I tried an experiment a few days ago. I texted a bunch of my kids, maybe 12-15, and asked them to take a picture of something that they are struggling with. They could have taken a picture of their homework, a bully, a teacher, their parents, etc. How many pictures did I get back? Nil, nada, zero. My first reaction could have been, “Lazy bums” but instead I decided to be patient. I may still get one or maybe not. This is a new thing I am testing so I cannot be discouraged when nothing happens. Our students are not used to me engaging with them this way, yet. I have a few other ideas I am thinking about , using various social media
Picture needs a caption. Post a picture, funny or serious, and ask your students to write a caption for it. The picture could have something to do with tonights lesson. Offer a prize for the best captions.
Send out a quote or a verse of scripture and ask kids to re-tweet it with a hashtag Like John 3:16 #Godislove. Use the hashtags in your meeting that night as game to see who said what or to create a slide with all the hashtags on one slide as an opener or closer to your lesson.
Vine is the best way create short, beautiful, looping videos in a simple and fun way. Have kids make a 7 second statement about a topic like homelessness, abortion, or whatever. Ask permission to show the videos in your meeting that night.
Put a video up on your Facebook page or text one out and kids to comment on it. This could be a video you make or one already on YouTube. Use the comments to add t your points or as a discussion starter.
I am really excited about this one. I think it has the most potential because teens love taking photos. The reason I think I failed in my attempt the get a picture back was because I was not specific enough. If I said, “take a picture of something gross and send it to me” my phone would have been dinging like crazy (makes me wonder how many photos of dog poop I would have received) Maybe I should have said, “Take a picture of something beautiful” Now, this pictures may not fit with my message but I could put together a worshipful slide show with a scripture at the end like, ” He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end.” Eccl. 3:11
Those are my beginning ideas. I know have to bring this up in my youth meeting, get feed back, build consistency, build a habit, etc to make this work. Sporadic interactions are not going to cut it.
Any of these ideas float your boat? Do you think they will work or fail miserably? Did it spark any ideas on your end? Leave a comment, a crowdsourcing idea you’ve used, or one you just thought of, below.
How are you engaging your students online?
What kind of feedback have you been getting?