Kids on the Future of Tech

Latitude in conjunction with ReadWriteWeb has released research on what children want from their technology.  It’s a fascinating look at the future from a child’s perspective.  You can download the entire summary here. Here are the highlights: •    39% of children’s innovations called for more immersive content experiences (3D features and integrating physical/virtual spaces).  “For children today, true synchrony between physical and digital worlds is no longer a novelty but an expectation.”  I wrote about this phenomenon (which I called “Motion Blur”) here. •    83% want their technology to offer human-level responsiveness. In other words, there is a desire to see technology that knows and responds to the needs of the user. •    37% of the responses did not include traditional methods of interaction (no mouse – no keyboard).  “Half of all participants visually represented themselves interacting with their invented technologies, supporting the ‘iGeneration’ understanding of device as merely an extension of self.” •    The world is shrinking for children today and there is an expectation that technology will allow interaction with users in “far-distant locales.” •    31% of the ideas were related to the idea of content creation.  This drive to create has been the subject of numerous blogs, but my favorite was written by David...

How does the Internet impact relationships?

One of the critical questions that children’s and family ministry leaders face is the issue of how technology impacts relationships.  Regardless of where I travel to speak with children’s ministry leaders and volunteers, in every venue I am asked to respond to this issue.  A subset of questions on this issue include: •    Does the Internet and digital communication dilute real relationships? •    Are the benefits of digital relationality better than the dangers? The Pew Research Center recently released a report that deals with the heart of this issue entitled, “The future of social relations.”  Out of the 895 respondents, none of them were children.  This report was based on the input of adults, many whom are web experts and technological pioneers.  The respondents were give two statements and asked to agree with one statement. Around 85% of the respondents agreed with this statement: “In 2020, when I look at the big picture and consider my personal friendships, marriage, and other relationships, I see that the internet has mostly been a positive force on my social world.  And this will only grow more true in the future.” Some 14% of the respondents agreed with the opposite statement: “In 2020, when I look at the big picture and consider my personal friendships, marriage, and other relationships, I see that the internet has mostly been a negative force on my social world.  And this will only grow more true in the future.” What about you?  Which statement do you agree with? Here’s an excerpt from the report for further perspective on the respondent’s input: Some survey respondents noted that with the...

The Digital Diet

I came across a couple of great resources for Digital Immigrants who want to become more fluent in the language and tools of Digital Learners.  The Digital Diet is a new book by Andrew Churches, Lee Crocket, and Ian Jukes.  The contributors have also create some “Small Byte” ebooks.  According to the Committed Sardine Blog, each ebook “includes a quick-start guide, examples of how to use this tool in your classroom, and examples of activities which will help cultivate the 21st century fluencies.”  Please note that these resources were created specifically for educators and school settings, but they are really accessible for ministry. •    The Digital Diet – A Small Byte of Mindmeister •    The Digital Diet – A Small Byte of Animoto •    The Digital Diet – A Small Byte of...

GameShift: Winning Isn’t Everything Anymore

I just finished reading a Wired Article entitled “Why Aren’t Games About Winning Anymore?” by Jonathan Liu.  Liu uncovers a recent trend in video games where modern games are less about actually getting to the last level (a la Super Mario Brothers) and more about gaining achievements during the game. For instance, I have become addicted to the iPhone app Angry Birds. Angry Birds is a great game built on a ridiculous premise: catapult birds into fortresses made of wood, ice, and stone so you can destroy green pigs.  As I have played through the game, I noticed that every once in a while a message would flash across the lower part of the screen indicating that I had reached one of the game’s “Achievements.”  The game all of a sudden became less about defeating the green pigs (which is relatively easy) and more about the achievements. I’m wondering about how this applies to children’s ministry.  One of the most addictive things about a video game is the constant feedback and rewards.  Can that sort of feedback and reward be built into children’s ministry programming?  Would it be harmful to include “achievements” into children’s ministry programming? What do those look like? Our ministry context has been integrating some Bible Reading Schedules into most of our K-5th series.  The struggle has been finding the right reward for the kids completing the reading schedule.  Frankly our efforts have been lackluster.  But what if the reading schedules were web-based and as the kids read the passage, they received a little message (just like I did in Angry Birds), letting them know that...

Bring On the Revolution

This is a great video that challenges current models of education and proposes a different, more organic way to educate children.  Watch the video! Here are a couple of quotes that I love: •    “So I think we have to change metaphors. We have to go from what is essentially an industrial model of education, a manufacturing model, which is based on linearity and conformity and batching people. We have to move to a model that is based more on principles of agriculture.” What is the metaphor for your Christian education model?  Are you attempting to manufacture little followers of Christ with a linear system?  How open is your programming (to change, to the Holy Spirit, to individualization)? •    “We have to recognize that human flourishing is not a mechanical process, it’s an organic process. And you cannot predict the outcome of human development; all you can do, like a farmer, is create the conditions under which they will begin to flourish.” When I heard this, I started thinking about an intentional change we are making this fall to orient our ministry more towards spiritual formation and giving kids space to respond to the God they have encountered.  I’m also reminded of some advice from the creators of Flickr who suggested that community does not just happen, it must be hosted.  There is an environmental element to our ministries.  In other words, leaders in children’s and family ministry need to be concerned with the environment where children and families encounter God.  We need to be intentional about creating the “conditions under which they will begin to flourish.”  How much...