Address innovations gaps in the back-office

Not all digital innovations have to be about directly using technology with young people. Putting better tools in the hands of frontline workers, and intermediaries who work with young people can create the biggest benefit.

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  1. We know relationships with trusted adults are important for youth work outcomes, so give the trusted adults the information they need at their fingertips. Lots of digital innovations focus directly on the end-user, but forget that there are lots of opportunities to improve the internal processes of how youth serving project work. 

    "Part of this area needs to address helping key workers in education, social & youth services to become digitally equipped, literate & confident in the relevant areas.  I can’t count the times where barriers to digital engagement have been found to lie within the non-profit/public sector (in terms of skills, access, & confidence), rather than at grassroots community level." Via @owl_food & @hi8ussouth
  2. Youth work in a digital age

    Youth work is changing and in response to the new ways that digital technology is being used and accessed by young people, youth professionals and services are needing to adapt to stay useful and relevant. 

    Tim Davies' blog on youth work in a digital age explains more about the growing change and how youth services need to respond. 
  3. Katie Bacon uses her blog to identify the key skills needed by youth workers in an age when young people’s lives are increasingly mediated through digital technology, social media and social networks.
  4. Youth Work Online is a space where youth work professionals can find out more about digital technology, its impact on youth work in terms of policy and practice, sharing updates and developments on best practice and attend events, training sessions and use online forums.
  5. The changing 'online' landscape now and in the future

    While digital innovations shouldn't replace the physical world services, online platforms can get needed information to young people and provide the support they need. 
  6. Surrey Borough Council recently put their careers, advice and guidance service for young people online and Working Links
  7. In 2010, the Department for Culture, Media and Sport's report into the future of library services put digital innovations such as lending, digital engagement, communication and digital content at the heart of community services including positive activities for youth.  
  8. A recent article in The Guardian says 'there is a large and growing body of evidence that shows that technology can transform people's experience of education. The clever use of technology lets students study at their own pace, using interactive, collaborative, conversational teaching modules, supported by teachers who can tailor their support to individuals' needs.' 

  9. Getting the professional house in order

    Providing training, support, information and knowledge sharing to youth work professionals and those working with young people is vital in ensuring that front-end engagement with young people is safe, effective and meaningful.
  10. WISE KIDS are an organisation that provides training programmes and consultancy in New Media, Internet and Mobile Technologies, Internet Proficiency, Literacy and Safety to young people, parents, communities, educators and businesses. 
  11. Connecting more people with the web is a vital and there is a close link between disadvantaged young people and the lack of digital skills and support. This opens up the space for innovation to train the back-office staff to ensure they have the skills, knowledge and creativity (beyond just setting up websites) to engage with young people. 

    "There is potentially some good opportunity for work where young people could shine as the teachers in the area of digital, through collaborative, participative media projects within communities and across multiple ‘sectors’." - Via @owl_food & @hi8ussouth
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