Thursday, April 19, 2012

Ok, it was a bad idea...

I blogged last week about e-scriptures and their use in classes. I was so motivated by a post at Middle-Aged Mormon Man (who has a WAY bigger readership than mine). In my post, I spoke in favor of e-scriptures (mine are on a Kindle Fire, and I love them that way, thanks, very much). And I wrote about the kids in the Sunday School class where I sometimes substitute (including last Sunday).

And here’s the dumb idea:

I’ve actually had an idea while writing this post that I’ll try when I substitute next Sunday. I think I’ll put a table in the room where we have class, and ask all the student to put their scriptures (electronic and otherwise) flat on the table in front of them. That way I’ll be able to see whether they are staying in the scriptures or not. Of course, whether their minds are in their scriptures or not is another matter, and I won’t be able to see that…

What I did was I finally let sink in what MMM was saying in his post, and I stopped by the library and picked up a few paper copies of the Book of Mormon. In class, I announced that it would an e-free day for students (I still taught from my Kindle, because that’s what I was prepared to do, and I just had this idea on the way to class, and I was not at all troubled by the double standard for students and teacher, and neither were they.)

So everyone but me used paper scriptures. No one texted during class. No one surfed the web. And no one really cared. (In fact, one student – my son’s best friend -- observed that if I was trying to get the class to be quieter, I wouldn’t be able to tell because there were too many independent variables – not only had I outlawed e-devices, but my son was not there, so this young man wouldn’t be chatting with him during the whole lesson. Fair enough, I said. I wasn’t trying to reduce chatter, just get people to use their paper scriptures.)

There was little difference in the discussion. All the kids participated just as they had before – some more willingly than others. All read. All laughed at my corny jokes (my son was absent, remember?).

But I was glad not to have their attention divided between me, their friends, their other extraneous thoughts AND their e-devices. At least one distraction was eliminated.

I should, in fairness, point out that as I told my very supportive daughter about my lesson, she asked with just a tint of saracasm in her voice, "So, did you drag a table in for them to put their devices on?" Even she knew it was a bad idea...


  1. I am finding more satisfaction in your post than I should. Glad it went well for you!

  2. Well, gloat a while, then go ask your kids how cool you are... ;-)

  3. I didn't think it was such bad idea. Although I did picture a class of youth hunkered around one of the small tables in our classroom, and it did seem awkward.

    I was talking with our YW president today - she said the girls still bring scriptures in book form - amazing! She did mention that in the youth Sunday School, there are kids who use e-scriptures - but they have to earn that privilege. Alas, she didn't know what they do to earn the right. I'll have to track down their teacher and ask...

  4. Actually, logistics was one of the reasons I abandoned the idea. The room has a longer bangquet table folded up in it, but because of the shape of the room, it would have been difficult to use it and have the kids face the tiny blackboard.

  5. Haha,'s not a TERRIBLE idea. And at least you got the kids to use their scriptures in the end. That's something I'm struggling getting my YW to do--on their phones or not.

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