2.3 Use of digital tools in youth work
Although the goal of youth work is still the same – we want to prepare young people for adulthood, to be able to live in the environment and to cope with it – the conditions in which we operate and the world around us are constantly changing. Youth work must keep up with, and adapt to these changes. Nowadays, when technology is developing very fast and information systems are present in every aspect of our lives, it is essential to include digital tools in youth work.
It is important to remember that the use of digital tools is intended to support the process of learning and competence-building. It is not about using mobile devices at every step just to make our workshops modern and contemporary. Meaningful use of technology in the learning process enables us to achieve our educational goals faster and more effectively. When introducing new technologies to the sessions, it is worth asking yourself certain questions: what added value does using a given tool bring? What will the participants gain from the use of this technology? After all, we don’t want our participants to just say: “It was fun because we used smartphones”. Our task is to prepare young people to enter the job market, to shape the necessary competences based on the use of new technologies.
Sometimes the lack of adequate equipment or access to such equipment can be an obstacle to the introduction of new technologies in the world of youth work. Today, however, we use smartphones more often than laptops or desktops. It is worth taking advantage of the fact that each of us has a device with access to the Internet in their pocket. The Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) approach postulates the use of personal devices during workshops and activities. Consequently, we do not have to worry about raising funds for the purchase of the right equipment. We can take advantage of the opportunities offered by the fact that the majority of participants in our workshops have smartphones, and use them to incorporate new technologies into our projects.
The same applies to software. The Internet is full of great educational resources that we can use free of charge. More and more often it is possible to use tools without having to create an account and log in. Digital tools for learning are intuitive and easy to use.