This is a regular blog post that I do to simply round up some signals that I see go by on Twitter and think might be of interest to my fellow travelers interested in topics related to social work, health, human rights, community well-being, higher education and other related topics.
Learn to Think Like a Futurist with IFTF and Coursera!!
The Institute for the Future is declaring the year 2020 the year of the future. In a beautiful and generous effort to “democratize the future” they are offering FREE futures/foresight training through Coursera. Check it out here!! This is information that has fueled my journey – IFTF has some of the inspiring folks globally teaching and guiding. Join in the adventure!!!
There is a new app called “Change Ed” that is promising to “revolutionize” student loan debt. Interesting idea – and good to see some innovation on this topic. Is this an answer? Not clear. Here’s another bit of media coverage. Much more needs to be explored. Worth a look.
There is a steady stream of news coverage exploring, imagining and predicting various futures of higher education. Here’s a new one from Quartz on their take on the Future of College.
Communities and Tech
As readers know, I’m a big fan of efforts to help social workers become more tech savvy and tech enabled in ethical ways. But this article promotes the “importance of citizen data scientists and how to support them.” Democratizing the processes and associated power of understanding and using data for the well-being of all is a future I can get behind. How about you?
This article suggests that left to its own devices, emerging technology that monitors and provides various types of surveillance is disproportionally harmful to already vulnerable populations. Their term “digital dystopias” is powerful. This one is worth a read. Another related piece talks about increasing use of algorithms to make welfare decisions despite it’s limitations. Vital for social workers.
Children’s Digital Rights in Europe
This is from 2018, but here’s a thought provoking look at the European Union’s guidelines to “respect, fulfill and protect the rights of the child in the digital environment.” Here’s is the UN’s report on this same topic where they begin their report by saying that 1 in 3 internet users is a child – something I think we don’t often enough take into account as social workers. While searching for additional information and resources, I also found this from the Child Rights International Network.
As I did a brief search of this, I found very little that was U.S. based – which is not to say it doesn’t exist, but advocacy, policy and other guidelines are more prominently featured internationally.
Tech Ethics and Guidelines
What if we taught human rights law to software engineers? This article suggests that would be an excellent way to embed key ethical principles and related capacity for human rights protections into the software development workforce and ecosystem.
Social Work Tech
Social workers in the UK are taking their responsibility to “skill up” and build tech capability across their profession seriously. This new report gives details and provides inspiration for us to continue to grow our capacity here in the U.S.
Tech and Storytelling
Virtual reality (VR) is exploding as a sector. How will we use these new tools in our work as social workers? Lots of interesting experimentations in play. Here’s an inspiring piece about the emerging role of VR in storytelling and journalism.
Other Futures Books to Read
This book came out in 2017 but I’m just learning about it. “Twitter and Tear Gas” is a book about how social media is simultaneously changing, expanding and impairing contemporary social movements. A growing body of knowledge is emerging to study and chronicle how social media is changing patterns, methods and results of new types of communication tools in social change work. This is an important reference.
Ran across this certificate program that focuses on preparing people to become “regenerative sustainability design” practitioners. I don’t know a lot about it yet – but I found their materials inspiring and creative. Worth a look!