Last spring I was asked by Lindsey Getz of Social Work Today to weigh in on the topic of mobile applications (apps) in social work — I think they found me through my blog post on this topic. Lindsey wrote a great article, and, per usual, the University at Buffalo (UB) university news service mentioned the article in an university-wide email. A few weeks later a UB staff member, Matthew Stock, contacted me to see if I wanted to develop an Android app for social work. Matt and I had worked together in the past on a committee that I had chaired for one of the information technology university projects. I had really enjoyed working with him — he’s a tech whiz who also has excellent management and people skills. And he’s also just a great guy– so I was intrigued by the invitation and decided to take him up on it. But that then raised the issue of what type of app to develop.
An App is Born
As I thought more about apps and social work I decided that the best way to select an app was to think about what problems or challenges an app could help solve. As luck would have it, I attended the 10 year celebration of an evidence-based practice project that we’ve been spearheading. The graduates (who were now supervising students from the project) talked about how hard it is to stay abreast of new developments in practice, especially evidence-based practice. This also is a challenge that I’ve heard often from workshop attendees as well as from alumni. And that’s how we came up with the idea for The Savvy Social Worker app. Matt made it come alive, and we we released it at this years Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) Annual Program Meeting in Washington, D.C.
The Savvy Social Worker is really very simple: it’s just a newsreader where we have pulled in key RSS feeds from around the United States. However, few social workers understand the concept of RSS feeds, let alone know how to pull them in. And few people will take the time to go around the web and identify all the feeds to put them in one place. I know that I’ve found the app useful, simple though it is. So I hope that others will, too.
Social Work Apps & The Tipping Point
As a result of this experience I’ve become more interested in social work apps. My sense is that social work/human services apps are approaching the “tipping point” and that we will see many, many more. DorleeM and I have started to collect social work apps on our shared Pinterest Board. So I would love to hear your ideas on this topic on any or all of these questions:
- What apps would you like to see developed for social work?
- Do you agree with my assessment about the “tipping point” for apps in social work? Why or why not?
- Have we missed any good apps on our Pinterest Board?
- Any other thoughts on this topic?
You can download the Savvy Social Worker from here, in the Google Play store