There is a new tool which may revolutionize internships for social workers, Google Glass. This tool is an optically head mounted display of a computer. When looking at it, one can feel like the digital device is the equivalent of wearing glasses. This non-obtrusive device may be the next step in evolution towards an integrated learning approach with technology.
When I was an intern in my BSW and MSW program we developed skills with clients through process recordings and videotaping. A transcript of the session with the client or video would be analyzed with our supervisor to discuss our skills and content of the process. This was one of the most valuable tools for me in my internship, direct feedback in a real life situation.
Fast forward to the immediate future where Google Glass can offer the student an instantaneous learning experience. Besides being able to non-obtrusively video an individual or group session, think of the feedback component. A supervisor can be in a session or group with the student, giving automatic feedback as the student is in the experience. Resources can be given on the screen for education of the client. There are endless possibilities for the types of input available for integration.
The potential of this tool for learning is a huge leap in evaluation innovation. Google Glass places the instructor in the seat of the intern, literally. Students can tape the first session and the last. Quantifiable information can be obtained in an evaluation of their skills. Of course there are releases to be signed and privacy to be worked through with this new method. Ethical consideration of this tool and the impact on the client must be reviewed. But with this technology comes the opportunity to progress social work skill building to a new level of effectiveness. The implications for a shift in pedagogy and research may change how social work is practiced in the future.
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Written By Ellen Belluomini
Website: Bridging the Digital Divide in Social Work Practice