Using Tech to Create Connections, Part 5
Connecting Student to Student
Every learner is unique. Some are outgoing, some hardly say a word. Some are quick thinkers, others need a little time to process. Some of our learners may be very confident and experienced in the study of the Bible. Some may be attending our Bible study for the very first time. They all have a unique perspective to contribute. How do we ensure that all voices have a chance to be heard in our classrooms?
In the fifth and final article of this series, Pastor Paul Waldschmidt demonstrates how a teacher could use tech tools like Padlet and Flipgrid to amplify student voice and encourage collaboration, thereby better connecting student to student.

Pastor Paul Waldschmidt, a 1999 Seminary graduate, served for 13 years at St. Mark in Normal, Illinois, before coming to Peace in Hartford, Wisconsin, in 2012. He has served the church-at-large as chairman of the Western Wisconsin District Commission on Adult Discipleship and as a circuit pastor in both the Western Wisconsin and Southeastern Wisconsin Districts. He earned his STM in Education with a focus on using technology in Christian Education and is currently doing coursework for an M.S. in Education.
They never stopped teaching and proclaiming the good news that Jesus is the Messiah. Acts 5:42
Adult Education: Additum
How to 'Read' Students During Remote Learning

Feeling a little disconnected from your students these days? That might be true for you if you’re teaching an online Bible study. The students seem so far away—because they are! And things like body language, facial expressions, listening to their questions of one another, or simply looking over their shoulder aren’t possible. How can we still connect with them?

You might also feel disconnected during face-to-face classes these days if your students’ faces are often covered by masks. Are they smiling or frowning? Do they look like they’re understanding the concept or do they look confused? Who can tell?

In this article, Nina Portugal offers practical tips for finding out what students, both young and old, are thinking during this time when connections are more difficult.

Teaching Toolbox
JiTT (Just-in-Time Teaching)

What if you could ask a couple questions of your adult learners hours or days before class and adapt your face-to-face class time based on their answers. They’d come to class pre-engaged, if you will, and you’d be able to build off of what they’re already thinking about. That’s one of the benefits of JiTT (Just-in-Time Teaching). In this article, Cynthia Brame of the Vanderbilt Center for Teaching introduces the concept.

Curriculum Connection

If you have a somewhat abbreviated time for Bible study sessions, whether they are in-person or online, the 19-Minute Bible Studies are worth your consideration.

Nice examples of a more learner-centered, interactive approach to Bible study are found in the Bible study kit, Luther's Small Catechism.

Each of the 52, 19-minute lessons contains catechism material with application discussion questions and answers, making the content ideal for church council and other meeting openings, where time is at a premium, and the like.

Teaching Tip

Whether they know it or not, students come to you because they’ve hit the limit of what they can learn in their comfort zone. This leads me to conclude that, in order to maximize student learning, teachers must make students uncomfortable. Your job is to create a thoughtful, supportive environment that invites (or forces) students to attempt new challenges and learn from them. . . . Get students into the discomfort zone as much as possible. That’s where learning lives.

– Dan Spalding from his book “How to Teach Adults”
 Teach the Word is a collaboration of Northwestern Publishing House,
Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary, and WELS Discipleship.