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Matt Dooley

on 4 April 2014

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Transcript of Technology

Data is Power
Social workers are often in the face of disaster. Technology can be a key way of disarming a negative situation, while also raising awareness to prevent similar future events from occurring again.

"Successful information management systems require collaboration with frontline workers."(Reardon)
Resistance To Technology
There is a strange resistance to advancing with this technological aspect of social work. Many people have come to know their way of doing it as "the best way". Although the older, less efficient way does work, with technologies aid it allots much more time to be given to the work/client, with less energy and time expended while getting the work done.

Technology is also seen by some as a burden. Yet, another thing to have to learn in order to do their job. Another class to take, another thing to have to overcome. This burdening aspect of technology is what makes it much more appealing to professionals entering the field, or having future plans of working in this field.

A valid argument outlined in the text is, "Just because many industries in the corporate sector have embraced computerized records doesn’t mean such a switch is as easy in social work, Fitch says. For example, it is difficult to codify social work services in a way that can be easily entered and tracked in a computerized system. It’s one thing for Wal-Mart to use technology to track each jar of pickles it has in stock, Fitch says, but social work is something “you can’t put in a jar.” Would technology be taking the personality and person out of the treatment?
Deep Water Horizon Oil Spill
"Social networking may turn out to be the first line of defense against public relations spin by providing real time gathering of data on the massive river of oil flowing into the Gulf of Mexico from the Transocean/Deepwater Horizon well explosion. Maps generated by satellite and "predictions" are only so valuable. One of the tenets of remote sensing is that "ground truthing" be a mandatory part of the equation. Truth is the operative word here as Gulf Coast residents face an unprecedented environmental disaster."

As many of us have come to accept, public relations, the media, the government, and concerned parties often times alter data that gets seen and heard by the public for "damage control". Technology in the face of man made disasters will help the effected citizens get the attention and resources they desperately need.

The article outlines how one thing has been told to society, when a differing thing is actually occurring. "it is the fisherman and local resident who know these marshes and waters like the backs of their hands and who will be the first to notice anything unusual in terms of water quality changes or wildlife in distress."
With the locals equipped with technology to be able to tell "People who matter" where the problem areas are it enables the proper resources to be allocated to the right areas, promoting the most relief.
Technology is no doubt a double edged sword. It proves to have many strengths and also some shortcoming's. Overall I feel that technology will only help the social worker. It will make some instances and scenario's more challenging and with technology only expanding likely new problems surround the technology itself will appear.
In the here and now, there is no reason not to implement technology assisted programs in our field. It will not only help in the face of an event, but it will also help in managing clients, cases, and providing the best possible treatment/resolution as possible.
Organizing the Data that we receive or witness can be a challenging thing. Keeping massive amounts of paperwork neat and in a manageable way can be one of the greatest challenges a social worker faces. "Imagine a world where you could access neatly organized data about your clients without rummaging through papers, where you could read case notes without struggling to decipher handwriting, where you could evaluate the effectiveness of services without digging through files." This is what technology is giving us. Our future is going to be much more streamlined, with technologies aid. Technology will be able to take over an aspect of our job which is holding all of the information, categorizing it, while keeping it in order, and up to date.

"Technology promises greater efficiency, less paperwork, and more time with clients. But many social workers’ perceptions—and realities—are of cumbersome and irrelevant systems that make them feel more like bureaucrats than helpers." (Reardon)
Advantages to Technology
Allows worker to be more mobile
Less clutter and physical paperwork
Evaluate employee's
Manage Risks
With all of the information stored on Hard Drives, it also provides the ability to protect the agency/organization from legal action and lawsuits.
Needed Transparency & Empowerment
This transparency is needed in cleanup and relief efforts. Transparency enables the effect communities and interested population to "keep tabs" on the progress of our efforts, and also informs them of continue and changing efforts/risks. Also benefiting the effected communities because they feel they are being heard and their needs are being met.
The transparency will also empower local residents, making them feel as though they are being "heard" and also making an impact.
Finally the transparency also enables the blame to be placed on the responsible party.
First Hand, Real Time
First hand accounts and real time information is something that technology enables us to have. We can literally broadcast anything anywhere, for viewing or analyzing. With citizens inputting the data, the information will be as accurate as possible with up to the minute accuracy of what is actually occurring in the impacted areas.

Overall, Technology as always will be seen as a burden and also an asset. In regards to natural and man made disasters technology brings an applicable way to combat and analyze the impacts of the event or situation at hand. The technology that "locals" can use to be involved with the process, stay informed, and also use their knowledge and resources to better help "outsiders" in better allocating their efforts.
By using iPhone apps. or some sort of real time data input in which the residents of the impacted areas are the one helping to input data about what needs to be the priority.

All of this will be more efficient, help the government and other officials in their efforts and also help the local and impacted public feel that they're being informed the truth and they are apart of the proccess rather than an enemy of the proccess. Technology allows locals to broadcast information to the powers that be, in real time. This removes a certain aspect of the "disconnect" from the actual disaster zone.
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