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.
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