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Journal of Technology in Human Services
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subscription information:
The Use of Technologies in Human
Service Education and Training
Melanie Sage
& Andrew Quinn
University of North Dakota
Published online: 21 May 2014.
To cite this article: Melanie Sage & Andrew Quinn (2014) The Use of Technologies in Human
Service Education and Training, Journal of Technology in Human Services, 32:1-2, 1-3, DOI:
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The Use of Technologies in Human Service
Education and Training
Rapid advancements in technology leave us with little opportunity to take
pause and examine application of technology best practices in the human
service field, which pose a challenge for researchers and academics. This
special issue of the Journal of Technology in Human Services, with a focus
on the application of technology in human service education and training,
came about as an effort to share creative multidisciplinary applications of
technology in classroom and training environments. In addition, we hope
to increase the empirical knowledge base around ethical practices surround-
ing emergent technology in human services training.
The articles in this special issue explore the current level of support for
applying widely-used technologies such as Personal Response Systems
(clickers) and audio=video recording of role plays, and invites readers to
consider newer innovations in training that are made possible through inter-
active platforms available online in training and practice such as iPads that
connect students to the Internet. Although technology offers novel ways to
access material, we chose the articles that appear in this special edition with
consideration to how technology can support sound skill development in
education and practice situations. Articles in this issue also allow the readers
to consider the ethical benefits and limitations when technology is used in
the education and training environments.
In human services, the education environment is often one of the first to
adapt to emerging technologies. This is especially true in environments
where blended hybrid or online learning is utilized, as professors are disco-
vering many ways that technology helps students meet learning goals. In
‘‘Using Technology in Peer Role-Play Assignments to Enhance Competency
in Clinical Dyadic Treatment: A Pilot Study,’’ Peterson offers an elaborate
review of the technology involved in the use of recorded role-plays in
improving interview skills of students, and illuminates the resource-intensive
Journal of Technology in Human Services, 32:1–3, 2014
Copyright # Taylor & Francis Group, LLC
ISSN: 1522-8835 print=1522-8991 online
DOI: 10.1080/15228835.2014.885404
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nature of incorporating technology in the time-honored technique, as well as
the value students place on recorded review of their own practice. Tetloff,
Hitchcock, Battista, and Lowry, in the article ‘‘Multimodal Composition and
Social Justice: Videos as a Tool of Advocacy in Social Work Pedagogy,’’ place
the technology into the hands of the students to describe a class assignment
in which students complete social justice advocacy projects via social media
platforms. Young continues the thematic focus of technology in macro
practice by offering a case study of his experiment with iPads in a Social
Work Policy course as part of a university-wide iPad adoption project.
Smith-Osborne also reports on the use of a technology platform meant to
increase engagement in the classroom in an examination of the impact of
clicker use with students who are disabled or speak English as a second
language. These articles cover a range of current practices in technology-
facilitated university classroom learning.
Software and Web-based technologies allow for creative contributions
to the online or in-person classroom, and the Internet opens a whole world
of resources which can often be accessed for little or no cost. ‘‘Integrating
Web 2.0 Technologies in Educational and Clinical Settings: An Isomorphic
Perspective’’ (Holmes, Hermann, & Kozlowski) offers an overview of
Web-based tools that can support human service training activities. The
strengths and weaknesses of several Web-based Geographic Information
Systems (GIS) are explored in Felke’s article on GIS, which discusses how
GIS can be used to understand social problems in a classroom-based training
environment. Interviewing skills are taken to a new dimension in Lee’s
demonstration of the use of avatar-based role-play to increase cultural com-
petence, and Sage offers ways in which Web 2.0 applications are utilized in a
novel way to support fidelity in a practice-based intervention case study.
Questions remain about how emerging practitioners manage their
access to the ubiquitous presence of technology in their lives, as well as
employer expectations for its use in practice settings. Two articles address
some of these issues: Kirwan and Mc Guckin explore the ethical dilemmas
connected to social media use faced by teachers and social workers who
identify as ‘‘digital natives’’ in Ireland, while offering a good reminder that
practitioners around the world face similar issues around adaptation to
technology. Quinn and Fitch explore employer expectations for emerging
practitioners in the article ‘‘A Conceptual Framework for Contextualizing
Information Technology Competencies.’’ Both articles demonstrate that,
despite assumptions about what educators believe students should know,
expectations in the practice setting can be confounding. New practitioners
have questions about the appropriate use of technology in practice settings
when working with clients, and social work employers may not utilize the
technological skills that students develop in their programs around data man-
agement and use. These issues demonstrate the need for continued training
in the human service environments.
2 Editorial
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Many questions remain about how to best incorporate technology in
human services education, and we encourage practitioners and academics
to consider ways to assess the goodness of fit of their technological choices.
It is tempting to become distracted by the latest inventions, but useful to first
consider the pedagogical theory related to tool selection. New educational
tools emerge and vanish briskly, and sometimes the Scholarship of Teaching
and Learning is hampered by the quick pace of change. Although scholars
can make their findings available to the public through academic publishing,
there are many other creative options for sharing practice and research notes
online, including peer-based academic social networking groups, which may
be a source for inspiration and support.
Educators have many options for incorporating technology, and
increased knowledge about what works helps us make more informed
choices in the classroom. Technology should not be adopted for the sake
of novelty, but instead with purpose to meet specific learning objectives. If
you are reading this special issue, you are likely an innovator in technology
adoption and have a key role in supporting colleagues in selecting and
choosing among logical technology practices. We hope this special issue
offers some new ways to think about using technology in human service
training even as it explores the pitfalls of technological innovation, offers
an opportunity for discussion among peers, and prompts you to assess your
current and future technology use in the classroom.
Melanie Sage and Andrew Quinn
University of North Dakota
Editorial 3
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