Constructing the Future of Social Work Tech Habits of Mind With the Ethical OS


  • Tonya D. Bibbs Erikson Institute
  • Samantha Wolfe-Taylor School of Social Work, Indiana University
  • Nicole Alston
  • Mackenzie Barron
  • Lillian Beaudoin California State Northridge
  • Samuel Bradley Boston College
  • Alexis Speck Glennon University of Buffalo
  • Julie Munoz-Najar University of Illinois
  • Laura Nissen Portland State University
  • Juan Rios Seton Hall University
  • Hannah Szlyk Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey
  • Anjanette Wells University of Cincinnati
  • Jaehee Yi University of Utah
  • Jimmy A. Young California State University San Marcos



Ethical OS, Social Work Futures, social work technology, structural racism, habits of mind


Technological innovation has long been seen as a hallmark of progress in the modern world. While these advances may facilitate advantages to individual and social well-being, they have the potential for creating new areas of risk and expanding on those that already exist. In addition, a global pandemic has reshaped how we interact with one another, as more people connect online. Social work’s ongoing relationship with technology necessitates that we evaluate and re-envision how tech ethics create, shape, and transform social work practice. This paper has three goals. First, we argue that technologies have long been a hidden driver of social work practice and provide an initial mapping of their current influence. Second, we introduce the Ethical OS as a tool for conceptualizing ethical issues that may arise in social work practice, education, and policy. We ask if this tool could promote seeing around corners regarding how developing technologies might be advantageous or disadvantageous for reference or consumer groups. For example, how do they reify historical injustices such as structural racism and how do they offer remediation? Third, we discuss the importance of building coherent, social work tech habits of mind, in practice now and for the future

Author Biographies

Tonya D. Bibbs, Erikson Institute

Dr. Tonya Bibbs, Director, Policy Concentrations and Children's, Law and Policy Dual-Degrree

Samantha Wolfe-Taylor, School of Social Work, Indiana University

Samatha N. Wolfe-Taylor, Associate Director Office of e-Social Work Education and Practice

Nicole Alston

Nicole Alston, Associate Producer, Documentary films

Mackenzie Barron

MSW Student School of Social Work, Portland State University

Lillian Beaudoin, California State Northridge

MSW Student School of Social Work, California State Northridge

Samuel Bradley, Boston College

Samuel Bradley, Assistant Professor for Macro Practice School of Social Work, Boston College

Alexis Speck Glennon, University of Buffalo

Social Work Field Director and Core Faculty, Union Institute and University DSW Student, University of Buffalo

Julie Munoz-Najar, University of Illinois

Clinical Assistant Professor, Field Education School of Social Work, University of Illinois

Laura Nissen, Portland State University

Professor, Portland State University

Juan Rios, Seton Hall University

Director, MSW Program Department of Sociology, Anthropology and Social Work, Seton Hall University

Hannah Szlyk, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey

Associate Professor, School of Social Work Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey

Anjanette Wells, University of Cincinnati

Associate Professor School of Social Work, University of Cincinnati

Jaehee Yi, University of Utah

Associate Professor, College of Social Work, University of Utah

Jimmy A. Young, California State University San Marcos

Associate Professor, Dept. of Social Work California State University San Marcos


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