Attention Field Supervisors and Social Work Students: Making the most out of your field experience learning plan

Each semester I work with my interns on their learning plan. Most of my interns are digital natives. I am a digital immigrant. Technology was not even available to me in social work practice until the nineties.  I find it interesting to observe how digital natives relate technology to their practice. These natives often do not understand how to connect digital opportunities with their client populations beyond Internet Searches.

Here I offer some digital possibilities for students to integrate theory with practice in their field settings.   Each one should be discussed with the field supervisor or in the field class. If you have practice with any of them please let me know your experience.

CSWE Field Competency
       Learning Opportunities/Tasks
Identify as a professional social worker and conduct oneself accordingly.
·     Create a LinkedIn account
·     Join social work groups on LinkedIn relating to your social work population and the profession
·     Keep an online journal of your experiences each week and share with supervisor, Penzu or Day One
·     Create a blog between you and your supervisor to track resources for your client population, ask questions, or share tools
·     Curate topics on Scoop.It or Triberr about social work interests
·     Google podcasts, pictures, and videos of various social work events/training to understand professional standards for communication, dress and behavior
·     Join social work blogs and magazines online, use Bundlepost to keep up with them
·     Identify national, regional, and local conferences within your education needs
Apply social work ethical principles to guide professional practice.
·     Join social work groups on LinkedIn relating to social work ethics
·     Read the online ethical standard NASW creates in your practice area and the technology standards
·     Research topics in the Journal of Social Work Values and Ethics
·     Use a search engine to explore ethical dilemmas in social work practices and journal about how you would have responded to share with your supervisor
·     Research an ethical decision making process online and relate it to the agency or population served
Apply critical thinking to inform and communicate professional judgments.
·     Review Bloom’s Digital Taxonomy to integrate technology into problem solving
·     Search for similar programs online to compare their research based strategies to your placement
·     Using Google Images, identify visual models for assessment, prevention, intervention, and evaluation of your field population
·      Search Ted for inspirational videos about agency or client interests
·     Place communication with clients, community or other agencies on GoogleDocs for review by other social workers
·     Video tape yourself addressing differences in practice, problem solving conflicts or working with difficult clients (give friends a script as to how you want them to behave)
Engage diversity and difference in practice.
·     Interpret client data collected by agency against community data for any discrimination
·     Identify three issues with diversity and culture you have had with client populations, then develop a survey on explaining each issue
and asking for other professionals, within the organization, viewpoint
·     Develop a list of links relevant to understanding cultures served by your organization
·     Videotape different cultural segments at a protest to understand their point of view on the matter
Advance human rights and social and economic justice.
·     Start a campaign on or another charity site
·     Cultivate an advocacy blog
·     Join advocacy lists for your causes online
·     Find your local and federal representatives online and write a letter in support or against legislation affecting a population of interest
·     Make a viral video on a social or economic justice issue to post on YouTube
·     Create a Facebook page or Pinterest for your issue
·     Keep a political log of issues affecting your population online, share it on social media
Engage in research-informed practice and practice-informed research.
·     Research charities on to see where your organization fits
·     Find which EIPs your organization uses and how they research their programs, then use your school database to research alternative approaches to affect change
·     Discover outcomes at your agency and compare with other agencies
·     Pinpoint and review grant applications online for EIP needs
·     View information on research through Storify or create your own Storify
Apply knowledge of human behavior and the social environment.
·     Identify and assess websites which will empower your client population
·     Generate a list of android and apple applications for use with your population
·     Create a systems view of how the digital divide affects your population
·     Design an online class for clients or staff at Rcampus or MyiCourse, offer the course at your agency or within the community
·     Model a technology ecomap of a client system
·     Develop a method to empower clients usage of technology to advance their problem solving and opportunity
Engage in policy practice to advance social and economic well-being and to deliver effective social work services.
·     Identify appropriate grants and foundations online for use by your agency
·     Find the advocacy group for your population and research policies the group works toward changing
·     Host a twitter debate about policy relevant to your setting, market to appropriate stakeholders
·     Recognize and create an agency policy on GoogleDocs and open it for feedback
Respond to contexts that shape practice.
·     Analyze and compare rural and urban digital solutions to the social issue addressed, evaluate problems
·     Videotape interviews with community stakeholders for upload to agency website
·     Evaluate digital tools and technology systems at your agency, present to supervisor, director, or board
·     Curate relevant technology changes applicable to your agency with Curata
Engage, assess, intervene, and evaluate with individuals, families, groups, organizations, and communities
·     Use a GoPro, with informed consent, to tape a segment of the day you are most engaged with your client population
·     Complete technology assessments with clients
·     Identify and intervene with appropriate technology in your client setting
·     Develop a plan for efficiently using the agency’s electronic records system
·     Assess social media usage at your agency and use Mass Relevance to create social engagement


Written by Ellen Belluomini, LCSW
SJS Contributor

This post was originally published at, and was syndicated with the author’s permission.

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One Response

  1. Emily Pierce November 21, 2013

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