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Title: Digital tools, spaces and places as mediators of youth work practice
Author: Melvin, Jane
ISNI:       0000 0004 7427 0804
Awarding Body: University of Brighton
Current Institution: University of Brighton
Date of Award: 2017
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In the context of English youth and community work, this research project investigates digital tools, spaces and places as mediators of youth work practice, and proposes a model formulated through the identification of expansive drivers to guide both professional conduct and curriculum-based practice. The lives of English young people today are shaped by technologies which make interaction in a variety of digital spaces and places possible, yet there are divided views within the youth work community of practice about the place of digital tools, spaces and places as mediators of informal learning in a discipline traditionally focused on association, relationships and critical dialogue. Supported by the conceptual framework of Cultural Historical Activity Theory (CHAT), Developmental Work Research (DWR) techniques have been used to gather data from four English youth and community work practitioners through a workshop-based approach framed by CHAT pre-suppositions and the first three stages of Engestrom’s expansive learning cycle. The data analysis uses the four areas where contradictions can manifest within CHAT activity systems to examine how the use of digital tools, spaces and places aligns with youth work values and principles, and to examine how they can mediate informal learning opportunities with young people. The contribution to knowledge comprises the identification of four ‘spaces’ which are named as safety, production, information and communication, and which form the basis of a model to scaffold the professional use of digital tools, spaces and places as mediators of youth work practice. Expansive drivers, defined as the forces for learning, development and change, are identified within each of the spaces within the model and examined using continuum-based representations portraying professional practice and curriculum-based priorities. Metaphors of digital space and place emerging from within the DWR process are also appraised as a means to situate the work. The model is underpinned firstly by the premise that a youth worker’s choice of digital tool, space or place needs to be based on the needs and input of young people. Secondly, that using digital tools, spaces and places as mediators of youth work practice is most effective as an extension to existing face-to-face youth work where relationships between young people and youth workers have already been formed.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: youth work ; digital tools ; spaces and places ; contradictions ; expansive learning ; expansive drivers ; mediators