iPods Newest Study Aid
March 15th, 2006Posted by: Theo Nicolakis
Just about everyone can relate to the common school experience of lectures, note taking, homework and exams.
In an article entitled, iPods now double as study aids, USAToday’s Ken Fuson relates how carrying an Apple iPod on campus is now taking on new meaning as colleges and universities are making lectures and study aids available so that they can be played on these portable players. The article states that some professors report an increas in class attendence due to this new medium because students become excited about what they have been listening to or watching.
This experiment in higher education heralds a dramatic shift in how we should approach utilizing this same medium for Christian ministry. The portability of information and its universal accessibility are ushering in new forms and ways of socialization. Historically, the Church itself has worked within these forms of socialization and transfigured them. With the advent of the graphical interface to the World Wide Web (ie the web browser) over the past 13 years, the Church has leveraged this medium for not simply communication, but a wider spectrum of ministry, evangelism, and outreach.
Cell phones (which have evolved into portable media centers), iPods, and other devices are giving a glimpse of the ongoing trend towards technological consolidation (in other words, a single device that does multiple functions) and the need for that device to provide multiple levels of interaction and access. In other words, in the future, devices will allow us to talk, video conference, take pictures and movies, listen to music, read email, and watch TV and movies.
We must look at these technological trends and interpret their appropriate theological application for ministry in the Church. As it pertains to current devices and technologies, Priests must look to reinvent existing sources of information and distribution and repackage their contents. In other words, today, bible studies, catechetical classes, and even church bulletins and newsletters must be continually reinvented. Perhaps as we confront these challenges, parishes will develop audio recordings of services and catechetical classes for iPods. Parishes may even venture forth into what I call “Podcast Bulletins” where the entire church bulletin or newsletter is available in audio (and in the near future) video format. This will afford members of the parish and indeed even those who travel to automatically subscribe to those snippets of information. This will not only keep our communities better connected and improve the flow of information, but hopefully it will also make the Christian faith readily accessible to our faithful and proclaim it to every creature under heaven (cf. Colossians 1:23).