Exploring youth engagement in a digital age
Below is a summary of the presentations that took place and some of the key points and questions for the question and answer session with the panel.
Opening up was Stephen Carrick-Davies @StephenCarrickD http://www.carrick-davies.com/ with a presentation about “Munch, Poke, Ping” and the challenges of effectively engaging vulnerable young people online. Stephen shared some of the videos that some of the young people involved in the project worked with him to develop which are available on the website. Stephen made some good analogies about how we deal with young people being online, one of them was about “air bagging” young people and another that stands out was the image of a man trying to do twister on a mobile – relating to the fact that we are tying ourselves in knots blocking and filtering to protect young people online. From looking at the #smyp2012 tweets it’s clear to see that Stephen’s 3R’s model of “risk, resilience and reputation” online really resonated with the audience as an approach for supporting young people to be online safely but also supporting them to develop the skills and tools to do this for themselves.
Next up was myself (@tashaturb) and Katie Bacon (@Katie_Bacon) representing Online Youth Outreach and Digital Engagement. Katie opened up by setting the context for the courses that we’ve developed. The massive increase in youth unemployment over recent years and the need for digital literacy as this may become a future market for the UK. There has been an increase in access to PCs and the internet and the use of mobile phones has massively increased over recent years. This presents a challenge in terms of understanding how young people access the internet and social media, this is then heightened when you consider that young people tend to “platform hop” i.e. moving between handheld devices and gadgets and also the types of social media that they use. Therefore when thinking about engaging with young people online as professionals we need to take all of these variables into consideration – do you know where your young people spend most of their time online? Do you know if they would be happy to share this “space” with you as a professional? Will you need to use different platforms to engage with different young people?
Katie then shared about the Social Media Careers Guidance Course a social media course but with the fundamental aim of providing excellent careers & guidance advice, personal and professional development. This course is about recognising the value of digital literacy and using it to support young people’s personal and professional development, enabling young people to move from being digital consumers to digital creators. I then presented about the Digital Associates course, a training the trainer course that enables safe positive use of social media within a range of education and young people’s settings able to offer practical support and advice to colleagues and young people. Training 2 staff to become the “go to” people within your organisation in relation to social media. I then shared 2 examples of how digital media is being used successfully in educational settings in different ways. Leicester City Council’s “Bring your own device” scheme http://tleblog.leicester.gov.uk/?p=299 and Cookham Wood Young Offenders Digital Media Creator course http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-kent-18625170 showing successful use of digital media.
The next presentation was from Matthew Pearson (@mattpearson) from Steljes Smartboards who explored demystifying smart boards and how they are an asset in the digital age. Matthew went through some of the key features of the SMART software and how it can be used to enhance presentations, help groups working on collaborative projects and even reduce the need to travel between venues with data conferencing features. Something that really interesting was the interactive element of smart boards and how basically the board acts as a mouse does for your computer, so essentially it’s an interface that has many functions. At their best they are used to facilitate the creation of knowledge not just the sharing of it.
The final presentation came from YPFI (@YPFI) http://www2.elfridacamden.org.uk/services/services-for-young-disabl... a team of disabled young people who campaign to improve the lives of young disable people in London. The group shared the impact that social media has had on their lives. Earlier Stephen had talked about social media being a great “leveller” for disabled people, enabling more opportunities for communication where they previously may have not existed. The group gave some really good examples of how it had impacted positively on their lives – i.e. when the effort involved in meeting physically was too great or how it makes communication for deaf people easier – much better than having to ask your mum to organise a date for you! However there are still many barriers to access, such as social media providers needing to provide much better speaking tools and subtitles for videos.
The final section of the night was the panel question and answer session. The panel was made up of the YPFI group, Katie Bacon, Kat Cormack (@Kitty Cormack) a , Abhay Adhikari (@gopaldass) Ben Wisdom-Quieros (Mr WisdomQuieros) and John Galloway.
A number of questions were fired at the panel but I’ve highlighted what I felt were the main discussion points:
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