What Social Workers are saying about the NASW Draft Tech Standards?

Tweet from NASW on June 20, 2016 about Draft Technology StandardsOn June 20, 2016, the National Association of Social Workers along with Association of Social Work Boards, Council on Social Work Education and the Clinical Social Work Association released a draft copy of proposed new practice standards for technology in social work, and invited the public to comment and provide feedback.  If you want to know what I did on my summer vacation this year, this was it!  I worked with four different groups to draft comments, submitted my own comments, and advocated for all social workers to read and respond to NASW’s call for comments.

Feedback was due on July 20th, and now we wait for NASW and the other groups to respond, revise and/or release the final standards.  Until then, I think there is value in sharing the comments and responses that were submitted to NASW.  I have asked permission from a variety of individuals and groups to post their comments in this blog post.   This is not a comprehensive list, but reflects the opinions of people and groups that I work with or know.   Also, there is no particular order to the list; one set of comments is not more important than another set.  Click on the links in the list to access a particular individual or groups’ comments.  If you would like to add your feedback to this list, please contact me.

List of Comments to NASW’s Draft Tech Standards

– Technology Track for the Annual Program Meeting of Council on Social Work Education and Technology Committee of the Association of Baccalaureate Social Work Program Directors – These two committees combined their efforts and wrote one set of comments. I am a member of both committees.

– Dr. Robert Vernon is a Professor at Indiana University’s School of Social Work and is a pioneer in the use of technology in social work. His comments are available here.

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Using #MacroSW in the Classroom

MacroSW#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:

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Educational Outcomes for Live Tweeting with Students

My first article of 2016 is co-authored with my good colleague, Jimmy Young from California State University San Marcos, and is about using live tweeting with social work students.  Here is a link to the article (with free access for the first 50 copies): Tweet, Tweet!: Using Live Twitter Chats in Social Work Education.

First, I want to thank my colleagues with #MacroSW Chat.  Their support and willingness to collaborate helped to make this assignment and study possible.

We conducted a small pilot study to see what our students thought about using Twitter in the classroom.  Jimmy and I have long supported the use of social media in social work education as a tool for professional development.  When students know how to use social media as a professional social worker, they will have a better understanding of the role of social and digital media in the life of 21st Century social workers, including the benefits of creating  professional learning networks and the pitfalls of potential ethical dilemmas.

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#MacroSW Documentary Movie Night 1/28/16 – Growing up Trans

GrowingupTrans_BoxGood news for those of you interested in the live #MacroSW chats!  We are now chatting every Thursday night at 8:00 PM CST/ 9:00 PM EST.  Next week, on January 28th,  I will be hosting our first our first Documentary Movie Night.  We will be watching Growing Up Trans produced by the PBS’s Frontline.  Here is the description of the movie from Frontline:

Just a generation ago, it was adults, not kids, who changed genders. But today, many children are transitioning, too — with new medical options, and at younger and younger ages. In Growing Up Trans, FRONTLINE takes viewers on an intimate and eye-opening journey inside the struggles and choices facing transgender kids and their families.

Here is a link the trailer and the movie (1 hour and 24 minutes): http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/frontline/film/growing-up-trans/.  You can watch the movie for free.

This movie shows what it is like for children in the US to transition genders from the individual and family perspectives.  As you watch the movie, put on your #MacroSW hat and think about some of the policy, research and other macro-level issues that surround the individuals and families in this movie.

Here are the questions we hope to discuss during the chat:

-From the movie, what are some of the challenges for transgender kids and their parents?

-What are some macro-level approaches to addressing these challenges?

-What do you think is the most important policy issue affecting transgender children? Why?

-What do you think most Americans don’t realize about children who are transgender?

-What single word best describes how the film made you feel?

-What’s next? How do we as social workers address the challenges experienced by transgender children?

Also, please follow our new Twitter handle – @OfficialMacroSW.

About #MacroSW:

#MacroSW is a collaboration of social workers, organizations, social work schools, and individuals working to promote macro social work practice. Macro social work practice focuses on changing larger systems, such as communities and organizations. It encompasses a broad spectrum of actions and ideas, ranging from community organizing and education to legislative advocacy and policy analysis. The chats are held weekly on Twitter every Thursday at 9 p.m. EST (6 p.m. PST). Click here for a list of chat partners. For information about how to participate in the #MacroSW chat, view our FAQs. For chat schedule and chat archives check out: http://macrosw.com

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Fall 2015 Live Twitter Chat Assignment for Social Work Students

InequalityforallTo help social work students and educators learn about Twitter and develop the skills to participate in a live chat, Jimmy Young of the California State University San Marcos and I (Laurel Hitchcock of University of Alabama at Birmingham) have designed an assignment for social work students that involves joining a live Twitter chat with other social work students, educators and practitioners from around the country to talk about important social and economic justice issues.  The assignment is designed for a policy or macro-practice course, but it can be incorporated into almost any social work course.  Here are the some of the details of the assignment:

1. Students watch the documentary Inequality for All, and then write a brief reaction paper to movie.

2. Then, students participate in the live Twitter chat scheduled for October 8, 2015 at 8:00 PM CST/6:00 PM PST. This chat will be sponsored by #MacroSW, a bi-weekly Twitter chat focusing on macro social work practice issues, and hosted by myself & Jimmy.  During the chat, we will ask questions about the film and income inequality that will guide the flow of the conversation.

3. After the live chat, students write a brief self-reflection essay about the experience of participating in the chat.

While the written parts of the assignment are optional to participate in the chat, we highly recommend some type of reflection so students are engaged with the content from the documentary prior to the chat, and have an opportunity to critically assess how the experience can inform their future social work practice.  We have written in more detail about the assignment in previous blog posts which include detailed instructions for the assignment, grading rubrics and tips on how to introduce your students to Twitter.  Our first chat was held on October 28, 2014, and you can read details about it here, including a transcript of tweets from the conversation.  There is no cost to educators or students to participate in the chat, and we welcome anyone, especially social work practitioners, to join the chat.

Because we are working to improve the chat and the assignment as an educational experience for social work students, we are very interested in any feedback from social work educators.  Please contact us (by clicking on our names below) if you plan to have your class or maybe a student group participate in the chat.  We also welcome questions.


Jimmy Young

Laurel Hitchcock

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Financial Social Work: An Emergent Macro Practice Discipline #MacroSW 6/11 at 8 PM CST


Reeta Wolfsohn, MSW, CMSW

IMG_2650-2 LC photo close up

Sunya Folayan, MSW,ACSW

Join #MacroSW Twitter chat partner Sunya Folayan,MSW, ACSW @SunyaFolayan as she interviews her mentor and friend Reeta Wolfsohn, MSW, CMSW @FinancialMSW, the visionary founder of Financial Social Work and the Financial Therapy Network.

Financial Social Work is an emergent Macro practice discipline that is gaining traction within the profession. Financial Social Work is now in the new Oxford Encyclopedia of Social Work.The mission of Financial Social Work (FSW) is to empower social workers and their clients to establish healthy money habits that lead to long-term financial security. FSW’s interactive, introspective behavioral model is strengths based and heavily psychosocial. The certification and client programs incorporate an on-going process of education, motivation and support which contribute to personal growth and improved financial well-being.

The Financial Therapy Network  is where Financial Wellness Begins for consumers. The network includes:

– An online self-help program “My Money Myself” based on the philosophy of Financial Social Work.

– Online Financial Support Groups that offer unique and life changing occasions for women to spend time in a safe and supportive environment with others in similar circumstances.

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