Rip-Mix-Burn-Share

Previously I wrote about five forces or broad trends that we are facing as children’s and family ministry leaders (the rise of the individual, connectivity, Twitter Speed, Rip-Mix-Burn-Share, and Motion Blur).  Today’s blog deals with the fourth force. From the original article: Rip, Burn, Mix, Share:  The iTunes mantra has become the new normal for content.  Television shows or news programs get live video responses then mashed up, auto-tuned, and delivered to YouTube.  Did you know that Google recently changed its copyright enforcement largely because of a YouTube video of a wedding party dance that turned a song into Sony’s 8th best seller in history?  Tutorials for professional software are distributed with the original files so that users can think up new ways of creating content, all for free. Kids are used to creating their own content.  One of my favorite weekends of the year is the weekend after Christmas because I love finding out what kids get for Christmas compared with what they asked for.  In 2009, a laptop and cellphone was a popular gift.  The Nintendo DSi was probably the most popular “big gift.”  Wii games were far more common than XBox or PS3 games.  What’s the common thread here? •    Digital tools •    Mostly portable •    Customizable: phones have apps, games have avatars, electronics have preferences) •    Little to no text involved (more on that below) •    Content-creation: Most of these gifts carry the ability to create, draw, paint, write, record, and distribute content. •    Web: these tools mostly connect to the Internet either wirelessly or through a computer connection so that content can be shared...

Idea of the Day: Kindness Class

Online classes are becoming more and more common – not just for adults seeking flexible degree programs, but for children.  I came across a great article in the Seattle Times about an online class for kids about kindness.  Here’s what Dan Pink had to say about the kindness class: Andy Smallman, head of the Puget Sound Community School in Seattle, has come up with a social innovation that’s ingenious, inspiring, and infectious. He calls it “kindness class.” Each week students in the online course get an assignment. In week one, they do something kind for themselves. In week two, they do something kind for someone they love. And so on. Along the way, participants do something kind for a neighbor, provide something wonderful for someone to find, let everyone go ahead of them for a week, and do something kind anonymously. For more information, check out the site and this Seattle Times article. In a world where people are seeking purpose and connection, kindness classes could be an idea whose time has arrived. This class is the idea of the week, so I’m going to spend 30-60 minutes this week brainstorming how it could relate to children’s and family ministry.  Here’s what I have so far: •    This class integrates technology with values •    It connects students via emailed assignments •    It breaks down a value into actionable steps •    It explains each step in the simplest of terms – no one is confused after reading the assignment •    The steps are not intuitive and would take work to accomplish •    Each step includes a quote In terms of...

Twitter Speed

Previously I wrote about five forces or broad trends that we are facing as children’s and family ministry leaders (the rise of the individual, connectivity, Twitter Speed, Rip-Mix-Burn-Share, and Motion Blur).  I’d like to address each one of these trends and present some ideas and possibilities for response. From the original article: Twitter Speed: Clearly everything is getting faster and more powerful.  Computers, cell phones, netbooks, and the Internet.  Five years ago, only 81% of American households had access to a low speed Internet connection!  Now 96% of American households are connected to or have access to a high speed Internet connection. Many of you may not have heard of Ian Jukes.  Dr. Jukes is an educator who specializes in digital learners.  He has researched their needs, preferences, successes, and failures.  His books include Teaching the Digital Generation, Windows on the Future: Education in the Age of Technology, and Understanding the Digital Generation: Teaching and Learning in the New Digital Landscape (forthcoming April 2010).  Dr. Jukes used the phrase “twitch speed” when I met with him 4 years ago to discuss an idea I had for children’s ministry (the creation of a safe social networking site for kids). According to Dr. Jukes (quoted from a lecture entitled “Closing the Digital Divide”): Today’s generations operate at twitch speed due to constant exposure to video games, hypertext, and all of the other experiences that reflect an increasingly digital world together with an expectation that they will have access to this world. As a result, Digital Learners have had far more experience at processing information quickly than we do, and they’re better...

Developing the Learner within You – Part 1

The more research I do, the more I see the role of Chief Learning Officer in business and education.  In fact, I recently came across the “Learning Leaders Fieldbook” developed by the MASIE Center.  From the fieldbook, I culled some valuable insights into learning leadership (which I’ve written about before here).  Here are five to get us started.  I’ll be sure to post more in days to come. 1. Make other people successful: be a trusted advisor So often children’s ministry leaders are seen as program peddlers or Christian Education trainers.  If others (volunteers, leaders of leaders, and staff) trust you, that will open doors for you to serve as a problem solver instead of being just a solution. 2.  Have a point of view: thought leadership is everything Your point of view has to be dynamic.  Understanding the culture of your church will be an incredible asset to you as a learning leader.  This type of knowledge can help you gauge the church’s readiness for new programs/initiatives. 3.  Be a connector of talent In these days, unlike any other, you have the ability to connect to children’s and family ministry leaders with experience, education, and leadership skills for free through social networking tools – without going to a conference, enrolling in seminary, or joining the latest children’s ministry fad.  As the expert in your context, you can connect lots of talent to your ministry.  Take advantage of that! 4.  Provide support tools for learning Simply, in order to reach today’s digital learners with the truth of God’s Word and the life-changing story of the Gospel we will be...

Digital Literacy

In my ministry context, we focus early childhood curriculum on teaching key Bible stories.  We are not concerned with chronology or units per se and we try pretty hard to make sure that what we are teaching and applying in the Bible story is sound.  I believe that teaching Bible stories not only gives children key Biblical information, but it also gives them an appreciation for God’s Word as a story they can read, enjoy, and learn from. As kids get older and move into Kindergarten, we focus more on series and themed units.  Every week focuses on a Bible story with a main truth and every unit has a Bible verse.  We use the same Bible story, main truth, and Bible verse from 4 years old through 5th grade.  However, this process will change in the fall. What I want to focus on briefly is the children’s ministry focus on teaching Biblical knowledge versus Biblical literacy and other faith skills.  I am troubled when we focus all of our time in the church teaching information that can be accessed at a keystroke (or fingerstroke for the touchscreen users among us).  This information is helpful but it is worth the amount of time we spend teaching it?  Faith skills like Bible reading, prayer, Biblical literacy, honesty, and integrity – these are the kinds of things that stay with a child for a lifetime. Recently a study was released by ScienceDaily involving kids and computers.  The study looked at the results of schools using computers on student achievement.  I’d like to share a brief quote from the key researcher: “Traditional...