Blogging for and about Youth Work and Young People

Archive for the ‘Blogs’ Category

Young People from West Sussex at Parliment

On 4 November 2011, Members of the UK Youth Parliament  (known as MYPs) sat in the House of Commons and voted on which of  five issues ought to become the priority campaign for the UK Youth Parliament in the coming year. 

The Youth MPs attending from West Sussex were:

  • Liam Dallamore – Ifield Community College, Crawley.
  • Lola Cole – Steyning Grammar School.
  • Dominic Stannard – Worthing College.
  • Samuel Theodoridi – St Philip Howard Catholic School. 

As part of our ongoing development for the West Sussex County Council website for young people Yourspace we are encouraging young people to blog about their experiences. Read here for Samuel Theodoridis’ views of the day.

Digital Media, Children and Young People

This summer I really think that we’ve started to integrate digital media into our work across the Youth Service and spread the message of what we do wider. For example, one of the by unintended by products of the young people blogging from India has been the impact on not only on them but also on their communities. Below are a few examples of how blogging has been going inter generational!

Blogging in India

Blogging in India

“Nanny pat been blogging every day and is as proud of you as we are.”

“Nan`s here tonight she`s very proud of  you and has really enjoyed seeing your pictures,teaching her how to blog!!!”

“Aren’t you impressed I am blogging? Look forward to seeing you. Love Nan and Grandadxxx”

“Will get dad to blog tomorrow”

Young people involved in the Inspire India programme all come from targeted backgrounds and it has been amazing to see the communal response to their experiences. Families, carers, workers and friends have been following their adventures, their ups and downs and giving them a lot of encouragement. When we have had to contact individuals we have frequently had comments about groups of relatives and friends sitting around the computer to post comments or to see what has been happening.

As well as this the young people in india have been learning how to use the video and digital cameras to capture ‘the moment’ and then spending time describing their experiences. Many of them have had negative experiences of writing at school however appear much happier to write on the computer and using text language, or textese simplifies communication for them. (Although I have to admit that sometimes I find it difficult to interpret! :)

Young people involved in hosting the chinese on the china exchange programme have been writing up their experience and reflections on the china blog and I’m hoping to post some video feedback from some of their discussions shortly.

As well as this young carers involved in the Summer Camps during the last two weeks have been keeping video diaries. (Again, watch this space for some examples of what they have been up to). We hope that this will develop into an ongoing piece of work with the young carers group that will give them an opportunity to share their experiences as young carers with others.

So……..we are starting to bring together the hardware, experience, knowledge and creativity to help us start taking toddler steps in using digital and social media in youth work. Whilst this is taking a long time I feel that with ongoing hard work and intiaitive we will be able to further develop this work and embed it more fully into our practice.

Countdown to Inspire India overseas

We’re in the final run up to the overseas part of the Inspire India Programme. I talked about this Targeted Youth Support programme more fully back in February in this post. Last Monday I went up to London on a quick return visit to get the final visas for the last few members of the group. We’ve been really successful in keeping nearly all of the original group of young people who have made enormous efforts to get themselves ready for the experience. 30 young

West Sussex Youth Service Inspire India 2009

West Sussex Youth Service Inspire India 2009

people from across West Sussex have been involved in the taster weekend and then less than 4 weeks ago we had the Challenge Weekend residential where they were camping at our campsite in Stedham. During the weekend they hiked, cooked for themselves and learnt more about Indian Culture. Working with Staff from Raleigh and West Sussex Youth Service they tested out kit (rucksacks, water ‘bladders’, boots) and also got to know each other better.

Everyone has been preparing for going and on Monday we are having our kit check and ‘launch’ to wish the group good luck. The group will be checking in their kit and then turning up on Friday with their hand luggage ready to go! We had a last minute drop out yesterday (even though we have been taking to them all regularly and offering lots of support on the telephone and by text.) So we’re now just trying to sort out a last minute replacement with quick visa runs on Monday and vaccinations as required…..let’s hope they make the plane!

Netbooks have been brought and charging them solved, we hope! So, if you’re keen to keep up to date with the group and their adventures then please do tune into the West Sussex Inspire India Blog to find out how they’re getting on.

Chinese Exchange Group Returns!

Courtesy of Tama Leaver

Courtesy of Tama Leaver

Wow! At last our Chinese partners, the Shandong Youth Federation, have confirmed that they will be coming to the UK on the return leg of the Youth Exchange we’ve organised! Some of you may recall that last year was the first opportunity we had to take a group of young people to China. They blogged about their experiences as well as creating a short film that they showed at the beginning of this year to a wide audience. We have always been aiming to host an incoming group and this will be the first time that our partners are sending young people instead of a group of youth work staff. As ever communications have been difficult (something we are hoping to clarify when the group is here) and it has taken some time to get confirmation of their visit.

Two of the young people from last autumns group are organising the programme for the Chinese group, including homestays, and we are hoping to blog on the West Sussex Youth Service Chinese Exchange Blog whilst they are here. So if you’re keen to keep an eye on our exploits then please log in from 3rd August onwards.

Social Media from India

Courtesy of Raleigh

Courtesy of Raleigh

One of our current challenges for the Inspire India Programme is how we keep computers and digital cameras etc charged up in remote areas with very limited electricity. Working in conjunction with Raleigh we will have 30 young people and 5 staff out in Southern India near Mysore. They will be split into 2 groups after their initial training and be involved in building toilets in remote tribal villages. Following this they will have some more specific cultural visits and then take part in 3 trekking projects.

During the time we hope they will have the opportunity to blog about their experiences, they will no doubt already be taking photos and video. We are developing this to support the experience and their reflection as this is an area that worked really well with the group that went to China. Using what we learnt in China we are looking to have a couple of netbooks, a dongle and encourage the group to email a key contact here in the UK who will do the uploading to the blog etc.

As mentioned earlier our challenge is charging the hardware. The Flip cameras will work fine for the video blogs as they run off aa batteries and have USB plugs. So my next task is to look up what is out there that might work……….although perhaps you can point me in the right direction!!!!!

Expanding the potential of social media

 Courtesy of 10ch

Thanks to 10ch

I find it interesting to see how, when discussing social media with others, the almost immediate desire is to use Facebook or Bebo or other Social Networking sites (SNS) to do youth work (or at least support their work). When you look at this in more detail it is mainly because this is a forum that colleagues have heard and know a bit about. Digging even deeper many colleagues aren’t necesarily too sure what they will do with it and how this might expand their youth work.  Mike Amos Simpson picked this up when feeding back about the UKYouthOnline Unconference and made some interesting comments here about youth workers obsession with SNS and limiting ourselves by just focusing on these aspects and not thinking widely enough about how we might maximise the potential of the web and technology. It’s also picked up on the comments section of his post here.

Whilst I’m interested in how we might use SNS in youth work I think you will probably have picked up that I am more excited by how we might use social media in it’s wholeness to support, develop and create the ways in which we work with young people. Mike’s idea of Digital Youth Work is an example of that.

I guess this is why I started out in blogging and then used my understanding of the possibilities with this to encourage some colleagues to try it and look at how they can incorporate blogging as a tool to support various areas of youth work (including recorded and accredited outcomes!). Through my journeys around the blogosphere and the internet in general I come across many examples of how over in the formal education sector so many of our colleagues are / have already been exploring this area. I have been following the Education and Curriculum Masters course for teachers run by Dr. Alec Couros, a professor of educational technology and media at the Faculty of Education, University of Regina . This course encourages teachers to explore and blog about what they are learning with regards to digital media and how it can support teaching in the classroom. I would love to see something like this for youth workers in training (or perhaps there already is and I just don’t know it!).

A few of the other education blogs concerning new technology and its application that I follow are:-

Mr Mayo who is middle school Language Arts teacher in Maryland

Vicki Davis who has been involved in the flatclassroom project and digiteen

The Edublogger

Perhaps if we set up some sort of project to work on online, or share info we could do some more discussion / learning online. Again, in the education sector there are various online forums where educators get together to talk about a subject at a given time and date. Maybe if there is enough interest this is something we could try. (I’d have to get up to speed with Skype and Twitter I feel but I’d give it a go if it meant we moved the ‘community’ forward.) What do you think?

One Year On

We have just had our youth service conference and it dawned on me that a year ago at the 2008 conference I was so inspired by DKs presentation from Mediasnackers that I decided to start blogging…..and what an adventure it’s been! Today I was at a meeting when someone asked me if I was the  ‘billybean’ writing this blog (which they would have known if they’d checked out the about page!) I admitted that I was although I have to say that for some reason or other  I am still somewhat embarrassed when I admit to blogging. I”m not quite sure why….sometimes I think people think that you have to be a bit odd or computery to blog, or perhaps you’ve got no friends etc. Naturally only a part of this is true!!:)

Courtesy of stuart~'sMy blogging adventure has been a wide ranging and fascinating one and has really opened up my eyes to a whole new resource that I can use in developing youth services here in West Sussex. I mentioned how it had impacted on me in this post here six months ago. I get frustrated on a daily basis that I am not more computer literate as I love the designs and looks of other blogs and wish I could add more ‘bells and whistles’  (Mikes, Tims and Jons are just some examples) but I guess the key thing isn’t so much the design as what you’re writing.

More than writing though is (more…)

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