Blogging for and about Youth Work and Young People

Posts tagged ‘blogging’

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.

Inspire India Staff Review (All Phases to date)

Finished Sanitation Uit

Finished Sanitation Uit

Last night I met with the Inspire India Staff Team to review the programme to date. It was a really interesting evening with lots of discussion, laughs and challenges. We are going to put together the information to date and I will post that later on. A few thoughts though that made me think and really struck home were:-

  • We had a long discussion as to whether the lead in time ought to be longer and why. Views varied from no, the timing was right and we may have lost some of the young people if it had been longer to yes, it should be much longer so that the young people know how hard it’s going to be and will drop out if they’re not committed enough. (Even though of 30 young people who went out to India we had only 2 returns, one of whom was a late notice replacement and wasn’t entirely versed in what the scheme was about). What came through from the discussions were the ‘judgments’ being made by the staff on which young people had benefitted from the experience (regardless of what the young people themselves were saying about their learning) and how much of this was related to the staffs own values and morals.  This proved to be quite a challenging and interesting conversation and I think all of us went away still mulling over the ideas presented.
  • The young peoples’ very positive reception of the whole blogging concept (even though we had done very little prep with them on this). The groups overseas worked with young people differently but both sets of staff felt that blogging supported and gave added structure and purpose to the experience.
  • The Community aspect that came across through the blogging including some very postive affirmations for a group of young people who probably don’t receive so much praise and interest. (And the fact that it is a permenant record that they can go back to whenever they want.)
  • The challenges of working in partnership – which we inherently knew would be the case and worked hard to minimise but weren’t as successful as we would have hoped to have been.
  • And finally, that all the staff still felt that it had been one of the most challenging and developmental experiences of their careers…..and were still keen to do more!!!

Some time was also put aside to put together the young peoples’s follow up and review in a weeks time. It will be interesting meeting up with them and seeing what they think now they’re back here. They will also be choosing what they want to do for the volunteering phase and finishing off the ASDAN International Award which they have been working on.

International Youth Work and Blogging thriving in West Sussex!

It’s summer time and we’re very busy here at the moment. The group flying out to India left in high spirits yesterday and already their Blog is getting a lot of hits. We’re looking forward to starting to get the young people’s comments and views from India soon. So far the technology that we’ve set up appears to be working so lets’ hope it holds up to the next few weeks. The group have 2 Dell netbooks, 4 flip video cameras, 2 dongles (from India) and a few static digital cameras. (As well as a couple of hard drives.) During their time in India they are working towards the ASDAN International Award. Keeping the blog and recording their experiences will go a long way to evidencing their learning without having to do lots of paperwork. (Although they also have some booklet type diary prompts to support both staff and young people.)

West Sussex Inspire India 2009 group at Heathrow

West Sussex Inspire India 2009 group at Heathrow

On Monday a group of 12 young people arrive from China with 3 youth work staff. Colleagues and the young people who went to China last year have been working hard to ensure that we have a full programme organised for them, which we will also hopefully be blogging about on the West Sussex Youth Service Chinese Exchange Blog that was set up last year.

So – a busy time ahead both abroad and in the UK once our Summer Activity Programmes kick off. We’ll let you know how our blogging experiences continue soon.

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…)

Blogging and Wiltshire Youth Service

A colleague and myself found ourselves in rural Wiltshire the week before last thanks to David Whelwell. I’ve conversed with David online both here and also through other online forums. He followed our China Exchange Blog and invited us to talk to colleagues from Wiltshire Youth Service about our blogging experiences. It was a really helpful and useful experience as we had the opportunity to truly reflect on our experience of blogging with young people. I’ve been trying to make sure that I keep using video etc to support this blog so the short animoto video below shows a little of what we did. (I’m still learning what photos to take and haven’t yet worked out how to add video to this as I’ve seen others do).

Anyway, back to the day itself… what was key was the sharing of our experiences with others and hearing what youth workers were currently trying out in Wiltshire. There were some interesting discussions and sharing of information. What struck me during these discussions was the need to have an interest and be prepared to have a go with digital media even if you’re not too sure where it’s going to take you! One definate  ‘take away’ for me was their investment in using online resources for training youth workers, something I think is essential for developing digital skills and confidence in our staff and that I will be sharing with our training staff.

Initial Reflections on Blog by young people in China

Well, I’ve more or less had the final blogs through from China and thought I’d just share my initial thoughts about how we’ve used this tool so far for this experience. We will be ongoing with the blog (hopefully) in the future but it’s been a real learning experience for all involved and I have no doubt we will be writing this up, at least briefly, to help inform our future practice.

My colleague, Maralyn, has written a thoughtful post here on our West Sussex Youth Exchange – China 2008 blog. I think that one of our key learnings for the future was to throughly investigate whether there are any potential blocks on the hosting site you use for the blog. However, in saying this I think that it has been useful having the blogs come through as emails as I have done a few limited edits. This has been important as we were publicising the blog to county council members etc. and needed to ensure that the material was appropriate. I think that it is important to think about what audience the blog is going out to and how this might be managed. This would be especially important in any form of Crisis Management as the immediacy of the blog and what may be being posted may not be ‘on message’. I had a few interesting internal debates about the integrity of editing the young people’s blogs however this was minimal and hopefully did not detract from the gist of what the young people were saying. There is a similar discussion to this here on Youth Work Online . Another time around I would discuss this more in advance with the group.

West Sussex Youth Exchange Group - China 2008

West Sussex Youth Exchange Group - China 2008

The next point is that blogging takes time!!! I think those that blog know this however I think that we do need to think about how we as youth workers build this into our programmes when using blogging as a reflective tool. I am looking forward to discussing this with the group and seeing whether there would have been any difference if there had been group blogs, or individuals having a day each to blog? I’m also interested in how the videoing turns out and how this balances with the blogs as they have been recording a lot of their thoughts on video too which for some might be an easier medium.

Well, these are just quick thoughts and I will no doubt be posting more. Thank you to those that have been following the China blog, the young people have enjoyed your comments and also been inspired by the number of views they’ve been getting. If you have any suggestions for the future or any other thoughts on the blog please do leave a comment below as we’d love to get any feedback.

Blogging from China…

…is proving interesting! It appears that our WordPress site is blocked so our foray into blogging with young people has taken a slightly different turn with the group writing their blogs and then emailing them to me to post along with their photos. It seems to be working, so if you’re interested check it out here – West Sussex Youth Service - China Exchange 2008.

West Sussex Youth Service at the Great Wall of China

West Sussex Youth Service at the Great Wall of China

APYCO Blogging!

It’s the APYCO Conference – Creating Shared Space, making integration work - and there’s some interesting comments and proposals on changes within the association. How do I know this? Well, in case you hadn’t picked it up – the Association of Principal Youth and Community Officers has now started a blog, with the major support of Tim Davies. So if you’re interested in youth work and what they’re saying you might want to check it out. It’s a great way of bringing more of the youth work community on line. Who knows, perhaps more of them will start blogging!

The usual blogging will be resumed shortly!

After a couple of weeks of enjoying our summer weather (!!) I’ll be writing again as usual in the very near future!

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