[Reposted from the Youth Work Online Network which I help run]
The Youth Work Online network was set up out of our first unConference gathering of people interested in online work with young people. Since then, the youth work online community has grown massively, and across the country (and Europe, and the rest of the world) practice in using social media and the web to engage with young people has really moved on.
But, there are still challenges. Digital & social media skills are rarely part of standard training for practitioners working with young people; policies still often focus on blocking access, rather than promoting positive use of technology; yhe technologies young people use are constantly developing, and it’s hard to keep up.
So, in 2011 lets do something different: let’s really move youth work online forward.
With some seed funding from UnLtd Better Net Awards, we’ve got the opportunity to hold a Youth Work Online ‘Month of Action’. Here’s the basic idea:
Over the four weeks between 14th March and 8th April 2011 members of Youth Work Online are invited to set up local events and activities to promote understanding of digital work with young people, building up to a national unConference on/around the 8th April.
Through an organising group (volunteers wanted!) we’ll provide resources to support those local meetings and events – and we’ll organise a series of thematic workshops to focus on:
- Mapping what’s out there – updating our shared knowledge base on existing digital youth engagement practice;
- Updating education – working with training providers to explore how digital skills can be better part of the core training for professionals working with young people
- Digital futures – looking at the cutting edge of technologies just emerging – and asking how we should be responding
- Building the community – exploring sustainable ways to keep supporting practitioners doing digital work with young people.
And of course, will help convene the big unConference at the end of the Month. Throughout the month, we’ll be encouraging everyone to contribute shared learning to the Youth Work Online website – and we will look to set up some new ways of collecting lists of key resources and support – making it easier for practitioners to find the information they really need.
How can you get involved?
Youth Work Online is made by it’s members – so this month will only happen with your help:
- Add a comment to share your thoughts on the idea. Should we do this? How could we make it really useful to practitioners?
- Get involved in the planning group. Drop me an e-mail if you think you could spare some time for a planning meeting in January (in person or by Skype), and could help get this idea off the ground.
- Host an event! Interested in being part of a national month of action on digital youth work? What event(s) would you want to hold locally. Add a comment with your ideas.
- Help with sponsorship / venues / logistical support. The sponsorship from UnLtd will just about cover expenses to organise this month – but we’re going to need extra support to host meetings, organise the unConference and more. Think you could help out? Drop me a line.I’m hoping this can be a collaborative process – and very keen to get any local and national agencies exploring youth sector provision, training and other work on board with the process.