12th Maudsley Workshop: Social media and continuing professional development in social work
The series of Maudsley Workshops over the last twelve years have helped the MSc Mental Health Social Work with Children & Adults programme team to reflect on issues beyond the day to day running of the course.
In previous workshops, amongst a variety of topics, we have discussed advanced practice and formed the Advanced Social Work Practice Network, now an international online community on LinkedIn of over 950 members. We have discussed the assessment of advanced practice with Moira Gibb, Chair of the Social Work Reform Board. Additionally, we have explored the meaningful involvement of service users and carers in social work education and the learning and teaching of research methods to experienced social workers.
Each year we engage a wide group of colleagues in these workshops to stimulate our thinking about important topics. This year was no exception.
This afternoon we held the 12th Maudsley Workshop on the topic of the use of social media in the continuing professional development of social workers. We used twitter to engage a wider group of people in our discussions through the hashtag #12thMW (please see below).
The workshop started with a presentation from Shirley Ayres who posed the question ‘should social work be more social?’ She quickly answered her question with a resounding ‘yes’ before providing a reasoned argument for social work to engage more efffectively with social media.
Victoria Hart provided a practitioner’s perspective and talked about some of the online fora and media which assists her continuing professional development. She discussed how she came across a research paper using social media which she used to influence the practice and policy of the agency she works for – a concrete example of its potential usefulness.
I chose to wait until Shirley and Victoria had spoken so that I could keep my presentation brief – they made all the important points so I didn’t have to! However, I added a personal perspective about how, as a social work academic, I use social media to enrich my teaching and engage practitioners in my research.
Peter Buzzi, standing in for Claudia Megele, argued that use of social media is effectively a lifestyle choice about engaging with people. He challenged us to think about the different ways in which people learn and how social media can assist this.
The discussion from the workshop will be fed back to The College of Social Work to help develop their thinking about the use of social media in social work. The College appears to have a positive perspective about the potential of social media to assist continuing professional development, which provides a fertile environment for growth and exploration of the issues involved. I will post our feedback from today on this blog when it is available. In the meantime, please see below for the twitter discussion before, during and after the workshop.