Lecturer in Social Work
Groupwork, social work with young people, youth work.
I aim to implement a reflective and participative model of teaching and learning in my lectures where by students are encouraged to engage with course material intellectually and drawing from their own life and work experiences. Classes are a combination of theoretical input, group interaction, small group discussion and reflection exercises. Drawing from digital/social media/online sources adds to the variety of methodologies employed in the classroom and links the material being covered to contemporary debates and service user experiences.
Blackboard, Twitter, email, PowerPoint, You Tube.
By using technology in my teaching I aim to ensure students are connecting with current, up to date, and personal commentary on the issues we are exploring in class. In particular, sourcing social media posts, via Twitter, and recently posted YouTube videos on particular topics is an excellent way of students seeing how the issues we are examining (eg social policy or practice issues), impact on the experience of organisations and service users. An example of this would be in my SS2225 module (Social Work with Young People), each week I begin the class with a recent tweet, You Tube clip, or media post relating to the lecture topic. For example, when discussing young people's experiences of being in the care system, we view Sean Downey's You Tube video where he talks about his experiences of being in both Foster Care and Residential Care (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8T4beHmhDus). Sean is a young person from Cork so it brings the lecture topic alive in a concrete, personal, and local way. Other themes in this module include engaging effectively with young people in social work, creative methods of working, and young people's experiences of leaving care/aftercare. Social media posts pertaining to each area are brought to class in order to bring it alive.
Using online resources as an aspect of teaching helps students engage with course topics in a way that is related to contemporary social discourse, through media discussion, organisational lobbying/advocacy, and service user experience. Students are also encouraged to source additional online/social media material related to course topics and these can be circulated among the class via Blackboard. Students are free to include online contemporary sources in their assignments.
One of the difficulties in using online posts/videos in teaching relates to technical issues. A couple of times there have been sound issues when trying to show You Tube content. Another limitation is time needed in order to up-skill and realise more fully the potential for integrating technology into my teaching and learning practice. In addition, I originally envisaged that using social media posts (e.g. Twitter), would encourage a greater take up and usage of Twitter as a knowledge source amongst the class group, but have not found this particularly to be the case.
Most of my digital skills development has come from individual input and support from colleagues.