Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Words with Friends / Words with God

I read an article last week by Tim Elmore about the generation of kids that have been connected to handheld devices since birth. It seems like we often demonize these handheld devices like we did TV in the '60s until "Captain Kangaroo" and "Sesame Street" revolutionized the education of our children before our eyes. These handheld devices are revolutionizing our educational system and I am intrigued by how they have revolutionized my life.

The article went on to state how kids are more active and functioning at higher levels in problem-based learning, student-driven learning and experiential learning. This article articulates some of the active learning I have experienced through playing "Words with Friends," which is basically Scrabble on a hand-held device. Being a visual and kinetic learner and being educated in an oral passive education has left me believing I was never as smart as my eight brothers or sisters. I thought I missed that gene or something!

The revolutionary aspect is that I can take the time I need to play and not have the anxiety of people waiting; I can create and submit words and be wrong with no dire consequences; I can take time to learn new words, see patterns and figure out the dynamics of a game that is played strategically. As a result, I have gained the confidence to play Scrabble (I am convinced the monastery houses some of the best Scrabble gurus in the world), learned new words, begun reading more avidly and experienced the freedom to PLAY. I am connected to students, family and friends in a new, fun, learning realm of relationship that transcends traditional systems of relationships. It's quite mind boggling and I admit hard to get your head around. But I wonder…

As the educational institution adjusts to this cultural phenomenon, what about the Church? How do we keep the Gospel as our guide and connect to a high functioning, visual, technological generation? Could handheld devices be used to engage students in a connection of prayer, community, devotions, reading the Bible, finding answers to questions of fear and doubt and provide the grace of making mistakes? Maybe handheld devices create a mutuality that transcends the barriers of hierarchy and power. Could God be showing up in handheld devices in the future?

photo found here: www.absoluteastronomy.com/topics/Handheld_device

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