Free course for web 2.0 learning

Michelle Martin, whose instigation of the 31 days to a better blog challenge really launched my blogging, is working with Harold Jarche and Tony Karrer over the next six weeks to offer an open and free course in using online tools for supporting learning.

The course would be a great opportunity for informal educators in youth work to find out about some of the tools that could perhaps be used in supporting young people’s own learning. Whilst the course won’t be geared towards young people’s learning – it will offer a chance to get familiar with the basics of online tools and technologies that offer real potential for enhancing youth work.

Here’s what Michelle says about it:

Each week we will share new activities that will allow you to explore different Web 2.0 tools and discuss their implications for learning. The activities can be done at your own pace and will be hands-on.

The program topics and schedule…

Date Title
09/29/2008 Introduction to Social Networks
10/06/2008 Free your Favorites / Bookmarks
10/13/2008 Blogs
10/27/2008 Wikis
11/03/2008 Implications / Summar

Anyone can sign up for the course, so we’d love it if you’d spread the word, particularly to your friends and colleagues who may be interested in exploring  Web 2.0 and learning.

Head here to find out more and perhaps sign up.

After a pause, an update and promise of posts to come

It feels a little ironic that, just before two days where I’ll be concertedly spending most of my time telling people all about the potential of social media, and quite probably including the URL of my blog on the last slide of the different presentations I’m giving – anyone visiting it will find that the last post was almost a month ago!

So – to make amends for that, here’s a (fairly) quick round up of news that might explain why I’ve not had much chance to blog here over the last four weeks – and, woven in, a preview of some of the blog posts that are hopefully to come:

Youth Work and Social Networking
After six months of literature reviews, surveys, focus groups and action research I hope we’ve managed to get to a strong theoretical foundation that makes the case for youth work engagement with online social networks – and a series of practical steps and useful resources for organizations moving forward with their social media strategies and planning how their youth services can engage with social network sites.

The research launch is tomorrow – and the final report will be available soon from here.

Blog posts to expect: Headlines form the final YWSN report & a copy of our launch presentation…

UK Youth Online
Back in January at BarCampUKGovWeb instigated by Jeremy Gould I was struck by how many conversations were about engaging with young people through the web – but how there were not many people there whose core work involves youth engagement. And through the Youth Work and Social Networking research I quickly found I was talking to lots of people who are doing great things with technology in youth work and youth engagement – but who are perhaps not always aware of each other. So – after an early stalled attempt – this Saturday will see the first UK Youth Online unconference/open space event kindly hosted by DIUS.

Plus there has been quite a network building on the Ning website I set up to help organise the event. So much so – that Ning recently included it as one of their featured networks.

Blog posts to expect: reflections on some of the great projects being showcased, notes from the discussion groups & my reflections on organising an national event for 70 people with no budget, no admin support but a lot of help from your friends..

Video Change
The Video Change project was an pilot I ran with Oxfam exploring how online training can be used to equip activists to use online video in their campaigning. The last weekly module in the course came in August – and I’ve just finished the project evaluation.

Blog posts to expect: tips for using online video in campaigning, reflections on running online training 

Substance Views
The lovely team at Substance are driving some fantastic innovations not only with their successful bid to roll out and expand their Plings project (collating information about places to go and things to do for young people), but with a series of events they are hosting called ‘The Great Monitoring and Evaluation Debate’. Because Substance seem to like things ending in ‘ing’ (Plings etc.) I’ve been helping them set up and facilitate a Ning network to continue the discussions from their events.

Could new online and open source tools that enable ongoing monitoring and evaluation bring about the end of the Annual report? Feel free to join the discussions.
Blog posts to expect: A one page guide to using Ning, exploring the future of monitoring and evaluation,

APYCO Interactive

The Association of Principle Youth and Community Officers are heading for constitutional change. And they’re also embracing new technology – with an online consultation for their members about the proposed changes. I’ve been setting up and moderating the consultation blog, and will be at their upcoming conference to do some live reporting.

Blog posts to expect: A follow up to 7 Reasons Why Youth Workers Should be Blogging with ‘n reasons for the heads of integrated youth services to set up their blogs’

Building Democracy
I’ve pitched a few ideas into the Building Democracy pool – and over the last 72 hours have working with Justin Kerr-Stevens trying to turn this one – about participation through social network sites and across different platforms – into a fully fledged application to the competition.

Blog posts to expect: using mobile phones as the start of a pathway to participation

Moving House
It happened a while back – but I’m not sure I mentioned it on the blog. After a two year stint in the Midlands, I’m now based back in Oxford. And based near a lot of good coffee shops if you are ever interested in meeting for a cuppa. 

Blog posts to expect: (see below)

Oxford City Fairtrade Coalition
And in moving back to Oxford I’ve got back in touch with the great folk of the Oxford City Fairtrade Coalition. We’re just in the process of re-applying for Fairtrade City status – so if you’re Oxford based any know any where in the city using Fairtrade (specifically community groups and businesses using Fairtrade products in company canteens etc) please do drop me a line.

Blog posts to expect: something about fairtrade in Oxford

Sex Sense Website
Years ago I designed this. You can see it’s from an earlier age. Well – time has come to revamp the website of Portsmouth’s sexual health advice service for young people – and this time instead of a web strategy I’m exploring the idea of a content strategy – creating widgets, video clips and advertising copy to get the message about free support and advice for young people out beyond the confines of the single site.

Blog posts to expect: more on the idea of a content strategy, 

New Blog
If you’re a regular reader you might notice I’ve revamped the blog. After a good few hours of hacking I’ve finally transferred from Drupal to WordPress (Drupal 5 to WordPress 2.6) and I’ll be doing more to tidy it all up soon.

Blog posts to expect: quick reflections on a hacky way to move from Drupal to WordPress.

That’s it for now….
I can’t promise all those blog posts will be here next time you look – nor that I won’t hit another short blogging hiatus – but, if any those topics interest you and you’re not already subscribed – please do look for the subscribe links around the blog.

And if you are a regular reader – do please feel welcome (nay, feel positively invited!) to let me know what posts you might like to see here in the future? Are the posts previewed about the sort you subscribed for? What sort of learning do you want to see shared here?

More soon – and I promise there won’t be a month’s wait this time…

A veritable festival of youth and social media

The 26th and 27th September should see a veritable festival of events linked to youth participation, youth work and social media down in London. In fact, I wish I'd seen all the connections earlier to brand the whole lot as a festival.
Here's what is coming up:

  • Research launch of the Youth Work and Social Networking report (26th Sept, 2.45pm till 4.45pm) – the work that seems to have taken over a large chunk of the last six months of my time. Along with Pete Cranston, I'll be sharing what we've discovered, providing both a theoretical and practical account of how youth workers and other professionals working with young people can support young people to navigate the risks and make the most of the opportunities of online social networking, and opening up a discussion of different uses of social network sites in youth work.
    The research launch is free to attend, and if you want more details or to reserve your place, get in touch with

  • UK Youth Online open space event (27th Sept, 10am till 5pm, followed by a trip to a local pub) – on Saturday 27th we'll be opening up the agenda even more to explore all things linked to young people and social media. Thanks to the kind support of DIUS this free event will provide space for practitioners, academics, innovators, funders, managers and others interested in the impact of new technology on work with young people to gather together and explore a wide range of issues through short presentations, discussions and demonstrations.
    For more details about UK Youth Online check out the network website, where you can also register to take part.

Please do pass details of all these events on to anyone who you think might be interested.


And what if you can't make the 26th and 27th September, or if London is a bit of a trek for you? Well, get in touch and let's get planning for some more local festivals exploring youth, technology and social media…