Social Media and Social Work Education Curriculum in Aotearoa New Zealand

An Integrated Framework


  • Deb Stanfield Waikato Institute of Technology


Social work education, Social media, Technology, E-professionalism, Digital competence


This article offers selected findings of a mixed methods research project carried out in Aotearoa New Zealand which asked broad questions about how social workers in this country use social media professionally, and for their opinions about its importance to social work. Prevalent in the findings were themes about the place of professional identity and knowledge in the use of social media, a call for leadership, and ideas about what social workers should know or learn about social media. The focus of this article is on this last theme; findings were selected based on their contribution to the realm of social work education and professional learning about social media. For example, focus group participants discussed what social workers need to know about social media and how they can best learn about it, and highlight the role of academia in this learning; those who contributed to an online survey supported the imperative of learning about social media as a priority; and key informants considered ways forward for social work education and the profession generally. Through these combined voices, together with a review of current academic writing, a vision is created of social work graduates suited to practise in a digital society. The findings of this study are explored within a framework which recommends a holistic integration of social media learning across four main areas of social work curriculum and concludes with some broad findings from the study pertinent to the delivery of social work education.

Author Biography

Deb Stanfield, Waikato Institute of Technology

Senior social work academic, Centre for Health and Social Practice


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