Wednesday, March 24, 2010

The future of the e-portfolio?

Sarah Stewart has been writing about her experiences of using an e-portfolio for her Midwifery Standards Review and this has got me thinking about how Social Workers in Australia can use an e-portfolio to collate and organise their professional development activities to demonstrate the requirements for accrediation.    But are Social Workers in Australia ready to hear about e-portfolios?

I think Social Workers (and other health professionals) are happy to use the paper versions of a portfolio or record of training and development activities because they think they don’t have any other real choice. And I wonder if they are really happy with the paper version, or do they sometimes wonder if there must be a better way to do this?

We are all looking for something simple, easy to learn how to use, easy to maintain and easy to send off to our professional association when the time comes for review of our registration or accreditation. I see the enormous potential of the e-portfolio for professionals who need to keep a record of learning and development activities for their annual or bi-annual registration or accreditation review. In particular, I would like to see the Australian Association of Social Workers host e-portfolios - and I am preparing a paper to make this suggestion more formally.

E-portfolios are not something new that has been designed to make our life more difficult. The Australian ePortfolio Project released their stage 2  report in December 2009 and it makes interesting reading.  There is a lot money being invested in Australia to develop e-portfolios.  It’s not something that is going to fade away overnight. E-portfolios are a way to keep track of our activities and reflections – our learning and development and e-portfolios have enormous potential to do even more for us, things we haven’t thought of yet. So I say let’s get involved now, and influence the design so it works for us. And when the new students come along, we can dazzle them with our insight and fresh ideas.

I’m interested in what other people think. How do you keep track of your professional development and learning activities? Do you see a future in e-portfolios? Do you have an e-portfolio?

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

World Social Work Day 2010

World Social Work Day 2010: Making human rights real - the Social Work Agenda. This is the press release from the International Federation of Social Workers (IFSW).

'People are making changes in their lives to improve their quality of life every day across the world - and social workers are there helping them. World Social Work Day is a celebration of these achievements and an opportunity to highlight what work still has to be done for people’s rights to be respected.

Wherever we live in the world, people are being harmed, abused and neglected and their civil, political, economic, cultural and social rights are being violated. Every day, social workers are helping individuals and groups of people in such situations, helping them to live a better life and to find ways to respect competing rights in complex situations.

The implementation of all the international Human Rights Conventions, treaties and agreements used to focus on individual civil and political rights in order to guarantee fair trials, rights to vote, freedom from torture and abuse. More and more they now also consider collective/community rights and emphasise economic, social and cultural rights in order to defend the rights to education, housing, health, employment, adequate income and social security.

This new focus on making human rights a reality in daily life – ‘making human rights real’ - is an important issue in the consultations leading into the 2010 Joint World Conference. The social work profession works alongside those who are excluded, discriminated against, abused or poor – whose rights are not respected. The profession aims to achieve social change leading to a dignified life and social justice for all.

IFSW President, Dr David N Jones, comments that “Wherever there is extreme poverty, lack of basic needs like food, water and shelter, the trafficking and abuse of people across countries or serious family problems in affluent societies, you will find social workers alongside people, helping them to make changes in their lives. The 2010 social work world conference will show how social work will develop its contribution to building people-centred and sustainable social progress and social change. World social work day gives us an opportunity to celebrate this crucial work.” '

How  do to celebrate World Social Work Day?

Monday, March 15, 2010

Emerging Realities of Allied Health Practice

I am presenting at the Loddon Mallee Allied Health Conference in Echuca on Friday 19th March.  It's an exciting conference that has a focus on Allied Health practice.  I have been on the conference committee and I have really enjoyed finding out how a conference goes together.  There are so many details to organise and it is a challenge to weave the posters and presentations together to make an interesting conference that will attract the audience and keep them entertained throughout the day.

I have now  finished my conference preparation - the powerpoint is finished and has been sent off.  This is a good thing to send it off before the conference, as I can now stop tinkering with it to make it perfect!  I have finished my speaker notes and timed them to make sure that I will talk for just the right amount of time - not too long, not too rushed and I must  remember to breathe!  I have found that with my writing I use longer sentences than I can speak to, so there are several changes made with converting my writing to speaker notes.

I hope to see you there at the conference and I would really like to hear your feedback about my presentation.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

International Federation of Social Work Conference

Great news.  I have been accepted to present at the IFSW conference in Hong Kong in June 2010.  The conference is titled, '2010 Joint World Conference on Social Work and Social Development: the Agenda’ and is a  joint conference with  The International Association of Schools of Social Work (IASSW), the International Council on Social Welfare (ICSW), and the International Federation of Social Workers (IFSW). 

I will be travelling to Hong Kong with my Dad - he hasn't been there before and he thought it sounded like an interesting place to visit.  I will be glad to have his company, and I hope to have a  few days in Hong Kong to have a look around and enjoy the culture, the food and the shopping!

So, now I need to finalise my presentation which needs to be sent off soon. More later.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Elevator conversation

How do you explain your research in simple language in just a few minutes. Some people call it the 'elevator conversation' and other people call it the ' three minute thesis'.   I am often asked about my research and as I start explaining it, I sometimes notice people's eyes glaze over. I wonder why. Are they not really interested, or am I not making sense?

Here is my three minute thesis - does this make sense in just a few sentences?  I'd really appreciate any feedback.

My research is about reflective practice. I'm interested in exploring how people learn to be reflective, why they become interested in reflective practice and how they use reflective practice. My early observations are that I see reflective practice taught in most University programs, and students seem to engage in reflective practice. Then they graduate and join the workforce and being reflective seems to be one of those things that is in the gap between university and the real world. Some time later,  people are drawn back to reflective practice and I am interested in exploring how this happens and whether there are any events that trigger people to look for reflective activities.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Learn how to learn

I have been reading a blog called 'The Clever Sheep', and Rodd Lucier has a recent post about learning called 'Learning to Change: Changing to Learn'.  Wow - this is a powerful message  that resonates for me when I am thinking about my role as a Leader or Educator for the future. 

The brief video has a collection of international speakers who give us their view of the challenges for students and teachers.  One theme is that students today are so engaged in a rich social network of email, text messaging and instant messaging, yet these activities are all banned at school.  Students find a richer, more  stimulating environment outside the classroom, rather than at school.  Students learn in so many different ways now and we need to teach them  about creativity, working in the context of the situation, working in teams and environments that are multi-cultural, multi-disciplinary and multi-lingual.

I believe that this applies for students, learners  and educators of all ages. Whether they are young people at school, university students, or people learning in the workplace we need to have less of a focus on memorising facts, and more focus on learning how to learn - how to find out information, how to validate it, communicate it, find solutions to problems.  If we do this - we can engage learners in learning how to learn.  What do you think?  How do you approach learning and teaching in your context?

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Conferences - where shall I go next??

It's that time of the year to start planning my activities for the year ahead.  I have been thinking about which conferences I would like to attend, and where I can afford to go.  I also think about the places I would like to visit and see if there is a conference on at a convenient time - unfortunately that hasn't worked out for me yet!

I have been accepted to present a paper at the Loddon Mallee Allied Health Network, which is a small regional conference that will be held in Echuca, Victoria in March 2010.  The theme of the conference is  'Emerging Realities of Allied Health Practice' and I am planning to talk about online tools that can support reflective practice. It sounds like a fun conference.

I have applied to a couple of other conferences.  I am really hoping to go to the International Federation of Social Work conference in Hong Kong in June 2010, but not sure if we will be accepted, and not sure if I can afford it.   Time will tell, and I have a few applications for funding in the pipeline at the moment.

Do you like to go to conferences ? or present at conferences?  Do you have any suggestions for funding?  How do you find out about conferences that are on?  I have found this great website called Conference Alerts and once you subscribe and  choose the topics you are interested in, it sends me a monthly list of conferences all around the world. Do you know of any others?   Now let me see... any conferences  in Hawaii??

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Are you feeling lucky?

                  I've found that luck is quite predictable. If you want
            more luck, take more  chances.  Be more active.
            Show up more often.  Brian Tracy.

I had to read through this one a few times.  Can luck be predictable?  Are there people out there that are luckier than others?  Do people make their own good luck or bad luck?  Maybe it depends on your beliefs and your understanding of the world.

 I really like this quote  and it resonated for me.  If you want more luck - then take more chances...  but can it  really be that simple.  If you are more active and show up more often, you are going to be more involved, more engaged and more likely to be in the right place at the right time.  Which is luck  - right?

What do you think?  Is Brian right and is luck predictable?