Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Multi-Media Poll

We have been having lengthy discussions within the Religious Education Committee on whether or not to have good-sized flat screen monitors in all education rooms.  They would be connected to dvd players/computers to help illustrate lesson plans.  They are not intended to be used all the time, but for special instances or programs.  I am torn on this.  I am not against well managed screen time.  My kids work on the computer and watch TV, so it isn't that I am against screens - I am just not sure about them in the classroom.  We are also not a wealthy congregation and I am reluctant to use much of our RE budget towards this expense.  I have heard, though, many UU congregations are jumping on the high-tech multi-media bandwagon and have some pretty snazzy RE rooms. I have also heard that a lot of UUA curriculum will be in this format.  I would love to hear some of your thoughts on this. What is your congregation doing?  Have you had these talks? Is this the future of RE and I need to get on board?


Sara said...

yes, we are going in this direction, though not with actual screens in each classroom. We have a projector and portable screen, a new flat screen TV on a rolling cart, and an old TV on another cart, plus I sometimes just deploy my laptop computer to a class. I'm finding that we use more and more: powerpoints for adult ed presentations (pictures mostly), youtube video clips (an amazing wealth of free short clips on youtube), DVD's, music videos to go with songs we're learning, and looking up information on the web. We've done a lesson, for instance, where we did a 'virtual tour' of other UU churches based on their websites. It is useful, actually, and screens do add to the learning experience.

Don Berg said...

I am an RE teacher for 1st/2nd graders at 1st Unitarian in Portland, Oregon. We have a flatscreen TV in our room, and our church has them in almost every room because a school uses the rooms during the week. We have never used the TV in the last two years I've been teaching and as far as I know never have.

I attribute this to the clarity of RE Director Cathy Cartwright's mission for our teaching practice: we are called to bear witness to the lives of the children we serve. We are not charged with delivering content, we are not in the business of entertaining them, we are in that room with them so that we can get to know them and support them in their journey of life. There is no place for screen time in that mission. In order to fulfill that call we have to engage with them and be present to their experiences. I see no way that electronically delivering audio visual images serves to connect us to each other, so it is just not an appropriate tool for us, at least with this age group.

With older kids, perhaps, but even then it would ceratinly be an exception, not the rule.


Don Berg


Free E-book: The Attitude Problem in Education

Kari said...

Everything Sara said, and don't worry about funding a flat screen in each classroom. I'd vote no. Maybe later, maybe next. But focus on rock solid connections between kids and adults and everything else will follow. Oh, and yes, I am bringing my church laptop to the K-1 class tomorrow to watch some Pete Seeger with his banjo.