Kids + Smartphones = New Tools for Bible Literacy?

CNET.com published a really interesting article today about kids and smartphones. A recently published study from The Department of Education and PBS suggests that kids who spend time playing certain apps on smartphones can actually learn while they play.

An excerpt from the article (it can be found in full here):

To glimpse the potential of mobile apps as a new educational medium, the study first tested the vocabulary level of a group 90 Title 1 school children, ages 3-7. Then, the children were each given two weeks with an iPod Touch loaded with the Martha Speaks app created by PBS Kids. The study monitored how the children used the iPod, how long they used it for, during what hours, and in what context. A call-in voice mailbox was also established so that parents could relate any anecdotes or observations about their child’s time with the device.

On average, the study found kids played with the iPod Touch for a total of 5 hours across the two weeks, with half that time spent playing the Martha Speaks app. It’s important to note that the study didn’t require kids to play with the device or the app–all play was self initiated.

At the end of the two week trial, the children were given another vocabulary test, which revealed an increase in vocabulary acquisition by as much as 31%.

So what does this mean for What’s in the Bible? and your family? An aim of the series is to increase Bible literacy in the next generation. Those of you who have seen the DVDs know that they are full of lessons about the Bible – from who wrote what books, to why the Catholic Bible has more books than the Protestant, to explaining all those crazy rules in Leviticus. Did you know that our digital downloads are compatible with iPods, iPhones, and iPads? You can download them here and then convert them in iTunes to play on your mobile devices! Additionally, the curriculum companion for What’s in the Bible? will feature iPad and iPhone apps for leaders, students, and families.

Technology is changing fast. Bible truths stay the same, but the mediums with which we can teach them will continue to change. It’s exciting to think about all we have planned and all of the possibilities? Do you have any ideas about how we can improve Bible literacy using digital means?

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6 comments
Loretta Knittel
Loretta Knittel

I think what you are doing is Great! My Grandson is 8 yrs old and sister 10 and now they think they are to old to watch something like this as he sais I've out grown that kind of childish stuff. But they need the same message that you have . do you have something age appropriate ? God bless you and your gift

Gordon Gregory
Gordon Gregory

I totally agree that putting good tools with a good message in the hands of our young ones will only result in helping them to make it a part of their lives. I am glad that my son wants to see bible verses on my cell phone. It's better than many alternatives.

Calum Henderson
Calum Henderson

Glad to see that new gadgets are being used for kids as well, and it's interesting to see how much an impact they can have!

Andrew
Andrew

How about other smartphone platforms? The world isn't just Apple products, despite Phil's endorsement in the videos. I'm posting this from a Windows Phone 7 device (available later this year), but there is also Android, Blackberry and Palm's (now HP's) WebOS. The future of smartphones is a diverse one, so hoping WITB will not perpetuate the Apple "walled garden" of closed content not available to other phones.

Doug Hanna
Doug Hanna

It's really awesome, the way everything progresses, its also great how you guys rely so much on social media.

Henry Zonio
Henry Zonio

Thank you so much for leveraging digital media rather than ignoring it, shunning it, or being afraid of it! I am looking forward to seeing all of this as it rolls out!