Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Theology And Technology: By. C.C.

"Young people in particular, I appeal to you: bear witness to your faith through the digital world!....Employ these new technologies to make the Gospel known, so that the Good News of God’s infinite love for all people, will resound in new ways across our increasingly technological world!" (Pope Benedict XVI)
It is difficult to avoid recognizing the massive way that technology has flourished around us. It seems that every day some new device is being unveiled and promoted as the "must have item". Numerous people flock to department stores in order to be among the first buyers of the "next best thing", and it is not long before everyone we encounter is buzzing with the same gadget. Our youth are especially pressured by peers to have the latest technological contraptions from video game systems, to cell phones, iPods, and of course to be linked through social media in every way possible. As an educator in middle school I see the prevalence of technology in the lives of today's youth every day. I find myself in my mid twenties battling to keep up with the numerous technological advancements..when did all of this happen? Arguably these advancements are remarkable and can assist us in many areas when used "properly". However, there are also many negatives, especially when it comes to our youth. Everyday I see students plugged into their iPods blaring music that most parents would not approve of their children listening to. They carry cell phones that link them to every form of social media and the Internet. They are online without parental supervision and are often exposed to highly inappropriate things. I have been guilty of judging and assuming that any student I see on their iPod can not be doing anything productive. Today I was humbled, moved, and taught a lesson by those I teach. Students are permitted to bring their iPods and technological devices to school understanding that they are liable for loss, theft, or any damage. Personally I believe the safest place for these items is at home....but none the less they seem to be quite prevalent around the building. During homeroom time I often allow students to listen to their music while they work quietly. Today I was asked for permission by a student to read something on her iPpod instead of listening to music. My mind automatically made the assumption that this student of mine was trying to pull the wool over my eyes. Inquisitively I asked her "What exactly are you going to read on there?" To which the students replied "Ms.C I just got the Bible App for my iPod and I wanted to read it" WOW! I definitely knew about this iPod App being available, but what I did not realize was that my 12 year old students had the type of fire for their faith to use their iPods as a means of keeping themselves in The Word of God. It was then I was humbled and recognized the way in which technology can indeed be used to make the Gospel known and share the Good News. This student was surprisingly not the only one in my class to have the Bible App on her iPod and it was not long before numerous students came up to me and showed me their Bible App. From verse of the day to Saint of the day I was beginning to learn a big lesson. The best part about this story is that I do not teach in a Catholic or a Christian school, and am so surrounded by children with profound faith. I was amazed by the way my students began to engage with one another, discussing their favorite parts about this Bible App. I realized that our youth can indeed "employ these new technologies" to glorify God and their faith. I started to turn away from my negative judgements of technology and began to recognize the way that one can use technology as a means of sharing faith and reaching numerous people. Whether we blog, send emails, or share messages of faith through status updates we are bearing witness and providing others with the opportunity to do the same. (C.C.)

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