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Enhancing Critical Thinking and Professionalism Through Use of the Discussion Forum in Social Work Practice Courses

An examination of the literature reveals a significant increase within the past few years in the use of technology in the interest of enhancing teaching and learning among many professions, including social work. The focus of much of the literature has been on using technology in the traditional classroom, using technology to support distance education, and preparing students for careers that appear destined to be increasingly technology dependent. Consider, for example, that fortysix of the 54 jobs identified by the U.S. Department of Labor as having the highest growth potential require skills in the use of technology (Rosenthal, 1999). There is evidence of growing interest among social work educators and practitioners in the potential for technology. Note, for example, presentations related to technology at the Annual Program Meetings of the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) and National Association of Social Workers (NASW) conferences, two successful conferences sponsored by the College of Social Work at the University of South Carolina and a third one taking place September 1999. CSWE's Millennium Project provided funding to help support exploration of the use of technology in social work education. Currently most social work conferences include presentations devoted to some aspect of technology in education or practice.