Exploring youth engagement in a digital age
The Blackberry project and its context:
The "I Speke Out Project" is a multi agency approach to e-safety across the South of Liverpool. Speke is an area of high social deprivation and in 2011 it was noticed that a large number of children had recieved Blackberry Handheld devices as Christmas presents. The youngest being child being five years old. We wondered whether parents fully understood what they were giving to their children and whether there was a need for education.
I approached Liverpool Direct Limited (LDL), which is a partnership between Liverpool City Council and British Telecom, about the possibility of them providing some Blackberry devices as a school based project. To my surprise they agreed and we were given ten Blackberry Pearl devices free of charge for a two month project.
The project concentrated on Year 4 pupils and took place in the May and June of 2011 with three schools. The objectives of the project were to teach responsible use, digital footprint and social responsibility. Put simply, if somebody said that it wasn't ok to take their photograph - then it wasn't ok.
Responsible use policies and lesson plans were prepared - all of which can be found at http://ispekeout.co.uk/orgs/handheld-devices/.
The project aimed to engage parents so that they coudl gain a better understanding of the technology that they had given or were contemplating giving to their children.
The project was a success and based on this it is intended to re-run the project - this time with more devices, over a longer time period (a year) and reaching a greater age range with independent accademic evaluation.
Due to the age of the children which were the focus for this project we were unable to look at issues of posting to social media and sexting as this would have been inappropriate. In the renewed project it is intended to explore the impact of peer support, possibly with the development of an app. Discussions with young people have identified the "Talk to Frank" concept of questions asked to a "robot" which picked up on key words and responded as being a possible way foward.
Facebook have offered support for the app developer and to publish the project's findings on their website. It is hoped that the project will be able to work with Stephen Carrick Davies and Charlotte Aynsley in developing the next steps to ensure that the project is as effective as possible. Watch this space!
Add a Comment