Liz Green discusses new guidance to help community and learning development organisations make good and safe use of digital technology
I’m not a tech expert, but I use computers, smartphones, the internet and social media in my daily life. Over the years I’ve seen a lot of potential for using social media in youth work, but faced various challenges to this. I know colleagues who have been in similar positions and have looked for support to develop the digital aspects of their work.
The last thing people want is a set of prescriptive rules, especially in an environment that is changing so quickly. However a value-based set of principles about how the community learning and development can make the most of technology in line with the ethics and approaches of our work, is something many could buy in to. That’s why we’ve create Digitally Agile, a national framework of guiding principles for the use of digital technology and social media.
What is Digitally Agile?
The Community Learning and Development (CLD) sector comprises community based learning in the broadest sense including youth work, adult learning and community development, family learning, community health and arts activities, practitioners, volunteers and organisations.
The principles of this framework have been developed with key stakeholders across CLD and it is intended to drive forward effective and safe use of digital technology and social media in CLD.
The way we work, our values and ethics mean that we can help people to increase their digital literacy and improve their lives, relationships and voiceLiz Green
Who is it for?
Digitally Agile is designed primarily for CLD organisations and services from the statutory, voluntary and community sectors to sign up to. Organisations don’t need to be meeting all the principles already – signing up is a commitment to aspire to the principles and to try out building them into your policy and practice.
Why do we need them?
CLD is well placed to be at the forefront of digital participation initiatives. We work with some of the most disadvantaged young people, adult learners and communities in society. The way we work, our values and ethics mean that we can help people to increase their digital literacy and improve their lives, relationships and voice.
We have the flexibility around learning and development opportunities to use technology for exciting and innovative practice. There are already some fantastic examples, which you can read about on the Digitally Agile website.
However, there are many people and organisations in CLD who are not yet utilising digital technology and social media. Throughout the Digitally Agile project, including our research report, we have had consistent requests from practitioners to develop relevant guidance to support them.
The Digitally Agile National Principles are designed to encourage organisations to empower their staff to use these tools whether this is through building digital considerations into policy, creating robust professional guidelines, providing appropriate resources or training staff to make best use of digital technology and social media.
What can I do?
Have a look at the website and check out the principles, discuss them with your colleagues, think about ways they could help you address challenges. Get your organisation to sign up and do let us know how you are putting them into practice.
This blog was originally published on the YouthLink Scotland blog site.