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My Conspire 2009 Thoughts – Breakout Session A with Matt Guevara

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(image taken from Conspire blog)

The first breakout session I chose to attend at Conspire was entitled Rewiring Ministry for the Digital Learner led by Matt Guevara. You can check out my live blogging of this breakout here. You can also check out my summary on the Conspire blog.

Even after reading the breakout description, I wasn’t sure what to expect from Matt’s presentation. I’ve been around computers and technology my whole life; I’m a computer nerd! My first computer was the Commodore 64! I remember learning to program in BASIC in third grade and making my some fun IF-THEN question and answer games and playing games like Zork… I think I may have just lost 95% of my blog readers due to the nerdiness that I just gave off!

Anyway… when it comes to conversations about digital learners and being “up-to-date” when it comes to ministry, I have some pretty strong opinions.

Matt did not disappoint. It was a breath of fresh air to hear from someone who not only understood technology but also understood the impact it has on culture and development. I think he accurately stated where kids are today when it comes to technology and the need for us in children’s ministry to realize that we have to rethink our educational paradigms.

Here are seven characteristics of digital learners that Matt shared at the breakout session (taken from my summary at the Conspire blog):

1. They are no longer littler versions of us
2. They are digital natives… not digital immigrants (these are terms coined by Marc Prensky at marcprensky.com)
3. They are collaborators. They want to be involved in shaping the teaching environment and how things are taught. We need to kids “be a part of the action.”
4. They are teachers. Matt shared a story of how grade 7 and 8 kids taught him how to do all the lighting and sound tech at his current church when he started.
5. They are connected. We need to realize that kids have a multitude of ways to connect digitally.
6. They are relational. One thing we have to remember with this is that there is no distinction with kids between online and offline relationships; they are all the same to them.
7. They are open. Kids are open to learning new things and open to hearing from lots of different sources. This also means they are open to spiritual things.

Matt also shared a video that is from Digital Ethnography. It’s a great video on how much is different in a digital world.

I thought that this was a great breakout. Matt was well-prepared and shared some very relevant and useful information when it comes to being aware of where kids are now and how they learn and process information.

  • What are you doing as someone in children’s ministry to keep up with how children currently learn?
  • What are some ways that you have adjusted curriculum, programs, communication, etc.?
  • What do you think of Matt’s characteristics of digital learners? Do you agree?
  • What are the implications for ministry when it comes to adapting in a digital world?


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