Social work students will soon be able to use an immersive computer game to practice home visits and assessments. The social work teaching partnership is supporting the creation of the digital resource which aims to provide an innovative and creative approach for students to develop assessment and communication skills. The work is being led by the University of Huddersfield which has a strong track record of developing computer games as digital learning tools.
Day in the life of Social Worker
The game will be a simulation of a day in the life of a Social Worker; students will immerse themselves in the character and have to make decisions and choices, giving them first-hand experience of visiting families, undertaking assessments and responding to unplanned scenarios. This game can be replayed multiple times in case a students needs to revisit some aspects they were unsure of the first time or want to experiment with a different approach. It’s hoped that students will learn how best to approach a range of circumstances and better understand how their responses can influence the course of events – as they would in real life. The game will be especially useful for preparing students for their their first social work placement.
Interns leading game development
The game development is being undertaken by University of Huddersfield ICT Interns, George Middleton and James Duerden. As part of their own degrees, George and James are spending a year developing and designing the immersive computer game; they are working with a wider team including Social Workers and people with experience of using social services who are sharing their own experiences to ensure that the characters and scenarios are realistic.
George and James both have further ideas for how computer games could be used to train and develop Social Workers. “Interactive media is always a good way to teach, as it helps students learn at their own pace, and it engages them directly. …Perhaps more games covering a smaller range of topics in more detail, to help Social Workers moving into more specialist roles.”