Technology Use and "Voluntary Social Year" in Germany
Abstract: The purpose of the project was to investigate the impact of a “Voluntary Social Year” on high school graduates in Germany and to examine technology use during the social year. A “Voluntary Social Year” is “… [d]esigned to offer young adults the chance to find their vocational or academic orientation while contributing to the greater social good….” The author employed mixed research methods for the study, and the research questions were: 1) What are the perceptions of German high school students about a “Voluntary Social Year”? 2) What do German high school graduates who have participated in a “Voluntary Social Year” think of their experiences? 3) What do parents of German high school graduates who have participated in a “Voluntary Social Year” think of their children’s experiences? 4) What technology was used for communication and learning during the social year? 5) How technology was used for communication and learning during the social year? Data collection relied on surveys and interviews. Coding and content analysis were used for data analysis. The results indicated that “Voluntary Social Year” was/is common for high school graduates in Germany and that the experiences had positive impact on the high school graduates who participated in the social year. They used a variety of technology devices and software, for example, cell phones, ebooks, laptops, WhatsApp, social media, blogs, and Skype to keep connected with people who were part of their social year.