SSSC 23 Things Digital – Thing 7: Finding Resources

I tried to open an account for myself on 1 st September 2017 however my organisation was not registered with Open Athens so I sent Open At...

Tuesday 10 October 2017

SSSC 23 Things Digital – Thing 7: Finding Resources

I tried to open an account for myself on 1st September 2017 however my organisation was not registered with Open Athens so I sent Open Athens an email regarding what to do next.

I received an email back from the Open Athens explaining that I should register as a NHS Partner as they do not have small businesses on their organisations list. It took a few days for them to confirm my account with them.

I browsed through the SSKS resources on 18 Sep. 17 and searched for articles on Dyspraxia. This is a subject that I am interested in as I was diagnosed with dyspraxia in 2013. I found a lot of articles on dyspraxia in children but as many about dyspraxia in adults. It was very interesting.

I also browsed through articles on cerebral palsy as not only have I been working with more clients with cerebral palsy in the past year or so but I also have some friends with cerebral palsy and it was informative to read the books and articles and learn more about the subject. For example I learned that cerebral palsy is not diagnosed at birth but is based on how a child approaches their developmental targets and that the majority of the time cerebral palsy is caused by events before the child is born although further research is needed into the causes.

As with the SSKS resources, I used google search to look further into cerebral palsy. The results of the search found mostly news sites and tabloid articles which I found wasn’t as useful as the SSKS but was easier to understand than some of the articles on SSKS as the language was simpler.

I have never used Google advanced search prior to this badge. When researching for university work I have found it useful to use the Google Books function as you can search for the information you need directly and it will bring up a list of books which mention the search query and allow you to read a page or two of the book where the query is mentioned. This is limited as you cannot read the whole text and that may affect the context of the information you find but it does help you find what books you would need to read to find out more.

While Wikipedia is generally not a good source of information as it is open for the public to change, it can be useful to look at the article’s list of sources at the bottom of the page. Speaking to a reference librarian is also a good way of pointing yourself in the right direction.

As a current university student I also have full access to any university library in Scotland as long as I register. I am currently registered with two university libraries. The public library is also a good resource particularly as some public libraries can give you access not only to physical books but also can provide e-books as part of their membership.

Old second-hand bookshops or independent bookshops often have very knowledgeable owners and can also have copies of books which are out of print which can be very useful.

Wednesday 13 September 2017

SSSC Open Badges 6

Doing the Digital Security badge encouraged me to do something that I have been meaning to do for a while, create an account with a password manager. Over the past few months several of my accounts have been compromised and I have received notifications from my email providers that although the hackers have not gotten into my account I should change my login details. Due to this I have been researching digital security for a while now.

There is a vlogger on YouTube that does videos on Digital Security called Computerphile (link below). I watched his video on choosing a password. When I signed up to a password manager site I then referred back to his video to create the password for that account.

I went onto and checked the password I created for my new password manager account.

I looked at Splashdata’s article on Worst Passwords and thankfully I have never used any of the passwords on the list. When I was first introduced to the internet I was living with a very tech savvy woman who worked in cyber security and so I was always taught to keep my passwords secure.

I checked the permissions that apps have on my phone. There wasn’t any permissions which necessarily surprised me however it is very frustrating that for most applications you cannot limit the amount of information that an app has access to without getting rid of the app. It should not be a given that just because I don’t want an app to have access to my location, microphone or camera that I do not want the app. However I do understand that for many apps there are permissions which are not directly related to the function of the app. Netflix is a good example of this. They may not need your location in order to play a video but they do need your location in order to determine which of their licenses applies in the country you are in so that they can limit your view to only videos that have a license to be shown in the country you are in otherwise they may be in breach of copyright law. This is why you have different movies and series on Netflix depending on where you are in the world.

I do back up most of the information on my devices onto a cloud so I save my preferences on the cloud accounts rather than on my phone and regularly check with the settings to make sure that they have not changed with updates.

I am very cautious of games online which ask for my details. I am also very cautious of sharing anything with says please copy and paste this and share to bring luck or to give prayers as this is a way for hackers to see who is vulnerable to cyber-attack. Another thing I try not to share is anyone with a picture of an individual saying that they are missing or that they have done something criminal unless it is from a police website. This is because there are people who are possibly in domestic violence situations or similar who are trying to escape their attackers and are found by well-wishers on the internet and the information as to where they are is delivered to their attackers. As for those who claim an individual has done something criminal, they may not have done anything and the individual who has started the post has a vendetta. I try to only share from credible sources.

I watched the video Wifi from the Metropolitan Police. They recommend either not sharing sensitive information on open wifi networks or using a VPN.

I did some research on VPNs and found it a very confusing subject. Many people use VPN’s for illegal purposes such as changing their location to get around the licencing on Netflix and other video platforms. This means that what VPNs are available are subscription based and the ones that are free have a data cap on them to prevent misuse. Government in various countries are also trying to crack down on VPNs.

This makes not sharing sensitive information across open Wi-Fi networks the best policy.

One of the threat to digital security that I as a support worker can help to combat is financial fraud. It is becoming more common for criminals to contact vulnerable people and pose as trusted people in order to gain the vulnerable person’s information. As a support worker I can make my clients aware that people from trusted organisations will not call and ask for your details over the phone or email you to ask for your information. I can advise them that they should not click on links from emails and instead go directly to the websites of trusted sites. I can advise them that if they feel dubious about who they have been contacted by from their banks that they should go into the branch.

How Secure is my Password:

Monday 4 September 2017

SSSC 23 Things Digital – Thing 5: Social Media #1

On 23 August 2017 I re-familiarised myself with my company’s policies on Social Media. The policies were centred on conducting yourself in a professional manner when online. There is a section in the company’s policy that makes reference to having an awareness of your digital footprint and highlights that this may have an effect, not just on the individuals image, but also the company image.

This policy is useful as the people who use our service or their families can look up their support workers on google and having an awareness of your digital footprint can inform you on what your online reputation is and look to change it if necessary.

The policies also adhered to data protection and right to privacy by stating that employee must not post anything on the internet which could be considered confidential.

This policy is necessary in a social care setting where support workers are dealing with sensitive information surrounding the people they work with on a regular basis. Sharing sensitive information online could not only lead to disciplinary action but could also be a criminal action.

The company policy makes employees aware that allowing use of social media to interfere with working may lead to disciplinary action.

Use of any distracting activity during working hours has a negative impact on the care provided as it distracts people from their task that they have been employed to do.

Overall the policies from my organisation regarding social media are very basic. This is because the organisation I work for doesn’t use social media often. They do have a Facebook page and a website however the Facebook page mostly just shares news and updates from training providers and organisations like the SSSC and the website is out of date. The organisation I work for is a small business and does not have the resources both in money and manpower to maintain a strong presence online.

I read the article “How to Separate the Personal and Professional on Social Media” on Harvard Business Review on 23rd August. From the article I have identified that I use a content strategy for my social media posts. I rarely post my own content and mostly share content created by other people. In my blogs and website I have a beta reader – someone who checks over all of my content before I post it online in order to make sure the information I post reads the way I want it to and to check that it is less likely to be misconstrued by others.

Although the custom strategy would probably be a better strategy I feel this would be a lot more complicated for me to use as I am not organised enough to keep separate accounts for my personal and work life, particularly as I have two professional lives to balance as a support worker and as a costume maker. I feel the custom strategy would be more suitable for someone more tech savvy than me.

I read the article “Social workers cannot ignore the role of social media in the profession” on The Guardian website on 23rd August. I agree with the article saying that there is a “climate of fear” surrounding the use of social media in social care. Maintaining a professional boundary when a person who uses the service requests to be your friend on Facebook is difficult especially when you know that that person has full capacity and is capable of making their own decisions.

I feel that the main concern for support workers and other social care staff is data protection. It would be useful for example to have a way to communicate with all of the workers who are involved in the care of one individual to pass messages such as “Mr X needs milk” however in order to do this there may be some staff who work with more clients who would end up with many different communication channels which would be hard to regulate. Also if all of the staff of an organisation were involved in the communication it would run into problems with data protection as the staff would need a way to refer to their client without using any personal details such as their name. It would also have to use a secure encrypted server in order to ensure that the data was protected and small businesses could not afford this.

For now the way of passing messages is that everything is passed to the supervisor/manager and they pass the message on to the relevant parties through telephone calls or face to face interactions. This is time consuming.

Social media is greater used regarding training and personal development where data protection is not as much of an issue. I feel confident using social media for my own development and training but I do not feel confident in using social media to help create a person centered service for my clients as I am very cautious of the data protection laws surrounding social care and I am unclear in how I could use social media in that regard.

Link for Harvard Business Review article:
Link for the Guardian article:

Thursday 31 August 2017

SSSC 23 Things Digital – Thing 4: Digital Footprint

I watched the video Orange Digital Dirt. This video is one of many videos currently circulating on keeping yourself aware of your presence online. Watching this video reminded me of the videos we used to watch in secondary school about internet safety. In my college and university courses being aware of your online presence is a necessity as most of those on the course will be working as freelancers.

I googled myself to find out what my digital footprint was. I have a strong digital footprint. The first page of results shows my Facebook, Twitter, Google, Linked In and Mandy accounts. This is not a problem for me as I have tried to raise my digital footprint within the last few years due to my other work as a freelance Costume Maker. This role makes me very aware of my social media presence and digital footprint and I check my privacy settings on social media regularly. The only part of checking my presence on google that worries me is that my website does not show up on the first page of results and as such I will need to work harder to raise its profile. I also need to update my about pages from various social media websites as they are slightly out of date.

I have friends and family who work as nurses and teachers. Many of them use pseudonyms in their social media profiles to keep their work and personal lives separate and to prevent their clients from finding them. As my other job is a freelance costume maker using a pseudonym would make it harder for my clients to find me and examples of my work. Almost all of my social media profiles link back to my website.

I read the article from Just Creative: 8 tips to effectively manage your digital footprint. I feel that the most important of the tips is to “Know What’s Out There”. It is difficult to regulate your digital footprint if you don’t know what is on the internet about you as the information doesn’t always come from you. Not only could your friends post things that you don’t want anyone to see put there, may be someone who shares a similar name and job title that has information that may cast you in a bad light. It is also important as if you know something out there reflects you in a negative light then you have the opportunity to tell whomever find the information the circumstances of the information before they reach a harsh conclusion. For example I once knew a woman who was involved in a drink driving related accident. The newspaper wrote an article about it and as she knew her digital footprint she could now tell future employers that she was now tee total as a result.

I also feel that the passwords tip is important and I am considering using a password manager in the future.

I looked at my Location History and My Activity on my google account and I was slightly surprised to see how much information is saved by Google. It stored over the last years’ worth of searches and locations. I have two google accounts – one for personal and one for work. And it was interesting to see that I had limited my work account’s data storage but my personal account I hadn’t thought to limit. I had also not realised that it stored audio clips from whenever I had used the Ok Google feature which I have subsequently turned off. Although the other features like search and location history do hold a lot of data I do appreciate how the apps work with the information such as the location history informing the Google Maps app or Google saving my contacts as I frequently lose my phone or get lost.

Video link:
Article link:
My website address is:

Sunday 27 August 2017

For those looking to get started with SSSC Open Badges

I have recently started using the Open Badge system on Scottish Social Services website. When I first signed up I was unsure of which badges to start with. 

There are two badges for complete beginners to Open Badges:

  • Getting started with Open Badges -
  • Writing evidence for Open Badge applications -

The Getting Started badge isn't the badge I started with as on reading the criteria I realised that in order to complete the badge you had to attend a webinar. The webinars only happen once every few months and the next one is in September so I have signed up to it but cannot complete the badge until then so "Getting Started" is a slight misnomer unless you want to wait until after the next webinar to complete any badges.

I started with the Writing evidence badge. This badge show you how to complete the evidence for all of the Open Badges. Although each badge does have its own criteria the Writing Evidence badge shows you the basic format that all the badges require and tells you about how using the badges benefits you and what the SSSC is hoping to achieve with the SSSC Badges.

So although there is a Getting Started badge I would recommend starting with the Writing Evidence badge as it will better allow you to proceed with more badges. Another reason I would recommend doing this first is that many of the badges require the Writing Evidence badge as a prerequisite before they will let you complete the badge. For example while you can do the Informed about Dementia Badge without any prior badges, you have to have the Writing Evidence badge before proceeding to the Understanding Dementia badge.

After the Writing Evidence badge I moved on to the 23 things digital. I did this partially because I enjoy digital learning but also because it has a clear structure of which badge to do in what order and it was on the first page of the all badges page.

While working my way through the 23 things digital I will be looking at earning the dementia and medication badges next. I work for a Care at Home service so these seemed the most relevant. As I complete more badges I will continue to post about them.

I would love to hear your comments on your experiences with the SSSC Badges and suggestions of which badges I should do next.

Thursday 24 August 2017

SSSC Open Badges 3

As part of applying for the SSSC 23 Things Digital – Thing 3: Why digital? I looked at the infographic from Skills for Care and how the infographic differed/aligned with my own experiences in Social Care.

“Staff have confidence in their own basic online skills with over 90% feeling confident or very confident.”

In my experience I have found this not to be true. This is due to the fact that there are many people working in social care who have do not have the basic IT skills that most people under 30 would have learned in high school or primary school. Those who have never used this kind of technology are daunted by the prospect of learning. Many of them would need one to one tuition in IT and this is not always feasible. Of those who do have basic IT skills they may only be confident in carrying out certain tasks online such as using Facebook and checking emails but have not grasp of how to find research data or start a blog. To those competent in IT these seem like very simple exercises however this can impede people from trying to learn as they have built up these tasks in their own minds.

“But 52% of managers feel staff do not have sufficient basic online skills”

I can understand this assessment although it could be argued that some managers are also lacking in IT skills. If the managers of a company do not have basic IT skills this can hinder the use of IT in the workplace.

“95% of participants use digital technology for at least one work related activity”

If this survey included texts and phone calls from a mobile device as well as sending emails to communicate then this assessment is concurrent with my own experiences. However, there is room for vast improvement when it comes to the use of technology in social care. The Open Badge system is a good step forward but it is only just gaining traction across care organisations. I also think that in order to improve the use of digital technology within social care there needs to be an understanding across companies of where they can use technology and where they cannot. This is because data protection and the right to privacy can be very easily invaded by the use of technology. The government has only just begun in creating legislation for social media and internet use across all areas, not just those pertaining to social care.

In my experience there are many factors stopping the use of digital technology. There is a lack of knowledge amongst organisations about where the use of technology to create person centred care may breach the individuals’ privacy and so many companies choose to steer away from technology entirely. Many staff do not have access to technology or do not have the skills to use it. Many organisations particularly small businesses do not have the resources to provide the technology and IT training for their staff. Some business managers and supervisors do not have the IT skills to support their staff in using the technology. Due to the pace of technology there would be an ongoing need to update the staff and managers in their knowledge of IT. When small businesses get enough money and manpower to put their staff through training they will most likely opt to give their staff training in things like First Aid or Epilepsy as these are more pressing for the staff to be trained in.

Attitudes to using digital technology

I believe that the potential for the use of digital technology is there and those companies who have the knowledge of technology are keen to use it yet I think that it will be a number of years before technology is integrated into social care, when the generations of workers who did not grow up with technology will leave the workforce and those who have always have technology surrounding them make up the majority of the workplace. These are the people who will be confident in their knowledge of the technology and by that time the internet will be better regulated by the government.

The reason that technology has not integrated into social care is not only due to the organisations and government. It is also due to the clients themselves. Many of our older clients, particularly those with dementia and other memory issues, are suspicious and wary of using technology. They may not understand it or not want it in their lives. We must respect their decisions. This is not true for every client and many of our younger clients would welcome the change.

What current learning opportunities are there for digital technology?

There are many learning opportunities to learn about using digital technology both formal and informal. In my experience there are individuals who go on formal courses to learn basic IT skills and do not learn anything by them. These individuals need one to one tuition on technology as a classroom environment does not work for them. Most individuals that I know that are good with technology learned through teaching themselves. They may have also had formal learning later however the basis for their learning was self-directed. I believe that this proves that in order to learn about technology you need to have the curiosity to seek it out. I think the best way to encourage people to learn is to teach them the benefits of technology and to give them the opportunity to find it themselves.

What is digital technology used for?

I do believe that digital technology can improve the quality of care we, as support workers, provide to our clients. Digital technology can help us to create a person centred care plan for all our clients. It can help us to engage with other organisations to enable our clients to get the best service we can provide. On the other hand I believe that integrating technology into social care will take a lot of work from everyone involved and will unfortunately be years in the making.

I completed a short self-assessment score-sheet of my digital capabilities.

For my self-assessment of my digital capabilities I would say that I am 4/5. There are still many things that I would like to learn how to do digitally. For example I would like to know how to use coding and more advanced IT but this would be for my own enjoyment rather than as work based learning.

For my confidence in my digital capabilities I would say 5/5 as I know what I am capable of with technology and I am confident in my application.

As for relevance I would say 2/5 mainly as I feel that social care has not yet embraced technology and many of the things that I know how to do with technology would not yet be relevant to working in care such as marketing through social media and creating websites.

I would love to apply my knowledge and capabilities of digital technology to my working life however at the moment I am unclear as to how they can fit together. 

The info-graphic mentioned can be found at:

Tuesday 22 August 2017

SSSC Open Badges 2

I have registered online for the Scottish Social Services Council's Open Badges website. This is a website which allows me to learn about aspects of working in care and work towards Open Badges which allow my achievements to be shared online with others. These badges contain information on how I obtained the badges and what evidence I provided toward earning the badges. 

I have learned through watching  videos on the SSSC website that the method by which I will evidence my badges will promote learning more about the subject rather than repeating the information given to me as it encourages reflection on learning. I have found in my university studies of an unrelated subject that this is an effective way of learning particularly for me as I was diagnosed with dyspraxia a number of years ago and as such have problems with short term memory.

Reflecting on my learning will help me to retain more information. Producing evidence for the badges will force me to think about the subject in more depth and will enable me to see which points I need to improve upon. Using blogs and social media will allow others who may be thinking about using the Open Badges to contact me and ask questions about how the Badge system works and may encourage others to start using the Open Badges. This will improve my own learning as helping others to understand a topic enhances my understanding of the topic as they may ask questions about the topic that I had not previously considered.

The Open Badge system is also a good way for me and my manager to keep track of my Personal Development Plan within Social Care. It allows me to work with my manager to work to improve both my working practices but also to make suggestions about improving practices within the company as a whole.

Videos mentioned:

"Open Badges from the SSSC" found at and "Advice on evidence for Open Badge applications" found at