The sixth annual Practice Educator Conference for social workers across the region has been held at University of Suffolk.
Historically the conference has been a partnership between University of Suffolk, Essex County Council and Suffolk County Council. This year, as part of the new Teaching Partnership, Norfolk County Council and the University of East Anglia were also involved.
The Conference, entitled ‘Social Media in Social Work’, discusses emerging practice issues that are pertinent within social work education and is one of only a few held nationally that provides a forum for practice educators to share their experiences and further their knowledge and skills.
Amanda Taylor from the University of Central Lancashire provided the keynote address. Amanda is a technology engaged social work academic with a keen interest in embedding new technologies into teaching and learning practices with the aim of influencing the development and use of technologies in the social work practice space. She was voted one of the top 50 in 2016 by the Higher education community in recognition of her innovative approach to teaching and learning.
Amanda has been commissioned to deliver digital literacy training to many local authorities to assist them to map their digital journey for practice effectiveness in line with the digital shift. She is currently advising Social Work England, the new regulator for social work in England, regarding building a digitally ready workforce based on her research which examines the contribution of social work education to the digital development of students in relation to preparing them to be ready for social work practice.
Amanda said of the conference, “I was delighted to be invited, particularly given the subject matter ‘Social Work and Social Media’. I began by sharing my contributions through the development of an online discussion space, made available to all delegates. I made a number of connections with Practice Educator and Academic colleagues well in advance of the actual event. There was certainly a warm, welcoming atmosphere and an openness to learn together. There was a real thirst for information, throughout the day, a reflection of the progressive thinkers in the room.”
“The comments, questions and connections continued via Twitter and the conference hashtag #uospeconf18 after the event had finished. This, for me, yet again evidenced how new social technologies and spaces can support ‘communities of learning, for practice’.”
Lecturer in Social Work at the University of Suffolk, Heidi Dix, said, “We are grateful to Amanda Taylor for her innovative sessions and to other contributors this year for their informative and engaging workshops such as Suffolk Constabulary, The Potato group and the Health and Care Professions Council.”
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