The Social Work Digital Storytelling project was a research study undertaken to (1) enhance digital literacy of practitioners and students through digital storytelling training, (2) diversify engagement in a local public library technology hub (the “makerspace”), and (3) understand and enhance social work leadership knowledge among students and practitioners through the creation and sharing of leadership-focused digital stories.
Free hands-on digital storytelling workshops where social workers/students created stories about leadership exposed social workers to technologies accessible in the community and provided hands-on experience using hardware (e.g., IMac computers, digital cameras, portable data recorders, and a recording booth) and software (e.g., Adobe Photoshop, I-Movie, and GarageBand) as well as online social media platforms (e.g., Flickr, YouTube, and Facebook).
Before and after the workshops, participants completed a brief online qualitative self-evaluation survey through which they reflected on their skills, values, and beliefs about digital technology in practice. Participants gained knowledge of perspectives of online ethical tenants and exposure to Creative Commons Copyright and the NASW Technology Standards of Practice.
Prior to participation, the social workers reported fear and hesitancy using technology. After workshop completion, workers experienced a greater sense of confidence using digital technology as well as identifying organizational and systemic issues, which hindered field-based technological engagement.