husITa Pioneers Project Part One: An interview with Walter LaMendola and Hein DeGraaf from the 2018 husITa Conference in Dublin, Ireland
Author: Jimmy A. Young, PhD
This month’s episode is just a bit different as we have guest host Jonathan Singer from the Social Work Podcast coming back to the future from the husITa Dublin conference in 2018. Dr. Singer interviewed Walter LaMendola and Hein DeGraaf about the founding of husITa. This particular Pioneers of husITa project has actually been a few years in the making and we, the board of husITa, are happy to finally have a home for these recordings that can be shared and consumed widely.
The discussion followed a couple of different topics, but I find it incredibly interesting that Dr. LaMendola was creating courses on technology and bringing up issues related to marginalization of and oppression of vulnerable populations via technology decades ago. Despite the animosity to tech from some social workers, Dr. LaMendola persisted in advocating for the ethical and appropriate use of technology. We get a bit more history of how Dr. LaMendola became interested in technology and focused some of his studies on the topic. He shared some key moments in the history of husITa such as how he and Dick Schoech used one of the first networking society platforms of a very rudimentary Internet as well as the development of the husITa conferences and early support from the company AT&T.
About halfway through we transition the interview to include Hein DeGraaf, who began his involvement with husITa as a social researcher for the Ministry of Holland. He states that he was not truly involved in the academics of technology at that time but instead researching many different social issues. He was actually quite interested in the gaming aspect of technology and came across a bulletin board from Dick Schoech about a technology related conference. It was at this conference where Hein and Walter met, and he realized how important computers were becoming for the social aspects of human interaction. Dr. DeGraaf relates some interesting stories about resistance to tech such as computer cords being cut, and clients or service users being told that computers were not for them. Thankfully, Dr. DeGraaf also persisted with information communication technologies and created ENITH, or the European Network for Information Technology in Human Services. I found this conversation incredibly enlightening and funny, especially the “Can you Hear me” bit that is obviously now famous in our modern context of mobile phones. I think this conversation is very meaningful to help one understand a bit of social work tech history. I fully appreciate the ideas for husITa’s future that were presented in this conversation and would add to the call for husITa to do more and encourage you to join us in our efforts.
I hope you enjoy this month’s episode and please share this podcast with your networks. I want to note that these blog posts are mainly place holders for any links and information that we thought would be good to share with our audience. The Posts will eventually also be home to the episode transcripts. We welcome any digital volunteers who would like to transcribe the episodes and if you feel so inclined, please reach out to us via our Contact page or on social media. Let us know if you have any questions, comments, or suggestions. See you next month.
Links of Interest:
History of husITa Wikipedia page – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HusITa
Podcast Homepage: https://husita.podbean.com/
Listserv Instructions: http://www.husita.org/connect/mailing-list/
husITa home page: www.husITa.org
APA (7th Ed) citation for this podcast:
Young, J. A. (Producer). (2021, October 5). #11 – husITa Pioneers Project Part One: An interview with Walter LaMendola and Hein DeGraaf from the 2018 husITa Conference in Dublin, Ireland. [Audio Podcast]. husITa Podcast. Retrieved from https://husita.podbean.com/e/husita-pioneers-project-part-one-an-interview-with-walter-lamendola-and-hein-degraaf-from-the-2018-husita-conference-in-dublin-ireland/