Watch this video first, it’s a little over seven minutes and I guarantee you, you won’t regret it…
I was watching this inspiring presentation, aimed at educators, and it struck a chord in me. How much technology do you use in your small group? Have you ever used cell phones, iPods, the internet, iPads, or anything else other than maybe a sound system and a dvd player?
If the use of technology in small groups will improve attendance, will result in students learning more and being engaged, them personally, I’m all for it. I do think that the technology has to support the message and should never become a goal in itself. But if we can find creative ways to incorporate digital gadgets into small group teaching, then let’s do so. Let’s not forgot that by using creative ways and methods in teaching, we may also reach students with different learning styles!
Here are six ideas for using technology in your small group, but I’m sure once you start brainstorming you can come up with a lot more:
- Ask your students to bring their laptop or smartphone. Give them an assignment to pair up during small group to find out what they can about for instance Paul, Peter, or Mary, in the context of a Bible part you’re teaching on. Let them report back. What have they found? How do they determine which ‘facts’ are true and which are not?
- After a small group session about a subject like being grateful, encouraging others, respecting your parents, etc, ask students to dig up their cell phone to send a text message to apply what they’ve learned. They can send a ‘thank you’ or an ‘I love you’ to their parents, they can tell a friend to hang in there, or they can invite someone to an event or service.
- Ask students to bring their iPod or MP3 player. If possible, get a hook-up for iPods to play over a sound system. As an intro or an evening of getting to know each other better, ask them to share their favorite song on their player. Why do they like the song, what appeals to them? Do realize that this may result in some inappropriate lyrics being played. If that’s something you want to avoid, think of a solution to prevent this (like asking them to email you the song beforehand so you can pre-approve it, or don’t play the songs out loud).
- If you are a little bit tech-savy, either create a podcast or get one on an appropriate subject, and ask your students to listen to it either sometime during the week or at the small group session. Be sure to engage them, for instanced by giving them ‘assignments’ to do while listening (get your Bible, read these verses, write a prayer, etc).
- In the context of teaching them about being a witness: ask them to post something about small group, a youth service or church in general on their Facebook page (and do remember that Facebook is only for teens 13 years and up, so be sure all your kids are above 13). If they don’t have Facebook, have them come up with an alternative.
- Have kids bring their laptop, iPad, smartphone, or ebook reader if they have one. Do they know that there are several Bible translations and versions available for free or for very little money? Have a look in the Kindle store for instance, and that’s just one option. Use a small group session to search for this and make it a goal that every kid has installed/downloaded one or more Bible versions onto their gadget. Ask them how they will use it and evaluate next session.
That’s just some ideas to get your brain juices flowing about using technology in small groups. What more creative things have you come up with? Share them in the comments!