With help from this community, I created a set of slides for a social work class on technologies in social work and evaluation. (link below)

I gave some suggestions on how we can develop tech responsibly in social services:

  1. Embed deliberation within the design and innovation process. Frameworks like the “Responsible Design Process” are useful because they require us to have ongoing reflections on the impact of the technology. Such deliberations should be done early on and throughout the design, development, and implementation phases since value-laden tradeoffs are often made even during the earliest stages of design.

  2. Deliberate on what? Psychological wellbeing evaluation and ethical impact evaluation. Both frameworks emphasize the need to assess how the tools have affected psychological wellbeing and ethical impact. The “Spheres of Technology Experience” framework is interesting because it identifies the impacts at different granularities within the technology experience. e.g., while an online game might help a youth to feel enhanced self-worth or efficacy, addictive engagements with the game might affect other spheres such as the youths’ relationships with families and schools.

  3. “This is my list of requirements. Build it for me”: Working with technology and development teams The traditional vendor-client/developer-client approach is not effective. Instead, the “Design box” approach where users, social workers, designers, experts work together is more appropriate.

  4. Professional ethics such as the Code of Professional Ethics of Social Work would need to consider standards for technological use rather than broad values that are difficult to implement in specific practices or contexts. For social work, the issue of technology needs to extend beyond the “relationship with client” domain to include other domains in which technology is already infused in our daily work. For instance, when we work with other professionals, or use of technology in the organizational context.

Reach out to me if you have ideas to add on! I certainly would appreciate enhancing this class for future social work students.

Slides (there are activities such as a fictional predictive risk tool to predict child abuse and an imperfect AI-in-the-Loop Counseling Assistant that you can go try)

#technology #socialwork #socialworkers #socialservices