One of the items missing from my 6th grader’s back-to-school list this year was an electronic device. Yet even with brick-and-mortar learning back in full swing, it’s seemingly impossible for my student to successfully meet class requirements without a device. Daily vocab review is conducted through an online curriculum portal. Science tests, though taken in class, are online only. One teacher engages students in homework through an online game-based quiz platform, while another keeps parents informed through a group texting program. Even the Parent-Teacher meetings have stayed on Zoom. All school communication is now web-based. I don’t remember the last time the kids brought home a stack of paper, let alone a physical copy of an assignment!
Truth be told, the edtech resources developed in the past decade are quite impressive. While Kindergarteners use apps to learn sight words, and second graders play educational games to learn spelling, our older students use technology to collaborate on group assignments, host virtual study sessions, and utilize online tutorials when they get stuck. The fusion of academics and technology has propelled our students to experience learning in a whole new way.
And yet, despite all of these advancements, Christian education remains mostly boxed into a set of predictable activities on a church campus. Sure, we’ve incorporated some music and videos, but utilizing technology for proactive, everyday discipleship is limited at best, and often parent-driven.
What if the tools aren’t the issues, but rather how they’re being used? What if we could put excellent digital resources in the hands of our families and churches that leverage how kids are already learning, for Kingdom purposes? Why do we allow our greatest talents to be employed for temporal entertainment when we could be engaging kids in their faith, the way they know to learn and explore?
It’s time for us to utilize our vast creativity and innovation for Kingdom purposes.
People of all ages need the good news of Jesus every day in every possible way. Jesus commanded that as we go we are to make disciples—not just at church; not just on Sundays. Technology has expanded our reach and put endless opportunities at our fingertips. As we seek to engage children, youth, and adults with the life-changing message of the Gospel, we have to go where they are (online) and utilize tools, grounded in scripture, that will resonate with our online community. Right Now.
Christie Penner Worden is the Cross-Regional Kids Pastor for The Meeting House in Ontario Canada and one of the content developers for Wonder Ink, a new customized digital curriculum and toolkit for creatively engaging kids and families in God’s Word—using technology to connect the classroom on Sunday to their homes during the week.