“Kids these days with their whatzits and their gizmos! All they do is stare at the ding-dang things…”
Admit it. You’ve heard someone express this opinion. (Was it you?) Believe it or not, technology and Inductive Bible Study can be allies. Unlikely allies, maybe. But they can definitely help each other out, and the winner is the young Bible student.
There’s no doubt that there are some ways technology can work against kids’ Bible study. I think there are two biggies:
- First, unless you are proactive, kids have a very difficult time knowing where anything is located in a Bible. Frankly, the fact that there’s an Old Testament and a New Testament might escape them. The reason, of course, is that everything is searchable. They can pull up an app, a website, or even Google, and have any verse or passage appear almost instantly. Gone are the days of flipping through the pages, finding the book of Ephesians or Hosea.
- The second issue is less direct, but at least as problematic. We all know that technology is resulting in shorter attention spans. That creates problems in lots of different areas, including Bible study. It can be extremely difficult to get and keep the attention of a classroom full of kids while you explain a story and try to talk through some application.
The good news is that neither of those problems is insurmountable, and if you do it right, you can use technology to enhance your kid’s Bible study, and the study will enhance tech use. Huzzah!
Let me tell you why I love technology for my students. They all have it, usually at least two kinds. Between smartphones, tablets, home computers, and school technology like Smartboards, this is a generation that is very comfortable with technology, and they are very agile when it comes to learning new skills. I have no trouble convincing them they can use a website like Biblestudytools.com or blueletterbible.org, or an app like the Bible App. What’s great is that I can put tools in their little hands that previous generations never even dreamed of having so readily available. Different Bible translations, commentaries, maps, Bible dictionaries, and word studies are very, very easy to use. They really are. And get this- most of them are FREE.
Kids can learn to use their technology to bring in new layers of Bible study while they are doing homework. That means—
- they are learning a lot more,
- they are usually doing so independently,
- and I can give them more challenging assignments—that they know they can do.
I gotta tell you, as a teacher, that is a rush!
But what about during class? They have to put it away during class, right?
Nope. Usually, they don’t need it, and we are so busy with their workbooks, they don’t even have it on. But if they want to use it during class, that’s fine with me. Remember, in my class, most kids have at least one parent, so I don’t have to worry about some knucklehead playing Minecraft while we’re talking about our homework!
Quick story. I have to tell you one more great use of technology in the classroom, and this one wasn’t even my idea. One of my students had to be absent one night, so he wanted to FaceTime with us so he wouldn’t have to miss class. He even had a system for when he wanted to raise his hand. Think about that for a second. He suggested doing that because he didn’t want to miss Bible study and he knew technology could bridge the distance for him. That’s good stuff.
So, what about the other way around? How is Inductive Bible Study supposed to help with technology?
If you understand the three steps of Inductive Bible Study, then you know it requires effort and close reading. These aren’t studies where the teacher lectures and then hands out a word search until the parents pick them up. The kids are actively involved in every step, and they are learning to internalize those steps.
This makes Inductive Bible Study a great antidote to the mindlessness of some of those games; it exercises attention span; and it gives kids a real sense of accomplishment that goes way deeper than getting enough “likes” on social media.
Surrounded by all the noise of media and daily life, this generation desperately needs discernment. Inductive Bible Study teaches them how to get it, and why they want it.
Inductive Bible Study also counterbalances the problem of being lost in a physical Bible. When a kid studies the Bible this way, he learns where in the Bible the book is (because we’re studying our way through books), whether it’s Old or New Testament, what genre it is, and—this is important—that the books are organized by chapters and verses. That may sound really obvious, but if you’re always finding things via a Search Box, you really don’t understand how a book is organized. This is basic biblical literacy, and Inductive Bible Study preserves it.
In short, technology can be a powerful study tool when kids are taught how to use it in their Bible study. The resources freely available are mind-blowing. And learning the discipline of Inductive Bible Study is a strong counterbalance to some of the problems technology presents. So, whether you are a parent discipling your child with these studies, or a teacher with a classroom of kids, bring this perspective into your teaching and use it to your advantage. These unlikely allies—technology and Inductive Bible Study—will turbo-charge your kids’ study.