I am a former release-time seminary instructor and current stake seminary and
institute teacher. I am also a university professor in educational technology,
teaching elementary and secondary education majors how to use technology
effectively in their classrooms. Here's my two bits... Technology in
church has always been a pet peeve of mine, not because it isn't useful--it
most certainly can be--but because of the distraction aspect of having a device
on. It can be distracting for the user, but even if it isn't, it is almost
certainly distracting to at least one person in the room. This is a
generational issue, where many who did not grow up with personal electronic
devices are simply annoyed when they are used, especially in spiritual settings.
This has personally been difficult for me as the church has increasingly used
technology in teaching. All I can say is this... while the use of multimedia
has certainly helped in certain situations, nothing beats a good old fashioned
testimony, and you don't need any tech for that.
@AdinaI am a seminary teacher in Michigan. I also have a problem with old
TVs in our building that don't support technology. I purchased a computer
program that allows me to burn DVDs with mormon messages and any video segments
that I can download from lds.org. It has been great! The youth love using the
short videos in their devotionals, they invite the Spirit, and are very useful
for teaching the Gospel. It takes a bit more time to prepare, but I usually put
30-36 short videos on each disc, so the time invested pays off in the long run.
It is also nice to have a reliable technology that doesn't ever freeze or
"I hope Seminary catches up with the format set forth for the Sunday Youth
lessons. If they don't, they will struggle to keep the youth
active."@Steven11421 - The Sunday School curriculum, "Come
Follow Me", is based on the seminary and institute teaching model that has
been in place for many years, not vice-versa. S&I has encouraged student
participation in the lessons for many years now. The teacher has taken the role
of a guide, not a "sage-on-a-stage" as in years past. And yes,
technology is very appropriate in some circumstances, even in the classroom.
Regarding, "I hope Seminary catches up with the format set forth for the
Sunday Youth lessons. If they don't, they will struggle to keep the youth
active."1) I don't believe in-class internet access is the point
of "Come Follow Me." It's just the delivery method the Church is
choosing with increasing frequency for a number of reasons, inlcuding:-cost savings (all those mauals they don't have to print and ship);-flexibility (adjustments can be made to curriculum without having to reprint
and redistribute).The format, in a nutshell, is that a teacher uses the
available online resources to thoroughly prepare himself/herself and follows the
Spirit in the classroom as he invites the students to learn, not that students
and teacher surf the web together for relevant material.2) Youth today
love to feel the Spirit and want to learn the Gospel. As long as they're
helped to do this by a loving, well-prepared teacher, they'll become and
remain active and diligent learners. This has been the focus in seminary for
some time now, and it's working.
I have taught release-time Seminary and Institute for 12 years. My graduate work
in Educational Psychology included a lot of material on educational technology.
I conducted a study last year (2012) on the use of Personal Electronic Devices
(PEDs) in Seminary, and I have written a subjective analysis to help others who
are considering incorporating student-enabled technology in the classroom. A
link to my report is found on my blog (http://brosimonsays.wordpress.com) under
the Professional Papers tab.
Hello people! The year is 2013! If you 'ban' something the youth
(and adults) will ignore you.Teach them correct principals and let
them govern themselves.I'm not a seminary teacher, but I am a
Dad of 5 youth and a YM leader. As I have embraced the technology available
with "Come, Follow Me", the YM classes have become much more spiritual.
Because of technology use my Young Men understand the Atonement better than
before.I hope Seminary catches up with the format set forth for the
Sunday Youth lessons. If they don't, they will struggle to keep the youth
active.The Lord gave us this technology - why would we not embrace
it to strengthen our youth's testimonies.
Your bishopric "banned" them from Sacrament meeting? That's comical
since that sort of thing is way outside their scope. Talk about control freaks.
As far as the personal electronics, our seminary policy is none for the
students. It's too hard for them to resist texting, browsing, etc. I
collect them on a regular basis in a basket they can pick up from when they
leave. Our Bishopric also made a decision to ban them for Sacrament
meeting. Too many are unable to keep out of texting, reading, game playing,
browsing, etc. We can use for Sunday School and third hour though, and I love
being able to instantly download manuals and bring up talks and articles being
used for the lesson. The church apps are very fast for accessing and downloading
content, and I like being able to highlight and make notes and have them sync
across other devices. I think we need self-discipline, but overall technology is
a real addition to classes and meetings.
I don't want to see technology in seminary or at church. Most of the time
throughout all meetings I see people on facebook or websites. Very distracting
from the spirit of the meeting.It is like watching sheep zone out.Very sad. I Hope they don't use technology as conference attenders.
I am a Seminary teacher and we had to prohibit Ipods, tablets, etc, because we
caught seminary students looking other things rather than the scriptures.
Indeed, they are easily distracted. Books are the best.
The seminary teachers in our building (four classes) have been excited to have
the increased resources, but we struggle with not enough bandwidth to show
anything from the internet, no projectors at all, let alone in any rooms and
antiquated TVs (not flat screens) that lack the needed connectors for computers
etc and have gradually become mostly non-functional either in sound or
functional connectors. We understand that funds are limited so that
equipment can't be maintained or upgraded, but it is frustrating to plan
media enrichment to lessons and then struggle and use up class time trying to
get the equipment needed to work, and even end up not being able to use the
material after all. We are in the Pacific Northwest, and pretty tech savvy, so
it is frustrating. I look forward to a future when we will be able to utilize
the great resources being made available.
The Mormon Message, "Things As They Really Are" by Elder David A. Bednar
is timely and telling. I love the image of putting the cell phone down, and
getting the scriptures out. Seminary students are wonderful, but easily
distracted. Institute students do not need technology expectations in the
classroom. They are self-enrolled, and self-disciplined. I have
asked that all of my students focus on the text (scriptures) and text messages
from heaven (personal inspiration) and put technology texting and other
distractions completely away. 90% of them seem very grateful for the
opportunity to focus. The other 10% tolerate it. I give parents an option to
write and explain their student's needs and why they would need technology
in class, and so far, out of about 200 parents, none of them have responded
negatively.I feel that technology is important in teacher
presentation, but student discussion, a distraction-free environment, and
mission preparation demand that we consider a technology free student for the
time being. (At least until missionaries are allowed/trusted to use
I-pad's). For now, I want to train my students to use the text that they
will be using as a missionary.
Technology is wonderful, but it's hard to feel the same spirit when
testimonies are borne in person, you can look in that persons eyes and know that
they know. An electronic devise will never take the place of a teacher who knows
you and is concerned about you and electronic scripture will NEVER take the
place of mine with all the marking and notes I have scribbled in them.
Technology is wonderful, but will not replace people.