My iPad and I make quite the dynamic duo when it comes to practicing social work.
I’m not going to hide the fact that I’m an Apple fanboy. When I saw the iPad come out, I was dismayed with it’s lack of USB port, no Adobe Flash playing capabilities, and virtual keyboard. Despite this, I knew I must have one.
I imagined the practicality of not having to lug around my giant laptop, pages of work-related materials, and books. I also saw the potential in note-taking applications that would be developed for the device. This thing would be my magic sparkle pony in which I would ride to the valley of awesomeness.
After debating whether or not to buy it, I went to the Apple Store and made my purchase – three days after it came out. I experienced what I consider to be “early adopted hell” in part due to lack of quality apps (software) and an abundance of bugs.
I felt like the biggest tool when I went to class that week with my new device. I was the techo-geek with a new toy: overpriced, shiny, and new. It also brought me undesired/unwarranted attention. I’m incredibly excited over the things I have done since then.
I use my iPad primarily for productivity, social networking/entertainment, and therapy.
I certain applications to complete school assignments, write documents, take notes, or get organized.
Software exists that allows for me to read pages upon pages of PDFs, even highlight and annotate them, eliminating the need to print out documents and lug around lots of pages. I carry around a PDF copy of the DSM IV-TR around, rather than having to lug around that thick heavy book.
I can also sync/create important documents that I can reference or email to my work computer to print for my clients.
On the go, things in real life sometimes gets heavy and I want to know what my other friends are up to, so I check Twitter or Facebook with ease (I prefer the former) and can read news articles rather quickly or bookmark them for later. In those times when I need a respite, my iPad comes through as a quick and easy way to access these social networking sites.
If there are three things I am into, it’s music, music videos, and The Daily Show with John Stewart. I can stream music via Pandora Radio – a service that lets you create your own radio station(s) based on music you like. I also like playing my own music in the background while I do other things.
While I’m working on a main computer (since I can’t/won’t complete progress notes on my iPad), I sometimes like to hear music and see it – so I sometimes have music videos playing in the background.
The Daily Show with John Stewart ALWAYS makes me laugh and in this line of work, I sometimes need it. I pay for a 16-episode pass in which I always sync the last few episodes of the show so that I can watch it later (since I never seem to catch it). When things get heavy or stressful, I can take a five minute respite, fire up the show easily, and usually get to a better place.
Clinical Social Work
Very briefly, I have used my iPad in therapy for two purposes: Psychoeducation and Art.
I work with a few MFTs that implement art therapy and are very familiar with it. A supervisor I had suggested a few exercises and I have implemented them in session. I have had children use their fingers and imaginations to draw out an identity shield or things that they think are important to them.
Psychoeducation on the iPad has literally been a dream. I love to educate people and present information in an aesthetically pleasing manner. I use an application called Keynote, which is basically PowerPoint for iPad. On it, I can make presentations on a variety of issues, focus on a few key areas, and integrate visual media (read: videos) as to keep it lively.
Slideshow: Sample of my Domestic Violence Psychoeducation Tool
In my Domestic Violence psychoeducation presentation, I am able to sit with clients, present a lot of useful information, and gauge their knowledge level in particular areas. In addition, I allow for clients to watch a very powerful six minute video that describes the impact of domestic violence on children.
And I have this translated into Spanish, so I can serve English and Spanish-speaking populations.
The iPad is a neat tool with many possibilities and its own limitations. However, I am learning how to be creative, productive, and efficient in using it. The psychoeducation presentations that I have developed puts one more tool into my social worker tool belt to use with my clients. I can access, download, and print/implement interventions (printed materials or psycho educational materials), immediately. In having this type of power, I can have knowledge immediately available and disseminate it quickly. Talk about empowerment!
Apologies for neglecting this blog. I have been busier than I anticipated for being on summer break. xoxo – Iggy