demonstrate practice skills such as professional communication, online advocacy, and applying social work ethics through social media.

For many educators, the idea and practice of using social media and mobile devices in the classroom can be an intimidating and anxiety provoking topic. This interactive pre-conference workshop presents an evidence-based, motivating approach to engaging the valuable tools of social media and mobile education. The presenters recognize that many social work educators (and administrators) struggle to find willingness and confidence to implement technology-based tools. This workshop simultaneously attends to issues of motivation (willingness and self-efficacy) and technological training for social work educators who are new to using social media and digital technologies in the classroom.  The presenters will describes ways to utilize technology that educators are already using as well as pushing into new and effective tools that will help students learn and retain information at higher levels. Specific topics to be covered include:

  • Different types of social and digital media platforms
  • Innovative Assignments social and digital technologies
  • Mobile Devices in the classroom
  • Policy issues such as FERPA, Social Media and Tech policies for the classroom and privacy/publicness
  • Social media as a tool of professional development for educators

To help bridge the gap between understanding and doing, attendees are encouraged to bring their devices, current course assignments and ideas to discuss with the presenters and other attendees to create additional, innovative methods of learning. Upon completion, participants will have several practical, “usable” tools to immediately implement in their courses.


Baldridge, S.N., McAdams, A., Reed, A., & Knettle, A. (2013). Mobile classrooms: Using mobile devices to enhance BSW education. Journal of Baccalaureate Social Work. 18, 17-32.

Duggan, M., Ellison, N.B., Lampe, C., Lenhart, A,. & Madden, M. “Social Media Update 2014,” Pew Research Center, January 2015. Available at:

Getz, L. (2012). Mobile app technology for social workers.Social Work Today, 12(3), 8.

Hitchcock, L. I., & Battista, A. (2013). Social Media for Professional Practice: Integrating Twitter with Social Work Pedagogy.The Journal of Baccalaureate Social Work, 18(special issue), 33-45.

Joosten, T. (2012).Social media for educators: Strategies and best practices. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Mishna, F., Bogo, M., Root, J., Sawyer, J., & Khoury-Kassabri, M. (2012). “It just crept in”: The digital age and implications for social work practice. Clinical Social Work Journal, 40(3), 277–286.

Perron, B. E., Taylor, H. O., Glass, J. E., & Margerum-Leys, J. (2010). Information and communication technologies in social work.Advances in Social Work, 11(2), 67–81.

Quinn, A., & Fitch, D. (2014). A Conceptual Framework for Contextualizing Information Technology Competencies. Journal of Technology in Human Services, 32(1/2), 133-148.    DOI: 0.1080/15228835.2013.860367

Roblyer, M. D., McDaniel, M., Webb, M., Herman, J., & Witty, J. V. (2010). Findings on Facebook in higher education: A comparison of college faculty and student uses and perceptions of social networking sites.The Internet and Higher Education, 13(3), 134–140.

Young, J. (2014). iPolicy: Exploring and Evaluating the use of iPads in a Social Welfare Policy Course.Journal of Technology in Human Services, 32(1-2), 39-53.

Author: Laurel Hitchcock

Share This Post On