#APM17 Day 1 – Infusing Policy Practice into BSW Service Learning Courses

As part of the Field Education Institute, I am presenting a poster with my colleagues Scott Batey, Yookyong Lee, and Chris Walker (University of Alabama at Birmingham) about the work we did for our Policy Practice in Field Education Initiative Grant from the Council on Social Work Education.

Our project involved creating more policy-based learning opportunities into our undergraduate service learning courses, creating a series of policy-focused activities that are  grounded in community-based settings. Our curriculum includes three practice courses with a one-hour service-learning lab.  Students take the courses sequentially and complete 32 hours in service learning at a community-based agency or simulation for each lab. By integrating policy-focused learning activities into these service-learning labs, we hope to bridge the gap between our policy courses and field education while simultaneously providing all of our students the opportunity to see   how policy affects communities and agencies in our state, especially related to issues of economic and racial disparities.  Our specific objectives for this planning grant included: 1) Incorporate at least one policy-based assignment or learning opportunity into each of the service learning labs in our practice sequence; 2) increase and strengthen the number of service learning community partners with local and state-wide advocacy agencies focused on addressing issues of economic and racial disparities; and 3) Enhance our field advisory board by increasing membership to include community partners from our service learning projects, especially partners from policy-based agencies.

Here is a copy of our poster:

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Social Media Toolkit for Social Work Field Educators – Get your Free Copy!

We are pleased to announce the availability of the Social Media Toolkit for Social Work Field Educators.  This toolkit provides Field and other Social Work Educators with tools and resources to help social work students and field instructors assess, develop, and maintain an online identity for professional purposes.  There are two parts to the toolkit – an Educator’s Guide and a PowerPoint Slide Deck.  The Educator’s Guide provides directions, descriptions, and handouts related to the content of the toolkit while the Slide Deck includes pre-formatted slides with selected content for presenting n the classroom or a workshop. Content in this toolkit can be easily adapted to agency-level continuing education.

The content of this toolkit is divided into five different topics centered on how to use social media professionally as a social worker:

– Reflecting on Social Media Use in Social Work Practice
– Engaging and Self-Assessment with Social Media
– Professional Practice with Social Media
– Case Studies for Students & Field Educators
– Social Media Learning Activities for Field Education

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#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.

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Modeling Practice: Social Media Guidelines in Social Work Field Education

Last year, I wrote my own profession guidelines  for how I use social media in my professional practice as a social work educator.  This is often referred to as a Professional Social Media Policy, and is a recommended practice from National Association of Social Workers (NASW, n.d.).  Specifically, these guidelines are personal to me, and describe how I strive to interact with students, colleagues and other professionals when using digital and social media.   I include these guidelines in my course syllabi and they guide how I use social media to engage students online, disseminate my research, and network with colleagues.

Allison Curington, MSW

Allison Curington, MSW

These guidelines came about because of a collaborative project with Allison Currington, Director of Field Education at the University of Alabama.  We have been working a toolkit to help social work field educators deal with ethical and practical issues related to the use of social and digital media in field education, focusing on information and tools to help field directors raise awareness with students and field supervisors.  As part of this process, Allison also wrote her own professional social media policy. She then decided to ask the entire staff in the UA Office of Field Education to assess their social media use for their own policies.  In this interview style post, Allison shares her thoughts about how the process worked and the UA Field Staff developed their own professional social media policies.

How did you write your own policy? How did you approach this process?

Navigating the landscape of technology and social media has been quite the challenge in field education. I can remember when MySpace was all the rage as I was beginning my career as a field director. However, there were very few students in our graduate program who participated on social media platforms. Honestly, we were just trying to navigate not having enough cell phone coverage in rural areas at that time! Fast forward 13 years and you have an entirely new landscape. I would have never dreamed as a field director that I would be dealing with a generation of students who use their primary mode of communication with something other than the phone, e-mail, or even snail mail.

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#APM16 Day 4 – A Toolkit for Social and Digital Media Policies in Field Education

apmpresentation_sometoolkitforfieldeducation_curringtonhitchcock_finalIt is the last day of CSWE’s 2016 Annual Program Meeting in Atlanta, and I am presenting with one of my favorite UA colleagues, Allison Curington, at 10:00 AM in Atlanta Marriott Marquis Hotel International 8. We will be talking about a project that we have been working on for the past year, a Toolkit for Social and Digital Media Policies in Field Education.   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.

In our interactive workshop today, we plan to present on the toolkit for the first time and pilot one of the tools – Social Media Policy Checklist and Worksheet for Social Workers. We hope you will join us.

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My Guidelines for using Digital & Social Tech in the Classroom and Beyond

images (1)I recently started collaborating with a good colleague, Allison Currington of the University of Alabama’s School of Social Work, on a project to develop tools and resources for social work field educators about the professional use of social media in social work practice.  After several conversations, we realized we need to walk the walk, if we are going to talk the talk. So, we each decided to take a little journey to explore our own guidelines for using social media in the classroom and in our practice as social work educators.  Our end goal is to encourage social work students and field instructors to develop their own professional social media guidelines.

I started by reviewing what was others were saying about personal social media policies and practices.  I reviewed several policies, infographics (such as Social Worker’s Guide to Social Media from the University of Buffalo’s School of Social Work), articles, blog posts with recommendations (such as Dr. Julie Hank’s post), and even my own syllabi.   What follows is a set of guidelines that represent my own practices for using digital and social technologies as a social work educator.  I would love to hear your comments about these guidelines and would be very interested in any other social workers, students and educators who would be willing to share their own best practices or guidelines for using digital and social media.

Dr. Laurel Hitchcock’s Guidelines for using Digital & Social Technology in the Classroom and Practice

These guidelines outline how I strive to interact with students, colleagues and other professionals when using digital and social media.  Digital devices are laptops, tablets, smart phones and any form of wearable technology. Social media are websites and applications that allow people to create and share content and/or participate in social networking.  

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