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Shiny Sophisticated New Tools: This is the last thing we need!

The notion that tools for learning need to be increasingly sophisticated and effective suggests that the ‘tools’ we have currently are not very sophisticated, nor effective, and thus essentially not ‘fit for purpose’ or capable of responding to the challenges we face now, or in the future. This is part of the problem with humanity – we are constantly looking for dopamine hits – the next big thing. It has even found its way into youth work – always looking to invent, innovate, to create, recreate, disrupt, re-imagine and so on. In the last Erasmus+ cycle, an emphasis was put on creating outputs to demonstrate greater value for money as it were – hundreds, probably thousands of tools and publications were created. And many of course are good value – some not so. But what happens to them? Where do they go? How often are they used? How many ‘shelves’ do they occupy? How many are even downloaded and used? Does this search for new tools actually serve a purpose other than satisfy someone or a policy which does not have young people at heart but is more about justifying expenditure? Do all these tools meet the needs of the target group we profess to serve, i.e., young people when the fundamental needs for young people remain the same – to be cared for, to be heard, to know someone is there for them? And when it comes down to it, you don’t need a tool or tools for this. These, when it comes down to it are the fundamental needs of humans, not only young people. And the only tools we need are us – the practitioner – the ultimate resource.