Two contexts here. The night before writing this, I was at a Bible study where we went over the story of Zaccehaeus in Luke 12. My notes were… different. Then there was this post from our friends at Church Tech Today talking about apps which you can use on your smartphone for Bible studies. Good stuff right? Well, let’s just push this a bit. Let’s actually study the text and speak towards those with different types of learning styles at the same time – with mobile and tablets in the midst of the solution.
Things started when we got the assignment beforehand to read Luke 19:1-12 and have something ready to talk about during the study. Had the thought to draw the text, not just write notes. So, that’s what I did:
All Books is the Bible reader that I’m using these days on my Nokia N8. Having that open, I drew three of the four scenes happening in that section of the Gospel on my iPad. Once I was finished drawing, I imported the image into Penultimate. I then started scribbling notes about the text in subsequent pages on a Penultimate notebook dedicated to just this study.
Thing was, I started thinking and writing a ton. I needed more than just the notes from the NET Bible that I was using. So, I fired up the web browser and went to Wikipedia. Learning more about the text meant that I needed to learn more about Jericho. That’s where I went next.
My notes became more and more about the sketch and scribbles. But, there was also the study to be had. How does such this approach with a mobile, tablet, sketches, a browser, and a collection of info into a ink-based notebook work out once I get into a group setting?
Pretty well actually. Because I had this nice mix of linear facts and scribbles, I was able to keep with the various points of the discussion, and even added a few more pages to the Penultimate notebook noting some additional facts, comments, and questions stated throughout. As I listened and scribbled, I noticed something, one of the younger participants in the study was more interested in my scribbling than in what was being talked about. It seemed (later confirmed) that she understood the pictures moreso than the amount of words we were spouting out. That got me thinking about mobiles and learning styles.
You see. We are really used to sprinting towards some aspect of literacy and comprehension. Don’t sell this point short, our sermons, lectures, and studies all start from the point that people want to read and have the capacity to understand the text and the resulting discussions. But, what I saw in that small exchange with that younger study participant was something different. She was enamored with the fact that I was doing more than listening, I was drawing what I understood.
Remember the statistic about literacy we quoted from the Orality Network some time back. 60% of the world is or chooses to be non-verbal. We do a great job in making sure that people can read a Bible, or even share the textual understandings we get. But, with mobile we can do more. Reimagine the Scriptures by taking account of what mobile environments can do. Go beyond linking text resources to text resources. Heck, go beyond just reading.
No, everyone isn’t an artist. Some people might take this and run with creating video snippets using their mobile and want to learn how to stitch those together. Some folks just might need smaller snippets of text. I’ve got this statement that’s been sticking around for a number of weeks now:
Shouldn’t biblical literacy also mean that we can build our own bibles
Not just building your own bibles. Understanding and being able to teach that wisdom to someone else. Going mobile with your Bible studies, lectures, and sermons can go further than just lookups, collections, and reading plans. That’s not to say these aren’t good enough, but that we can do more. This is how I’m pressing the pedal. Do you push things the same in your communities, or, are you just getting around to the apps that do things the same way you’ve always done them?