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Article

Dick Schoech

Information technology (IT), which encompasses tools and prescribed actions, has begun to substantially impact social work, given 50 years of impressive developments. This entry looks at IT trends and their impact on society and social work. The trends covered concern rapid IT development, connectivity, globalization and outsourcing, intelligent applications and devices, centralization and distribution of power and control, and distance education. Issues and challenges for social work are also discussed.

Article

Students with disabilities are becoming more and more common in higher education classrooms, including social work classrooms. The challenges that come with accommodating students so as to allow equal access to the educational experience are surmountable with the assistance of student disability offices. New technology is being developed to assist students with learning both in and out of the classroom. Supportive attitudes from faculty in including students with disabilities allow all students to benefit from the experience. As compliance with laws such as the ADA becomes commonplace for new construction, the concept of universal design makes inclusion a norm.

Article

John G. McNutt and Lauri Goldkind

Information and communication technology has become a major force in society, the social welfare system, and the social work profession. This entry examines the growth of technology and its application to social work and society. It looks at the role of technology and places an emphasis on administrative/organizational, community, and policy practice. It also considers the larger context of the global information society. It additionally explores the impact of technology on the profession and professional education.

Article

Philip M. Ouellette and David Wilkerson

The growth in technological advances in recent years has revolutionized the way we teach, learn, and practice social work. Due to increases in educational costs and the need for students to maintain family and work responsibilities, an increasing number of social work programs have turned to today’s advances in technology to deliver their courses and programs. This change has resulted in the creative use of new multimedia tools and online pedagogical strategies to offer distance web-based educational programming. With increases in technology-supported programs, recent research studies have identified a number of areas needing further investigation to ensure that quality distance education programs are developed.

Article

Lynne M. Healy

Mary Ann van Kleeck (1883–1972) was director of the Department of Industrial Studies at the Russell Sage Foundation. She studied the effect of technology on employment and her labor research led to legislation protecting women workers.

Article

Mary Pender Greene

Sociologists and social workers have long been invested in understanding the role of communities in shaping identities and influencing behavior; however, the study of virtual communities is still new despite the dramatic ways in which online social networks have replaced traditional, geographically bound conceptions of community. The present article briefly reviews some of the early theories of community that have influenced practically all scholars studying computer-mediated virtual communities. The focus then shifts toward an analysis of early, important theorists focusing on virtual communities. The article concludes by examining contemporary research and practices utilizing virtual communities in social work, with a particular emphasis on ways to integrate virtual communities into professional practice.

Article

Tulshi Kumar Das

Mohammad Habibur Rahman taught social work in two public universities in Bangladesh. He was the founder of a social work program in a science and technology university, the first of its kind in the country. Despite social work being a less familiar academic discipline, especially in a science and technology university, Rahman, a professor of social work, was for the first time appointed as the vice chancellor of the same university. Apart from teaching, he wrote a number of books on social work and social development, community development and community organization, and urbanization and urban social services and also conducted research on the socioeconomic and psychological causes of suicide, rural development and social services in Bangladesh, and urban community development. He presented social work-related papers in national and international conferences and also attended training courses and seminars on social work methods, social welfare policy formulation, and advanced planning in different countries.

Article

Jessica Greenawalt, Jan Ivery, Terry Mizrahi, and Beth B. Rosenthal

Coalitions are mechanisms to bring organizations and individuals together for collective efforts ranging from short-term crisis responses to longer-term problem-solving for social change. Coalitions create a specific type of collaboration that is dynamic and responsive to current events in the social, political, economic, and physical environments. In addition to addressing diverse issues, coalitions can be structured to position those most impacted by the issues to have greater influence in addressing them. This article frames an understanding of coalitions within the context of equity and power and suggests aligned language and approaches. Coalition-specific challenges and opportunities are presented to illustrate how coalition building is both a process and an outcome for developing equitable and inclusive practices in macro social work.

Article

Maria Rodriguez and Jama Shelton

Social media are defined as applications and websites that allows users to share content, usually of their own making. More than just a teenage pastime, social media users include individuals and organizations, across a broad range of social positionalities. Key social work organizations, such as the NASW and AWSB, have begun noting the proliferation of social media usage in education and practice and have begun developing guidelines to govern their use. The American Academy of Social Work and Social Welfare (AASWSW), in their Grand Challenges of Social Work initiative, has also highlighted social media as an important area of growth for research and education. Despite the field’s nascent enthusiasm, practical and ethical concerns persist.

Article

Karun K. Singh

Quality assurance (QA) is a widely accepted management function that is intended to ensure that services provided to consumers meet agreed-upon standards. Standards come from professional organizations, evidence-based practices, and public policies that specify outcomes for consumers. QA systems consist of measurement, comparison of findings to standards, and feedback to practitioners and managers. There is emerging, but limited, research that indicates QA can be an effective strategy for improving outcomes for consumers.

Article

Gina Griffin

As technological advances continue to develop, delivering macro human service through social work innovations becomes a new priority for the discipline. Digital technologies offer potential applications using tablets, smartphones, cloud computing, artificial intelligence, and wearable technology to enable whole new possibilities for human services. As a result, policymakers and community organizers alike can access the existing information much faster, and potentially connect with hard-to-reach communities to make meaningful decisions. Incorporating the latest digital trends from business and industry settings to macro social work practice are highlighted. By utilizing digital technology, human service organizations can become more proactive and citizen-centered, potentially transforming personal and economic capacity.

Article

Pranab Chatterjee, Heehyul Moon, and Derrick Kranke

The term technology transfer was first used widely during the Kennedy and Johnson administrations when the role of the United States in relation to developing countries was being formed. At that time, it meant knowledge transfer from the rich countries to the poor countries. In social work, the idea is important in efforts of community organization, community development, and social development. It is also an important idea in direct practice. Technology in these practice settings means the application of a basic social science toward facilitating one or more given ends that benefit human beings. Technology transfer means the passing on of such applied knowledge from one discipline or specialty to another. The application of technology transfer also requires understanding of the cultural setting where it originates as well as of the setting where it is imported for local use.

Article

Social workers across fields of practice now have a wide array of technology tools and applications for the conduct and augmentation of practice tasks. This entry is intended as a primer on information and communication technology computer hardware tools and software programs. It describes the essential features and practice utility of an array of information and communication technology hardware, including desktop and laptop computers, tablet computers, and smartphones. Software applications are described with a focus on their social work practice functionality in the capture or retrieval, analysis or synthesis, and presentation or dissemination of information. Described are many emerging Web-based applications with noteworthy practice significance.

Article

Higher education continues to undergo a period of rapid change with the rise of new technologies and learning modalities. The increased use of technology applications, computers, the Internet, and course management software systems has resulted in the development and widespread implementation of technology-supported learning environments in social work education throughout the world. New terms and abbreviations, such as online learning, web-based learning, blended learning, e-learning, learning management systems), computer-aided instruction, computer-supported instruction, technology-enhanced learning, internet-based training, and virtual learning environments are impacting the delivery of higher education for both distance and on-campus modes of instruction. The massive open online course (MOOC) movement and use of data analytics about students has pushed more faculty to experiment with technology and new pedagogical approaches. The article provides an overview of current technology applications and how they are being used in social work education. Implications of using technology in social work education include educational quality issues, pedagogical, and philosophical concerns, and future trends and challenges will also be discussed.

Article

Field education has played a significant role in the professional development of social workers since the beginning of the last century. Although the apprenticeship model of training continues to play a significant role, variations on this theme have been explored and continue to be developed in response to political, academic, and economic challenges. Power and privilege endemic to field education have led to social work placement models that require students to commit up to and beyond 20 hours per week of mostly unpaid time to field agencies whose values and structures may replicate systems of oppression. Technological advances have enabled some programs to expand field education into new communities, both nationally and internationally, but solutions to field education challenges remain elusive. Changes in educational policy and accreditation guidelines have the potential to revitalize the role of field education, address issues of inequity, and increase research efforts devoted to this important component of professional education.