In episode 2 of the podcast, some more examples were shared, such as how the Discord platform in Finland helped to involve gaming and gamers, the latter constituting a target group seldomly featuring in youth work proposals.
They also explained how this knowledge and these practices were then left aside when it once again became possible to meet in person, but when another wave of lockdown came and they returned to it, they found messages and requests waiting:
These spaces need to be continually checked and it requires time and effort.
The involvement of a younger generation of youth workers is helping to overcome some blocks, as they understand better than the previous generations the potential hidden in digital media and environments.
They also understand better that online and offline are not counterparts, but two different approaches to be used in different contexts.
We learned that there is a specificity to online environments and one cannot simply transfer online what they used to do offline: there is a need to plan and design environments, so that participants are more included.
2020 has been an accelerator period for the use of digital media and environments, and now it is time to ask where we are going from here.
A lot has been invested in recent years in supporting youth workers, and it is time to invest again in the how-to; organisations and institutions are learning how to best host online meetings, so the challenge now faced by youth work is the same as society’s as a whole;
Our guests shared that training methods, tools and most of all visions and inspirations have been at the core of youth work development to date and will continue to be so during this phase.
In the long run, an increase in youth worker competences in design thinking could be an interesting development and way of co-designing activities able to meet the actual needs of young people.
We could also take inspiration from the inclusive practices which the tech sector is developing, such as the inclusion of more girls. Different fields could collaborate on this; competences and skills needed to deal with these new requirements, such as those in the Universal Design approach, could be worth adding to youth workers’ training.
In Estonia they are now discussing personalised learning paths to combine formal and non formal education, going beyond the classical distinction between the two sectors.