Social work and digitalisation: bridging the knowledge gaps

Taylor, Amanda M L (2017) Social work and digitalisation: bridging the knowledge gaps. Social Work Education, 36 (8). pp. 869-879. ISSN 0261-5479

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The aim of this paper is to spark a discussion about how social work in England has responded to digitalisation thus far. It pays attention to relationality, the interaction between people and things and includes reference to the practice landscape, the places and spaces within which social work occurs. It calls for social work to revisit the idea of professionalism in the connected age, through outlining circumstances where practitioners have been called to account for online practices that have compromised public trust. These practice failings indicate that knowledge gaps, pertaining to digital literacies and technological competence in social work education and practice, exist. Therefore, the current requirements for learning and development, pre- and post-qualification, are appraised alongside the preliminary findings of a research project designed to examine the contribution of social work education to the digital socialisation of students in readiness for practice. The suggestion is made that social work should pause to consider ‘digital knowledge gaps’ before rushing to drive technology enhanced practice methods forward.

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