#BPDNOLA17 – The Social Media Toolkit goes on the road

In November 2016, I had the pleasure of presenting with Allison Curington, Director of Field Education at the University of Alabama, about our Social Media Policy Toolkit at CSWE’s 2016 Annual Program Meeting in Atlanta, GA.  Today, we are at BPD’s 2017 Annual Conference in New Orleans to share our work once again.  We will be talking about a project that we have been working on for the past two years, a Toolkit for Social and Digital Media Policies in Field Education.  Please join us at 11:00 AM in Bayside B  at the Sheraton in New Orleans for our presentation.  Allison and I started collaborating on this toolkit after many, many conversations about the growing use (and misuse) of social media in field education by students, educators and field supervisors.  We saw that field directors were increasingly dealing with ethical and practical issues related to the use of social and digital media in field education, and we wanted to provide information and tools to help field directors raise awareness with students and field supervisors.

Based on feedback from CSWE and a Field Educator’s training at UA in January, we have updated our tools and hope to get even more feedback from our BPD colleagues before launching our toolkit.  In our interactive workshop today, we plan to present on the toolkit and share one of the tools from the kit – Social Media Policy Checklist and Worksheet for Social Workers.

Here is a link to the slides from our presentation: https://www.slideshare.net/laurelhitchcock/bpdnola17-the-social-media-toolkit-goes-on-the-road

Also, if you are interested in being notified when the toolkit is ready, please sign-up for our email list: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/SOMEToolkit_Field.

For examples of our social media guidelines:

Here is our abstract with the learning objectives:

  1. Participants will demonstrate an understanding of FERPA, HIPPA, and other policies and standards that can guide their development of their own professional policy and begin to create programmatic best practice around the use of social media.
  2. Participants will be able to develop their own professional social media policy.
  3. Participants will be able to create activities for students in field that include social and digital media.

While social media are a topic of conversation in many educational and practice arenas, social work professionals are often not engaged in the social media conversation loop and unclear about the influence of social media in the lives of 21st century employees and organizations. There are several reasons why social work educators and professionals are not having these conversations or engaging with social and digital technologies.  These include generational differences, lack of technology resources, lack of training with technology (technological competency), lack of best practice guidelines or organizational/institution policy and ethical concerns (Brady, McLeod, & Young, 2015; Goldkind & Wolf, 2015; Kimball & Kim, 2013).

Field Directors are in a precarious position when it comes to navigating discourse on social and digital media. The traditional role of Field Directors/field office is to liaison between the educational institution and the practice world. While this role has always been tenuous in balancing the competing demands of entities, best practice and slow changing systems have been the foundation for field directors. Most difficult for field educators is the lack of best practice clarity and the rapidly changing context of social and digital media (Sage & Sage, 2015). In addition, field directors are being faced with many ethical challenges presented by student’s use of social media in field.  Further, the social work literature and professional social work organizations have been slow to provide updated guidance in the form of best practice and standards to help navigate (Berzin, Singer & Chan, 2015; Hitchcock & Battista, 2012; NASW & ASWB, 2005).

Field Directors have an opportunity to begin to shape the professional landscape of social and digital media in social work and higher education. The role as liaison between the educational and practice realm places field directors in a position of influence in both policy development and practice. In order to maximize their role, field directors must first grapple with their own understanding of social media as it relates to ethics and social work practice.  Field Directors also have an opportunity to develop best practice or policy for their institution, program or field office.

This workshop will provide both information and tools that field directors can use to help them begin to develop address the ethical and practical issues related to the use of social and digital media in field education.  Specifically, the presenters will review how a field director can develop their own professional social media policy, and how to with students and field supervisors on developing their own policies.  A review of how policies and guidelines such as FERPA, HIPPA and the NASW Code of Ethics affect the use of social and digital media in social work education and practice will be covered (US Department of Education, 2015; U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, 2015; NASW, 2008).  Finally, the presenters will share examples of course and field activities that can be implemented with students to increase understanding of the professional and ethical use of social and digital media in social work practice.


Berzin, S. C., Singer, J. B., & Chan, C. (2015). Practice Innovation through Technology in the Digital Age: A              Grand Challenge (Grand Challenges for Social Work Initiative, No. Working Paper No. 12). Cleveland, OH: American Academy of Social Work & Social Welfare. Retrieved from http://aaswsw.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/12/WP11-with-cover.pdf

Brady, S. R., McLeod, D. A., & Young, J. A. (2015). Developing Ethical Guidelines for Creating Social Media              Technology Policy in Social Work Classrooms. Advances in Social Work, 16(1), 43–54.

Goldkind, L., & Wolf, L. (2015). A digital environment approach: Four technologies that will disrupt social               work practice. Social Work, 60(1), 85–87.

Hitchcock, L. I., & Battista, A. (2013). Social Media for Professional Practice: Integrating Twitter With Social Work Pedagogy. Journal of Baccalaureate Social Work, 18, 33–45.

Kimball, E., & Kim, J. (2013). Virtual Boundaries: Ethical Considerations for Use of Social Media in Social   Work. Social Work, 58(2), 185–188.

National Association of Social Workers. (2008). Code of Ethics of the National Association of Social Workers. Retrieved from https://www.socialworkers.org/pubs/code/code.asp

National Association of Social Workers & Association of Social Work Boards. (2005). Standards for             Technology and Social Work Practice. Retrieved from      https://www.socialworkers.org/practice/standards/naswtechnologystandards.pdf

Sage, M., & Sage, T. (2015). Social media and E-professionalism in child welfare: Policy and practice.  Journal of Public Child Welfare, 1–17.

U.S. Department of Education. (2015). Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) [Guides].                          February 3, 2016, from http://www2.ed.gov/policy/gen/guid/fpco/ferpa/index.html.

U.S. Department of Health & Human Services. (2015). HIPAA for Professionals. Retrieved February 3, 2016, from http://www.hhs.gov/hipaa/for-professionals/index.html

How to cite:

Hitchcock, L. I., & Curington, A. (2017, March 4). #BPDNOLA17 – The Social Media Toolkit goes on the road. Retrieved from http://www.laureliversonhitchcock.org/2017/03/04/bpdnola17_somekit/ 

Author: Laurel Hitchcock

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