The United States is experiencing an aging of the population, and by 2030, 20% of Americans will be 65 years or older (Federal Interagency Forum, 2010). However, for many helping professions, including social work, medicine, and nursing, student interest in gerontological practice is quite low. One international study found that only 5.4% of the more than 1,000 social work students who were surveyed indicated that working with older people was their primary area of interest (Chonody & Wang, 2014). Finding ways to improve student interest and break down biases against older adults is essential to improve student interest, and incorporating evidence-based activities that can be incorporated into courses that are offered in an online format are increasingly needed as this mode of instruction continues to expand. The current exploratory study sought to pilot a two-part photo-activity in an online graduate social work practice course focused on working with older adults. Quantitative and qualitative results suggest that the activities helped students’ process their views on aging and older people, and most students reported at least some change in their attitudes. The development of innovative ways to engage students online by repurposing technology that they are already using can advance online pedagogy and facilitate critical thinking.
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Chonody, Jill M.. (2018). "Perspectives on Aging Among Graduate Social Work Students: Using Photographs as an Online Pedagogical Activity". Journal of the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning, 18(2), 158-173.