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Assessing New Media Literacies in Social Work Education: The Development and Validation of a Comprehensive Assessment Instrument

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The focus of this article is to replicate the validity and reliability of a newly developed assessment tool for self-reported media literacy levels by assessing the new media literacy levels of social work students and educators. The study is grounded in the New Media Literacies (NML) framework and the concept of participatory culture. Findings indicate a significant difference between the levels of new media literacy of students and educators. Students were also found to be more engaged with new media. The study demonstrates the need to incorporate new media literacies into the social work curriculum to increase the digital competencies of both educators and students. Implications for social work education and future research are suggested.
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Assessing New Media Literacies in Social
Work Education: The Development
and Validation of a Comprehensive
Assessment Instrument
Jimmy A. Young
a
a
University of Nebraska–Kearney, Kearney, Nebraska
Published online: 17 Feb 2015.
To cite this article: Jimmy A. Young (2015) Assessing New Media Literacies in Social Work Education:
The Development and Validation of a Comprehensive Assessment Instrument, Journal of Technology in
Human Services, 33:1, 72-86, DOI: 10.1080/15228835.2014.998577
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Assessing New Media Literacies in Social Work
Education: The Development and Validation
of a Comprehensive Assessment Instrument
JIMMY A. YOUNG
University of Nebraska–Kearney, Kearney, Nebraska
The focus of this article is to replicate the validity and reliability of
a newly developed assessment tool for self-reported media literacy
levels by assessing the new media literacy levels of social work
students and educators. The study is grounded in the New Media
Literacies (NML) framework and the concept of participatory
culture. Findings indicate a significant difference between the
levels of new media literacy of students and educators. Students
were also found to be more engaged with new media. The study
demonstrates the need to incorporate new media literacies into
the social work curriculum to increase the digital competencies
of both educators and students. Implications for social work
education and future research are suggested.
KEYWORDS assessment, education, social media, technology
literacy
In 2005, the National Association of Social Workers (NASW) and the Associ-
ation of Social Work Boards (ASWB) identified Standards for Technology
and Social Work Practice. The standards guide the ethical and competent
delivery of social work services through electronically mediated activity. This
activity is generally operationalized through the use of information and
communication technologies or ICTs, which are defined as ‘‘technologies
used to convey, manipulate and store data by electronic means’’ (Perron,
Taylor, Glass, & Margerum-Leys, 2010, p. 67). The past decade has seen an
increase in the literature on the use of ICTs in social work education and
practice (Beaulaurier & Radisch, 2005; Coe & Elliot, 1999; Holmes, Hermann,
Received August 12, 2014; accepted November 7, 2014.
Address correspondence to Jimmy A. Young, Department of Social Work, University of
Nebraska-Kearney, 2022 Founders Hall, Kearney, NE 68849-1270. E-mail: youngja2@unk.edu
Journal of Technology in Human Services , 33:72–86, 2015
Copyright # Taylor & Francis Group, LLC
ISSN: 1522-8835 print=1522-8991 online
DOI: 10.1080/15228835.2014.998577
72
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& Kozlowski, 2014; McNutt, 2008; McNutt & Menon, 2008; Quinn & Fitch,
2014; Thyer, Artlet, Markward, & Dozier, 1998; Vernon, Vakalahi, Pierce,
Pittman-Munke, & Adkins, 2009; Wolfson, Marsom, & Magnuson, 2005). How-
ever, some have argued that ICTs are not being addressed in the social work
classroom in a manner that can prepare students for professional practice
(Ayala, 2009; Parrot & Madoc-Jones, 2008; Perron et al., 2010; Quinn & Fitch,
2014; York, 2008). Perron et al. (2010) assert, ‘‘competencies with ICT and ICT
literacy should be required learning outcomes in social work education and
continuing education’’ (p. 69). Literacy with information communication tech-
nology is defined as knowing the major concepts and language associated
with ICTs, whereas competency is defined as having the skills and knowledge
to understand and use ICTs for a specific purpose (Perron et al., 2010).
The challenge with increasing knowledge and skills related to infor-
mation communication technologies begins with understanding how to
assess one’s level of competency with digital technologies or one’s level of
media literacy. Media literacy has been referred to as ‘‘the ability to access,
analyze, evaluate, and communicate messages in a wide variety of forms’’
(Hobbs, 1998, p. 16). Media literacy is generally concerned with learning
and teaching skills to critically analyze and create messages in a variety of
print or digital forms (Hobbs, 1998). For the purpose of this study, ICTs are
referred to as New Media and New media defined represents what ICTs are
but extends the definition to include more of the interactive nature of today’s
technological environment such as social media and other digital technolo-
gies (Potter, 2013). ‘‘This new media environment is characterized by the four
inter-related features of technological convergence, interactivity, information
saturation, and a shift in marketing’’ (Potter, 2013, p. 233). A key component
of this environment is the expansion of participatory cultures that are coalesc-
ing around diverse interests, whether they are political, religious, economic,
or purely personal (Potter, 2013). The new media environment has changed
the way individuals interact with one another and is having a dramatic impact
on education (Hedberg, 2011; Jenkins, Clinton, Purushotma, Robison, &
Weigel, 2009; Losh & Jenkins, 2012; Rheingold, 2012, 2013). New media has
altered the meaning of literacy to require new habits of mind, new ways of
processing culture and interacting with the world (Jenkins et al., 2009). Utiliz-
ing the definition of new media allows a reconceptualization of media literacy
or new media literacies for the 21st century.
The purpose of this study is to replicate the validity and reliability of a
newly developed assessment tool for self-reported media literacy levels
(Literat, 2014), and to assess the new media literacy levels of social work
students and educators. The study is grounded in the New Media Literacies
(NML) framework and the concept of participatory culture as identified by
Jenkins et al. (2009). The NML framework and participatory culture resonates
with the ecological perspective of the social work profession because it
envisions people as active participants in the environment, or the new digital
New Media Literacies 73
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environment. ‘‘The emphasis is not just on how people respond to media
messages, but also on how they engage proactively in a media world where
production, participation, social group formation, and high levels of nonpro-
fessional expertise are prevalent’’ (Gee, 2010, p. 36). The concept of partici-
patory culture and the NML framework are further described as follows.
PARTICIPATORY CULTURE AND NMLs
The new media landscape has amplified the effects of what Henry Jenkins
describes as Participatory Culture. ‘‘Participatory culture is a culture with rela-
tively low barriers to artistic expression and civic engagement, strong support
for creating and sharing creations, and some type of informal mentorship
whereby experienced participants pass along knowledge to novices’’ (Jenkins
et al., 2009, p. 3). Participatory culture includes the opportunity for freedom of
expression by remixing digital content to share messages in online communi-
ties such as Facebook or YouTube. Participatory culture provides the opport-
unity to work in teams and use collaborative problem solving to develop new
knowledge such as through Wikipedia; and participatory culture shapes the
flow of media content through blogging, videos, and podcasts (Jenkins
et al., 2009). To be clear, participatory culture is not simply Web 2.0 or social
media. Jenkins would argue that participatory culture existed before the Inter-
net but that social media tools have expanded the opportunities of participa-
tory culture (TEDxTalks, 2010).
The participatory aspects of social media build on the foundation of
traditional research skills, technical skills, and critical analysis taught in the
classroom by identifying a framework for NMLs (Jenkins et al., 2009). The
NML framework includes:
Play: the capacity to experiment with one’s surroundings as a form of
problem solving. Performance: the ability to adopt alternative identities
for the purpose of improvisation and discovery. Simulation: the ability
to interpret and construct dynamic models of real-world processes.
Appropriation: the ability to meaningfully sample and remix media
content. Multitasking: the ability to scan one’s environment and shift
focus as needed to salient details. Distributed Cognition: the ability
to interact meaningfully with tools that expand mental capacities. Collec-
tive Intelligence: the ability to pool knowledge and compare notes with
others toward a common goal. Judgment: the ability to evaluate the
reliability and credibility of different information sources. Transmedia
Navigation: the ability to follow the flow of stories and information
across multiple modalities. Networking: the ability to search for, synthe-
size, and disseminate information. Negotiation: the ability to travel
across diverse communities, discerning and respecting multiple perspec-
tives, and grasping and following alternative norms. Visualization: the
ability to translate information into visual models and understand the
74 J. A. Young
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information visual models are communicating as a key method for
coping with large data sets and being able to make sense of the
complexity of our environment. (Jenkins et al., 2009,p.4)
It is important to note that the NMLs are not meant to supplant traditional lit-
eracy skills. Students need to have the traditional literacy skills to be able to
expand their knowledge of how to search for information, critically evaluate
the credibility of information, synthesize and make sense of information to
help construct arguments, make appropriate decisions, and=or move towards
action. The difference with NMLs is that they should also be seen as social
skills or methods of interaction within larger communities, and not simply
an individualized skill set to be used for personal reasons (Jenkins et al.,
2009). This is important when thinking about how students are becoming
more culturally aware or culturally competent practitioners. Consumers today
present with challenges associated to their digital lives such as challenges with
cyber-bullying and Internet safety or the influence of social media on beha-
viors (Gustavsson & MacEachron, 2013; Vaterlaus, Patten, Roche, & Young,
2015). Students need to be ready to understand those challenges as well as
being able to use creative and innovative techniques that harness the power
of new media. In doing so they can model appropriate use of technology,
educate consumers, and engage them in more meaningful ways such as with
the use of virtual ecomaps (Gustavsson & MacEachron, 2013). Recognizing
and infusing NMLs into the social work curriculum can help prepare students
to respond to these new developments, use critical thinking skills, creativity,
and engage in research-informed practice and practice informed research.
Students are already using many of the NMLs identified previously, but with-
out fully recognizing it. Highlighting NMLs as both technical and social skills
may help to increase technological or digital competencies among students as
well as increasing understanding of participatory culture and its effects on the
digital environment as well as that of the consumer.
LITERATURE REVIEW
The use of new media, including social media and digital technologies such
as mobile devices, has flourished across higher education. Social work edu-
cators are using Twitter and other social media to engage students through
innovative assignments (Hitchcock & Battista, 2013; Young, 2014). Others
have used social media in conjunction with Learning Management Systems
to improve social work education in remote areas (Kilpela
¨
inen, Pa
¨
ykko
¨
nen,
& Sankala, 2011). Additionally, universities and various classes are adopting
smart classrooms and incorporating the use of devices such as iPads to aug-
ment student learning (Baldridge, McAdams, Reed, & Moran, 2013; Young,
2014). For a historical review of instructional technology in social work
education, see Shorkey and Uebel (2014).
New Media Literacies 75
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A defining point in the literature revolves around the notion of develop-
ing the skills and knowledge to use information communication technologies,
or new media, in education to help students learn and be prepared for the
changing nature of social work practice (Hitchcock & Battista, 2013; McNutt,
2008; McNutt & Menon, 2008; Moore, 2005; Mukherjee & Clark, 2012; Parrot &
Madoc-Jones, 2008; Perron et al., 2010; Quinn & Fitch, 2014). It is important to
understand how and where to use new media to promote learning and sound
pedagogy rather than try to replace proper teaching methods with new tech-
nological tools (Parrot & Madoc-Jones, 2008; Perron et al., 2010; Young,
2014). Despite this point, little evidence exists that assesses the skills and
knowledge of social work students and educators with new media such as
Facebook, Twitter, mobile devices, and digital technologies.
Several authors have written about millennial students and their abilities
with technology often assuming that because they are young or because they
consume digital content that they know or understand new media better than
their older counterparts (Hedberg, 2011; Prensky, 2001a, 2001b). This
assumption is disingenuous and may even be detrimental to the learning
process (Koutropoulos, 2011). Just as we would not traditionally assume that
someone is literate if they can read but not write, we should not assume that
someone possesses media literacy if they can consume but cannot express
themselves (Jenkins, 2006, p. 170). This also holds true for using new media
in the educational process as students have indicated satisfaction for using
new media such as iPads or Twitter, but struggle when applying it to their
learning (Helsper & Eynon, 2010; Ransdell, Kent, Gaillard-Kenney, & Long,
2011; Young, 2014).
METHODOLOGY
The main objective of this study is to replicate the validity and reliability of a
newly developed instrument for self-reported media literacy levels (Literat,
2014). The research questions consist of whether the subscales of the survey
instrument map well onto the NML framework (Jenkins et al., 2009), and to
assess the level of digital participation of social work students and educators
as determined by their level of media literacy. Specifically, the hypothesis for
the study is that higher levels of NML will predict a higher degree of engage-
ment with new media.
Survey Design
This study utilized a cross-sectional survey design that was approved by the
Institutional Review Board. Cross-sectional studies have improved internal
validity with the advances of multivariate statistics and are beneficial for stu-
dies seeking larger samples (Rubin & Babbie, 2005). The survey instrument
76 J. A. Young
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was graciously provided by Ioana Literat (2014) and adapted for this study.
Changes were made to distinguish social work students from social work edu-
cators, but the sections on media use habits and NMLs were not changed in
order to add reliability and validity to the psychometric properties of the
instrument. Demographic questions sought information related to gender,
age, social work student or educator, level of education or faculty position,
and ethnicity. The next section asked for information regarding digital partici-
pation such as access to the Internet, number of hours spent on the Internet or
consuming media messages, playing games, number of hours engaged on
social media sites, in addition to number of hours engaged reading books
or newspapers that are not online. The third section is the most important
and aims to assess participants’ NML skills by presenting them with a rando-
mized series of 60 statements about their personality, social, and cultural
modes of engagement, online and offline peer interaction, learning styles,
and media consumption and creation patterns (Literat, 2014, p. 17). The state-
ments were conceptually built from the NML framework identified by Jenkins
et al. (2009). It is important to note that the statements include both tech-
nology related and nontechnology related behaviors in accordance with the
view that NML skills are social and cultural competencies (Jenkins et al.,
2009; Literat, 2014). The questions were assessed on the same 5-point Likert
scale (1 [Strongly Disagree], 5 [Strongly Agree]) used in Literat’s (2014) study.
Sample
The sampling frame for this study included social work educators and
students who participate in the use of social media as well as those who
do not. Participants were recruited nationally using social media websites
and e-mail list serves. The sample size for this study consisted of social work
students (N ¼ 161) and social work educators (N ¼ 150) for a total size of
N ¼ 311. The gender distribution of the sample contained 72 males, 238
females, and 1 individual who chose not to identify. In regards to ethnicity,
78.8% of the participants were White, 8% were African American, 3.9% were
Hispanic, and 3.5% were Asian. The average age of participants was 35.9
(SD ¼ 15.8). A distribution of participants’ education and faculty status by
student and educator is provided in Table 1 .
Data Collection
The study followed the same design as Literat (2014)bymakingthesurvey
instrument available as a fun personality quiz where participants received a
personalized medi a literacy score at the end of the survey based on their
responses, which helpe d to increase pa rticipation. Qualtrics web-based
survey software was used to create the ques tionnaire and a link was shared
via social media such as Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Blogs as well as
New Media Literacies 77
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the Association for Baccal aureate Program Directors (BPD) and Masters in
Social Work (MSW-L) e-mail Listservs. A true response rate could not be calcu-
lated because of the data collection method and the uncertainty regarding the
number of views the survey link received via social media. However, Qualtrics
does provide a survey completion rate, which was 67.5%.Intotal,175parti-
cipants respond ed to the survey vi a e-mail and 136 responded via social media.
Data Analysis
The data were exported into SPSS version 22 for prescreening and analysis.
Prescreening data involves examining the data set for errors, missing data,
outliers, linearity, and ensuring that the data fit the assumptions of the statisti-
cal procedures (Tabachnick & Fidell, 2007). Prescreening the data helps to
increase the validity of the study and an assessment of the data and linearity
suggest there are no major concerns. Descriptive statistics were used to help
illustrate the sample and multivariate statistics were used to address the
research questions. Specifically, Factor Analysis was employed to determine
whether the subscales of the survey instrument map well onto Jenkins’ 12
NMLs, and the multivariate analysis was completed just as was done in the
original study (Literat, 2014).
Results
The primary research question of this study follows that of Literat (2014)to
determine whether this instrument measures NML by breaking down the com-
ponents that were similar to the NML’s skills identified by Jenkins et al. (2009).
Collectively, the scale maintains high reliability through testing of internal
consistency with Cronbach’s alpha of .917, where the literature suggests an
alpha of .70 or higher (Carmines & Zeller, 1979; Tabachnick, & Fidell, 2007;
Vogt, 1999). A principal components factor analysis with Varimax rotation
TABLE 1 Distribution of Education and Faculty Status
Students Educators
Education
Current BSW Student 107 (34.4%)
Current MSW Student 41 (13.2%)
Current PhD=DSW 10 (3.2%)
Other 3 (1.0%)
Faculty status
Lecturer 36 (11.6%)
Field Director 6 (1.9%)
Assistant Professor 45 (14.5%)
Associate Professor 33 (10.6%)
Professor 30 (9.6%)
Total N responding ¼ 311 161 (51.8%) 150 (48.2%)
78 J. A. Young
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was performed using SPSS. The value of Kaiser-Meyer-Olkin measure of the
sampling adequacy of the correlation matrix for factor analysis was 0.850,
which is strong.
Criteria for retaining factors included (a) an Eigen value greater than
one, (b) total variance explained, and (c) a factor threshold of 0.50. The fac-
tor analysis yielded 16 factors with Eigen values above 1.00, which explained
61.5% of the variance. The subscales that loaded together in the model and
mapped onto the NML’s skills were: negotiation, networking, multitasking,
judgment, appropriation, performance, simulation, transmedia navigation,
and collective intelligence. The reliability of these subscales was found to
be satisfactory (Cronbach’s a ¼ .866).
Literat (2014) discovered 10 out of the 12 NML’s skills, and the current
study discovered nine of the 12 NML’s skills that were identified as compe-
tencies of media literacy. Although this is less than the original study it is still
encouraging because all 60 items in the scale were randomized so that each
of the questions that made up the 12 subscales never appeared together. The
NML’s skills that did not distinctly emerge from the factor analysis were
distributed cognition, visualization, and play. Rather than the questions for
these subscales loading together on distinct factor components, the items
were spread out over different subscales.
Media Use and NMLs
The hypothesis for this study is that higher levels of NMLs will predict a higher
degree of engagement with new media. Nine new variables were created as
composite subscales from the identified components in the factor analysis
by calculating the aggregate mean of their constituent items. Multivariate
analysis of variance was used to test the hypothesis and determine the varia-
tions in NML’s skills among students and educators. Social Work students and
educators were used as the dependent variables and the nine NML’s skills
were used as independent variables.
The multivariate difference in degree of engagement with media was not
significant using Wilks’ Lambda F(3, 235) ¼ 4.83, p ¼ 0.058. The univariate
differences between students and educators were significant only in the area
TABLE 2 Difference Between Students & Educators Number of Hours Engaged with Media
Media type Status Mean Std. deviation N
a
Hours spent on the Internet in a week Student 28.10 20.45 134
Educator 29.06 15.71 105
Hours spent playing games online in a week
b
Student 7.46 10.33 134
Educator 3.89 4.77 105
Hours spent reading books or Student 11.05 10.33 134
newspapers (not online) Educator 12.32 10.45 105
a
Total N Responding ¼ 239.
b
Relationship is significant at the 0.05 level.
New Media Literacies 79
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of number of hours spent playing games online (F(1, 237) ¼ 10.78, p ¼ 0.001),
where students indicated they spent more hours engaged with this type of
media. Table 2 provides the mean for students and educators in the three
areas that measure engagement with the media.
The multivariate difference in media literacy levels was in fact significant
(F(9, 301) ¼ 10.03, p < 0.05) across all levels of NML skills. Students scored
higher than educators in seven of the nine areas as shown in Table 3. Univari-
ate differences between students and educators were prominent in the areas
of networking (F(1, 309) ¼ 3.22, p < 0.05), simulation (F(1, 309) ¼ 4.00,
p < 0.05), transmedia navigation (F(1, 309) ¼ 1.91, p < 0.05), and multitasking
(F(1, 309) ¼ 1.45, p < 0.05).
DISCUSSION
The objective of this study was to replicate the validity and reliability of a
newly developed survey instrument that measures NMLs (Literate, 2014), in
accordance with the NML’s framework developed by Jenkins et al. (2009).
The results of the factor analysis indicate that most of the subscales map well
onto the framework with 9 of the 12 NMLs being identified and maintaining
adequate reliability. A promising finding for this instrument is that between
the two studies seven similar subscales emerged from the factor analysis from
different samples. The constructs of negotiation, networking, judgment,
TABLE 3 Difference Between Students and Educators New Media Literacy Levels
New media literacy Status Mean Std. deviation
Negotiation Student 3.83 .577
Educator 3.82 .664
Networking
a
Student 3.66 .602
Educator 3.51 .867
Multitasking
a
Student 3.69 .623
Educator 3.59 .737
Judgment Student 4.06 .463
Educator 4.31 .443
Appropriation Student 3.19 .636
Educator 2.88 .716
Performance Student 2.96 .598
Educator 2.92 .558
Simulation
a
Student 3.60 .496
Educator 3.47 .637
Transmedia Navigation
a
Student 3.69 .552
Educator 3.60 .650
Collective Intelligence Student 3.86 .439
Educator 4.06 .487
Total Responding Student (N ¼ 161)
Educator (N ¼ 150)
a
Relationship is significant at 0.05 level.
80 J. A. Young
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multitasking, appropriation, performance, and transmedia navigation
emerged from both studies. Examining the NML’s skills that emerged for
social work students and educators may explain the difference in the sub-
scales that emerged for the current study versus those discovered by Literat
(2014). Future research should focus on the questions related to the remain-
ing items to increase the probability of those items loading together on a
component in a factor analysis model. For instance, one participant stated
that the questions in the instrument seemed to relate too much to pop culture
or younger people. A qualitative research design may be needed to develop
better questions for the instrument and the related NML’s skills they seek to
measure. This may help to increase the construct validity of the instrument.
The hypothesis that there would be a difference between the NML’s skills
was supported as students scored higher in more areas than social work
educators. This supports the view that increased engagement with new media
requires competencies for full participation in the digital environment (Jenkins
et al., 2009). Examining the number of hours engaged with media may also
explain why students scored higher than educators in NMLs as students spend
more time playing games online or on their phones. Despite the argument for
distraction with this type of media, the NML’s theoretical framework and con-
cept of participatory culture illustrates how students are learning differently in
a digital environment. They are using the skills of multitasking, judgment, play,
appropriation, and performance to achieve some desired outcome and the
reality is that there are tangible skills being learned in gaming and digital envir-
onments (Adachi & Willoughby, 2012; Dougherty & Andercheck, 2014;Gee,
2010; Granic, Lobel, & Engels, 2014;Jarvis,2011; Jenkins et al., 2009). These
skills are transferrable to practice in many diverse areas, such as in the use
of social media in community organizing and digital activism, the voluntary
sector, and clinical practice (Brady, Young, & McLeod, in press;Guo&Saxton,
2014; Mishna, Bogo, Root, & Fantus, 2014; Saxton & Wang, 2014;Young,2014).
Implications
This study represents one of the first attempts to measure NMLs of social work
students and educators. The data gathered will be instrumental to further refine
the assessment instrument to measure the NMLs identified in the Jenkins et al.
(2009) framework. This study compliments the view of the ecological perspec-
tive within the social work profession where individuals are seen as part of an
overall environment, an environment that impacts their day-to-day life. Includ-
ing this expanded view of the digital environment in the ecological perspective
is critical for social work practice as consumers are now immersed in tech-
nology (Mishna et al., 2014). Assessing the level of NMLs in education can help
to further increase these skills and incorporate innovative methods for address-
ing digital competencies in social work education. A particularly strong finding
is the fact that the study supported a connection between engagement with
New Media Literacies 81
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digital media and NMLs, where higher NMLs were predicted based on the
amount of time engaged with digital media. Clearly more research is needed
to confirm this finding by implementing a strong and rigorous research design.
Perhaps utilizing a pretest and posttest design to assess the level of NMLs over
time would be able to support this finding.
The literature argues for increased competency in regards to digital tech-
nology and ICTs. What is missing in the discussion is the point of participatory
culture and how individuals are learning tangible skills by engaging with digi-
tal media to increase their own NMLs. Although the findings in this study sup-
port this idea, it needs to be reiterated that media literacy does not increase
simply through consumption of new media by engaging with Facebook or
watching YouTube videos. Rather, NML aids in understanding how to con-
duct oneself in the online environment and how to use newly developed
skills. Thoughtful consideration of how NMLs are both social and technical
skills can help practitioners understand the impact of the digital environment
on their consumers. This knowledge may be useful in social work education
as the use of technology, specifically social media, continues to increase in
social work practice (Holmes et al., 2014; Mishna et al., 2014). Furthermore,
these digital interactions often impact real-life events whether it is in edu-
cation through the use of social media and iPads (Hitchcock & Battista,
2013; Young, 2014) or in the helping process such as cyber communication
or online therapy (Gustavsson & MacEachron, 2013; Mishna et al., 2014).
Limitations to this study include the content of the survey, length, and the
recruitment strategy, which utilized social media and e-mail. This strategy
implies an inherent bias towards individuals that may already have a higher
level of new media literacy. The survey consisted of 80 questions that required
about 20 min to complete. This amount of time is manageable but as noted in
the discussion section, item questions need to be reevaluated to ensure they
load on the appropriate factor. Furthermore, reducing the number of compo-
nent items or questions would make completing the survey much more prac-
ticable and mitigate the number of incomplete responses. The content of the
questions in the survey were designed primarily for assessment in educational
contexts with younger participants (Literat, 2014). As one participant noted
via social media to this author, the survey seemed to be geared towards a
younger audience. Literat (2014) had a similar comment and thus I would
follow her recommendation that distinct versions of the survey may need to
be developed based on the characteristics of the target population.
CONCLUSION
Social work education can further build upon NML’s skills to impact the pro-
fession and prepare students for the challenges they face in an increasingly
technological society. This study represents one of the first attempts to study
82 J. A. Young
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NMLs among social work students and educators as the area of NMLs
continues to emerge. The NASW=ASWB (2005) Standards for Technology
and Social Work Practice provide a great starting point for understanding
how to use technology ethically and appropriately. In addition, the most
recent draft of the 2015 Council on Social Work Education Educational Policy
and Accreditation Standards (EPAS) includes a statement on using tech-
nology ‘‘ethically and appropriately to facilitate practice outcomes’’ (p. 3).
However, these standards neglect to address technological competency
(Quinn & Fitch, 2014). The NML framework may offer the ability to further
understand the digital world and increase competencies regarding the use
of technology and its impact on various systemic levels. Assessing the level
of NMLs in social work education can help to develop methods for increasing
the knowledge and skills of social work students to increase digital compe-
tencies as well as the ethical use of technology.
New media, such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and other digital tech-
nologies are changing social work education and practice. Social workers
respond to contexts that shape practice, use critical thinking skills augmented
by creativity and curiosity, and engage in research-informed practice and
practice informed research. These are skills that complement the concept
of participatory culture and NMLs, and this study provides a starting point
to discuss the place of NMLs in social work education. Human relationships,
behavior, and interactions are increasingly mediated through technology and
research continues to emerge regarding this topic area. Future research
should also focus on NMLs and social work practice, which may also help
to inform how to include the topic of NMLs in social work education.
Finally, a common misunderstanding of technology is the focus on what
the tools do and do not allow. The conversation on digital technology and
learning needs to include a focus on the participatory aspects of this new
digital culture and how increasing knowledge around NMLs can address
the challenges we face as social work educators and the challenge of our stu-
dents entering the profession. Expanding our view of new media, digital
technology, and understanding participatory culture will help social work
students to build upon the skills they bring to the classroom. Evaluating
the level of NMLs provides a baseline from which to begin moving forward
as social work educators have the exciting opportunity to empower students
to build upon those skills by incorporating NMLs in a way that will expand
knowledge, create opportunities for collaboration, and prepare students
for ethical and appropriate social work practice in a new and diverse society.
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... (Ministerio Asimismo, se localizan múltiples ejemplos de programas aplicados y evaluados para la formación en competencias informacionales. Se pueden consultar experiencias en el ámbito de las Ciencias de la Salud (Appleton, 2005;Grant y Brettle, 2006;Rangachari y Rangachari, 2007;Santharooban y Premadasa, 2015), Biblioteconomía (Kim y Shumaker, 2015;Resnis et al., 2010), Psicología (Acuña Castillo, Garcia Rodicio, y Sanchez Miguel, 2011;Head y Eisenberg, 2009), las Ciencias Sociales y de la Educación (González et al., 2013;Kulachai Kultawanich y Na-Songkhla, 2015;Pinto Molina, 2010;Young, 2015) o descontextualizados (Saito y Miwa, 2007). ...
... En cuanto a la población a la que se dirigen estos estudios, la mayor parte de ellos, enfocan el desarrollo de las habilidades y destrezas de las competencias informacionales a la etapa universitaria (Acuña Castillo et al., 2011;Appleton, 2005;Beishuizen y Stoutjesdijk, 1999;González et al., 2013;Grant y Brettle, 2006;Head y Eisenberg, 2009;Kim y Shumaker, 2015;Kulachai Kultawanich y Na-Songkhla, 2015;Pinto Molina, 2010;Rangachari y Rangachari, 2007;Resnis et al., 2010;Saito y Miwa, 2007;Santharooban y Premadasa, 2015;Young, 2015), aunque también se localizan algunos intentos en la educación básica, tanto en Educación Primaria (Kuiper et al., 2009;Rosales, Sánchez Miguel, y Pérez, 2004), como en Educación Secundaria (Aguaded, Martín-Gutiérrez, y Díaz-Pajero, 2015; Blasco Olivares y Durban Roca, 2012; Fuentes Agustí y Monereo, 2008;Landry y Basque, 2015;Pifarré, Sanuy, Vendrell, y Gòdia, 2009). ...
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