In this day and age there is plenty of technology available. We live in a society that is immersed in it, and kids are growing up as digital natives, meaning they haven’t known a world without technology. Many are fluent users as young as three years of age. We’ve seen the tablets, the smart phones, the DVD players, and any host of other things out there (and technology we don’t even know about yet). The key is to know how we can harness this different technology as we teach and keep the digital natives engaged.
First know that technology should not be shied away from, but certainly not the only thing you use when you are teaching about Christ. The technology you use should supplement what you are teaching without being used in place of your teaching. As a general rule, when we are using our Bibles to tell the Bible story kids remember that God’s Word is real and alive and valuable. Using technology in place of that experience may turn kids away from wanting to handle God’s Word.
Here are a few tips to use when you do use technology in your classroom:
- Don’t be frightened to use technology. As you engage digital natives in their environment, some use of technology is going to be necessary. Don’t let the technology scare you and, if it does, practice using it ahead of time.
- Be the gatekeeper of the technology. As technology is used in your classroom, make sure you are gatekeeping how and when that technology is used. Don’t let kids surf the web while in Bible study, and if they use their own devices, make sure it’s for use as directed.
- Use technology only as needed. As we’ve already discussed there is no substitute for the real thing. When telling a Bible story, sure, you can use a DVD player or video online to teach the Bible story, but always follow it up by using your Bible to tell the Bible story in your own words.
- Use technology to help broaden your understanding. Use the available technology to help you as you plan for a session. Do research outside your leader guide or study guide to supplement your knowledge of the topic being taught and if necessary supplement your teaching with those things.
- Use technology to engage the learners. Many curricula available today have an outside app that can be used to help engage your learners as part of the learning process. Be sure if you use this technology you follow up with the learning by helping boys and girls apply what they did to the biblical content you are teaching.
- Use technology to engage others. Use email, social media, social groups, or microblogging sites to alert parents to things their kids may have studied and to elicit their feedback.
As you begin to use more technology in the classroom you will see a new way of engaging your kids, and who knows, you might get much more comfortable using the technology and letting it work for you.
Tim Pollard teaches 3rd graders at Tulip Grove Baptist Church. He’s passionate about helping kids dig deep into Scripture, which he pursues through his daily work as leader of the Explore the Bible: Kids team. Tim lives with his wife and daughters in Mount Juliet, TN.