Anni Marquard, Head of centre, CfDP The project has also aimed to create a forum for knowledge sharing across Europe and alleviate a lacking knowledge about the use of IT – both politically, organisationally, and practically. The result of our project consists of two reports, an international report, and a Danish report. Below, we relate exclusively to our Danish results. The Danish research is based on the responses of 125 professionals by means of digital questionnaires, and conversations with professionals and youth distributed between 6 different focus groups. Generally, our research is characterised by the view that IT and digital media overall are considered to be positive dimensions which can be included in pedagogical and social work. However, we see a need for focusing on a better, long-term qualification of employers, distinct guidelines for strategical work with social and digital media in a professional context, teaching that creates identification with youth – and on a completely low-practical level, that our technology runs smoothly. Based on the Danish report, these are our four recommendations for the international report:   screenagers1   At the end of this article, you will find links to the full report, but below we will shortly elaborate on our four recommendations: IT and media creating dialogue with youth IT and digital/social media are especially applied to ease the communication among professionals, as well as among professionals and youth with an aim to create better dialogue and information. Generally, a lot of good intentions exist concerning the use of IT and media in the field of pedagogical and social work, but it is necessary to create a continuous effort in order to implement such use in the workplace of those who work with children and young people. It is clearly evident from our questionnaires and focus groups that IT and media help create an easy and effective communication. IT and media are primarily used to help create dialogue with youth (planning and communication). Part of the respondents and focus group participants have realised that if they want to establish a successful contact with young people, it will be on young people’s terms, although professionals may feel unfamiliar with, and challenged by, communicating and interacting digitally. A professional framework should be devised In all of the focus groups there was a general consensus that you cannot do without IT and social/digital media when working with young people whose everyday lives today also take place online. In order that the use of IT succeeds, the importance of devising an overall framework with respect to how professionals can utilise IT and social/digital media effectively, is highlighted. Several of our participants experience that they each have to figure out to what extent they wish to incorporate IT and digital/social media. An overall skills upgrading is necessary IT opens up for new opportunities when entering into dialogue with young people, and may give professionals useful information about their young people which they would otherwise not have received. Focus group participants who were teachers, had a positive approach toward the use of IT and media in their work and believed that an overall skills upgrading would be necessary in order to help them use IT and media the most valuable way possible. We must facilitate hands-on courses where professionals will have practical experience with IT, and thus learn how it can be used practically in their work. It is significant to devise an IT-strategy None of the focus group participants had been directly and continuously taught in the use of IT and digital/social media. Participants point out that it may be a problem that IT-courses are often single-scheduled and short, and only consist of presentations which leave out possibilities for practical experience. Therefore, several focus group participants experience that using IT and media is very much a matter of taking things in their own hands, and building on experiences they already have. From the case study on daycare centres, our questionnaires, and focus groups, it is clearly necessary that the skills of professionals are upgraded so that IT and media can gain ground in the field of pedagogical and social work. It is essential that this is not merely a one-man’s project in which fiery souls work as the sustaining force. Professionals must be introduced to various tools according to a given purpose. There is also a need to generally make an effort in the workplace, and it is important to devise an IT-strategy, both within municipal and private organisations in regards to implementation, training, the pedagogical practice, and ethical and legal aspects. Talking to youth is not enough Focus group participants all agreed that it is very important to keep a critical eye on work-related use of IT and media, and reflect on performed options and deselections, also applying to young people. A large number of respondents deemed important that children and young people become aware of their digital identity as well as how they relate to their own behaviour online. Our youth focus groups clearly believe, that before IT is utilised in their education, it must be used continuously, because youth also sense whether their teacher believes integrating IT in lessons is valuable or not. To young people, IT and media can be used as an alternative form of representation, where they can communicate and present content in a space that moves the focus from youth themselves to their digital product. Also, young people could be informed and further activated in regards to web-ethics, so that they become aware that their digital behaviour online may entail consequences and influence other people or themselves. They must be equipped with the right tools to manage their online behaviour, and to handle unpleasant experiences online. This can be achieved by continuously treating these topics – both when episodes arise, and as part of young people’s general education. We got the impression, from our youth focus groups, that it is not enough to talk to young people about online “rules of the road.” They need to actively work with these rules, for instance through cases that create identification. By touching on relevant subject matters that create recognisability, the “rules of the road” become relevant to youth which eventually leads to a greater reflection on their digital behaviour. More information You can find case-stories, see focus group results, and results from questionnaires etc. in our full Danish report. Also, please see produced a larger international report including an infographic summary. screenagers13 About the project: Screenagers is an international project that researches the use of digital and social media in the field of pedagogy. Youth Council of Northern Ireland is part of the project, basing their involvement on their experience of a reluctance toward the use of digital tools in a pedagogical practice. Centre for Digital Youth Care is part of the project alongside Youth Council of Northern Ireland, National Youth Council of Ireland, Finnish Verke, and WienXtra from Austria. ]]>

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