Recommendations for practice, policy makers, and digital youth project funders

Youth workers should be provided with additional support, training, and tools for social digital youth projects facilitation and evaluation. The results of this study indicate that youth workers in Scotland are keen to utilise new technologies in their work with young people and are aware of the importance of digital skills and literacy provision. It is important to note that informal learning environments play a crucial role in supporting young people’s transition into adulthood, both in offline and online contexts. In the context of continually emerging and shifting nature of digital youth culture, many Scottish youth workers have no choice but to become digital youth workers.

 

Important work and research on digital youth culture and digital youth work is already taking place in Scotland (Youth Link, 2018) and in Europe (Harvey, 2016). However, the results of this indicate that while youth workers in Scotland are encouraged and rewarded for the use of technologies in their practice, they are also struggling to analyse and understand technologies’ impact on young people and their youth work practice. It might be argued that funding is available to facilitate digital youth work projects, but there is limited guidance or support to understand it. Therefore, additional development of existing or additional training and support services for digital youth workers across Scotland is recommended.

 

The usefulness of outcome-led and metrics-based funding of digital youth projects in Scotland should be examined. This could be achieved by facilitating a space and time for open and judgement-free dialogue between policy makers, funders, youth workers, and young people. The results of this project indicate that current evaluation systems do not provide young people and youth workers with opportunities for authentic reflection on their digital experience. It is recommended that policy makers and funders place less emphasises on quantified and written forms of evidence evaluation. Most importantly, however, is the consideration of social impact evaluation as a holistic and serendipitous learning process for all stakeholders, whereby positive and negative social impacts are examined and celebrated.

Please contact me if you'd like to learn more about recommendations for academia and future research. 

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Dr Alicja Pawluczuk

Alicja’s research and community education practice focuses on digital inclusion, digital, and data literacy. She is a founding director of the digital inclusion and digital storytelling collective Digital Beez. Through the use of participatory, critical and multidisciplinary approaches, she aims to examine the power dynamics associated with the digital and data divides.

Alicja’s digital inclusion practice is rooted in the areas of democratic education and community development. She has extensive experience in digital inclusion community projects design, facilitation, and evaluation. Both her community engagement practice and her research are characterised by the use of experimental and interactive methodologies. Over the last 10 years, her work has been responding and changing in accordance with the contexts of digitalization of society. Alicja has a track record of peer-reviewed publications and cross-disciplinary public engagement activities. Both her research and practice are characterised with the use of experimental and creative methods. She has managed and contributed to digital literacy and digital inclusion and learning projects with the United Nations, the Council of Europe, and Erasmus.

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