Applying technology effectively in any situation is challenging, but I find it especially difficult in training because teachers and small group leaders must spend their time understanding the small group content and process. This leaves precious little time to learn new technology. It can be even more difficult in Christian education and discipleship because leaders serve almost exclusively in volunteer, part-time roles, greatly reducing group preparation time.
I recently transitioned out of my full-time ministry job with the Amy Foundation to take a project management position with Michigan State University, leading a project (PROM/SE) to improve K-12 mathematics and science education. The thrust of the 5-year project is to equip teacher leaders to lead change in the 65 school districts and 600+ buildings in which they teach. I think a major qualifier for me in the new position was the five years of experience I have managing the operations of an internet development company that specialized in online training and performance improvement. Online assessment, courseware, and courseware management systems was our "bread and butter." The K-12 project will rely heavily in transferring knowledge from the University through 1,400 teacher-leaders to their 6,000+ teacher peers of mathematics and science education.
It is also because of this experience that SmallGroups.com asked me to share insight in using technology-based training for small groups and their leaders. I believe most of what I have learned is transferable into a small group setting, and Gina (my wife) and I will be exploring ways to use technology more expansively in our personal ministry, the Coffee Shop Church.
Crossing the GapsThere are at least two gaps that will ...