What is easy to put together, presents a great way to tell a story, and engages high-tech kids? Podcasting. I don't know if you've listened to podcasts or created some, but I'm thinking this may be a fun new tool that can be used in creative and effective ways. A church I recently visited, Woodcrest Church in Eagan, MN is doing some excellent things with this new technology.
A podcast is simply a recording that has been uploaded to a website. I have found they are really easy to put together on a Mac, but I'm sure a PC can make it work too. With a tool like Garage Band, you can mix voice recordings, music, interviews, even videos. That means anytime you have something interesting going on at church, you can record it. One of the easiest things to do would be to podcast the talks that are given in a Wednesday or Sunday meeting. A quick upload and kids can catch up on things they may have missed. That, however, is just the beginning.
For instance, you could have kids record their testimonies. You could have a pre-Wednesday night podcast where you pose some questions. You could have devotionals, complete with scripture and the latest Christian music. You could do "radio" shows with kids or Bible characters. You could have groups of kids produce a weekly podcast--interviewing their friends or playing music or sharing poetry or stories. What Woodcrest Church has done is to make podcasts of interviews the two leaders have with small groups of kids--much like small focus groups. The interviews might be tied to the themes they are working on during their group Bible studies. According to the youth pastors, kids love to hear their friends on these podcasts and REALLY get excited about being asked to be part of an interview group.
Podcasting is just another way to use technology to engage and motivate kids. I know I have begun developing podcasts for my classes and am assigning students to create them in lieu of certain writing assignments. It's a new way to get them thinking about important ideas. So, next time you are wondering how to educate and motivate your kids, why not try a podcast?
To listen to some fun podcasts, visit Woodcrest's website at: http://www.woodcreststudents.org/