Getting the ball rolling for a 2009 youth work online unconference

Last year around 50 of us got together one Saturday in September at the offices of DIUS and had a great day exploring all aspect of digital media and youth engagement through the UK Youth Online unconference.

It’s about time we started planning to do it again – so if you head over to the Youth Work Online network* you will find an opportunity to get in quick to make sure we hold it on a day that works for you – and to find out how you can get involved in the organising.

More details & information coming after Easter.

(*The network was renamed Youth Work Online from from UK Youth Online when we realised that it was getting confused with charity UK Youth with whom we have no links)

Quick links: Participation Works & OpenGov

OpenGov Event – 22nd April
On the 22nd April I’m going to be speaking and taking part in a panel at OpenGov which describes itself as:

A practical one-day conference to discuss the challenges and opportunities of social technologies to enable engagement, collaboration, and transparency in government.

I’ll be drawing on learning from our work with new technologies and youth engagement what engagement, collaboration and transparency look like when you include young people in the picture.

Registration is now open – and if you sneakily use one of the links below you can get yourself a specially discounted ticket (just say Tim’s Blog sent you…)

For Government employees £115 (normal price £150)
For Start-ups, Sole traders & Independents – £55 (normal price £75)

New Participation Works Website
Participation Works have just launched their new website
– with a much clearer layout – and new features for members of the Participation Works Network for England (PWNE). In particular, if you’re a PWNE member (it’s free to join…), make sure you log-in to take a look at the new Participation Works blog, currently running as a trial project just for PWNE members – but, if all goes well, to be opened to the wider world soon…

Plus – if you’ve struggled to find information in the Participation Works resource library in the past – the new resource library makes it a lot easier to dig into a great knowledge base around participation – including lots of new video content.

(And, I have to say, having interim managed the launch of the last Participation Works site which I inherited running the horrible DotNetNuke CMS, it’s great to see the new version is made up of Drupal goodness)

One page guides on scribd

[Summary: all the one page guides now available on scribd]

After trying out Scribd to share my recent One Page Guide to Twitter I thought it might be handy to upload all the past guides. So – over here you will find all (currently 21) of the one page guides – including a new Blogging with WordPress introduction and a guide to registering a domain name created as part of a series I’m working on for local campaigning organisations.

Perhaps now it’s time to work on a one page guide to Scribd…

Five-to-nine Volunteers

It’s always good when I discover one of the long term ToExplore items sitting at the top-right corner of my white board in the offices is actually already being done by someone else.

One of the items that’s been there for a while is trying to explore the idea of ‘Five-to-Nine Volunteering‘ in more depth – exploring how micro-volunteering tasks could be completed by commuters on the train or tube, or people sitting around with little to do.

Well, thanks to a post from Tessy I’ve just discovered The Extraordinaries – working on exactly that sort of mobile micro-volunteering concept – and getting close to launch.

Best of all, as the SlideShare below shows, The Extraordinaries is not just a project about crowd-sourcing small tasks, but the team involved see it as a hook to engage people in longer term volunteering.

Climate change, poverty and empowerment

Today is Blog Action Day. And I’ve spent most of the day up at the Oxfam offices in Oxford working on the website for a new campaign project aiming to really raise the positive debate about Climate Change in the media when world leaders meet in Poland this December.

Why, you may ask, when this year’s Blog Action Day is asking people to write about the gross injustice of widespread Poverty in our world, am I starting a post about Climate Change? Surely I’m a year late. And, what’s more, some people might (indeed do) say, ‘Why is Oxfam working on a Climate Change campaign website? Oxfam is about alleviating poverty not about stopping Climate Change!’.

Well – I was a first curious, when, as a member of Oxfam’s Youth Board I discovered the charity was putting a large amount of it’s campaigning effort into climate change – but then I saw the Sister’s on the Planet films – and the whole thing became a lot clearer.

The challenges of alleviating global poverty are compounded by climate change. Climate change hits the poorest first and hardest. And those in poverty are the least empowered to act. Which is why we have to understand the global issues we face as connected. But the connections between poverty, disempowerment and climate change also offer us space for change and space for action. And action has never been more urgent.

00256299.jpgBTW: that last link is to a new book out from Oxfam – ‘The Urgency of Now’ – based on Duncan Green’s masterpiece ‘From Poverty to Power‘. You can read it online, or order in hard copy for £4 or so – but if you’d like a free copy, drop me a line and I should be able to get one or two copies to you…

A round up from the Youth Work Web

Since UK Youth Online unConference two new youth blogs have made it onto the scene. Welcome to:

Tom and John join a growing number of youth work bloggers – and I’m hoping after the 2008 APYCO (Association of Principle Youth and Community Officers) conference we’ll be able to tell of a number of youth service leads also joining the youth work blogosphere. It’s great to be able to see so many conversations emerging between fired up informal educators and participation people.

In other interesting posts from the Youth Work web:

I’m sure there has been loads more going on that I’ve missed. But I’ll leave you with this clip recorded by Katie Bacon about running a Social Network Site in a youth service.

It’s not a polished recording – just five minutes of fantastic shared learning on informal education – and the sort of quick video it would be great to see a lot more of.

Find more videos like this on UK Youth Online

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…

Chain Reaction: tapping into the innovation potential of young people

Chain Reaction is a conference/collaboration/networking event taking place in London from the 17th to the 18th November this year – part of the Prime Ministers Council on Social Action. It's aiming to bring together people with ideas for positive action on social change to 'Connect', 'Collaborate' and 'Commit' to action.

And I was rather encouraged to see that in response to the question 'Who should come' they make explicit that this isn't just for the established great and good of the emerging social innovation conference circuit.

Chain Reaction is for social leaders — people who, regardless of where they work or live or how old they are, see a social problem and do something about it.


But not only that – they back it up with the fee structure. Take a look at this:

Category 1 day 1 day (inc. VAT) 2 days 2 days (inc. VAT)
Business £397 £466.48 £715 £839.66
Government / Public Sector £247 £290.23 £445 £522.41
Third Sector £97 £113.98 £175 £205.16
Under 21 £10 £11.75 £18 £21.15


£18 for a ticket if you are under 21 – as opposed to £715 for a business. That is getting the incentives and the priorities right!



So if you know young people who have been exploring positive ideas for action on social change – whose energy, enthusiasm and insights are much needed by events like this – let them know about it. With the wealth of experience in running projects and taking action being built through the Youth Opportunity Fund and Youth Banks, and through many other youth led projects – there are plenty of people out there who the PMs Council on Social Action really need as part of their Chain Reaction…