A teacher came up with a creative solution for students who are constantly distracted by cell phones in class.

What do you think? Would this fly in your youth group? Is it even necessary?

Screen shot 2013-07-11 at 1.06.48 PMI don’t know about you, but I have a fairly tough time “shutting off my brain” at any point of the day or evening.  And technology does NOT help this.  You’re probably no different.  So, I have recently been making some changes with my daily rhythms and use of technology that has helped me actually pay attention to the people sitting directly in front of me.  I thought I would throw them out in hopes they might be a benefit to you as well. Here they are:

  1. Drive home.  When I drive home from “work” I have decided to do a few things.  First, I don’t have the radio on.  This allows me to breathe a bit and process through my day.  Secondly, I turn my phone off.  This allows me to unwind a bit before I get home.  Lastly, I get to my neighborhood about 5-10 minutes before I’m supposed to be home, park under a tree and sit there.  I pray.  I process.  I unwind.  This allows me to really be at home when I get there.
  2. Cell phone.  I recently changed my voicemail to say that I check messages every Friday.  This gives me time and space to respond to people as time allows rather than stressfully trying to get back to everyone.  I spend Friday mornings getting back to messages.
  3. Kids.  I have made a decision to not check my cell phone until my kids go to bed.  There are a few exceptions to this rule, like if we are waiting for someone to get back to us as a family or if we are having someone over for dinner than they are running late (or things like that).  When I walk in the door my ringer is off.  I then set my phone down on our kitchen island, face down, and pick it up later.  I’m not perfect at this, but it something I’m trying to do…and when I do, I tend to mentally be with my kids when I’m physically with them.
  4. Meetings.  I’ve now made it a rule that when I’m meeting with someone my cell phone goes off.  No buzz.  Ringer is off and I don’t answer it.  If there is an urgent call I’m waiting for I let the person I’m meeting with know that that call may come in before it does.  I also have a little deal with my wife.  She can call me at any time.  If I don’t pick up, I’m in a meeting.  But if she REALLY needs to talk to me she immediately calls back.  At that point I will tell the person I’m meeting with about my deal with my wife and they tend to understand.

The bottom line to all this is I’m trying to actually pay attention to the people who are directly in front of me.  I know, amazing concept.

Pushing Paper: Revisited

Geoff Stewart —  November 28, 2012 — 6 Comments

More than a year ago, I wrote a post called Pushing Paper where I laid out a case for encouraging students to bring a “real” paper Bible and to not rely on using one the many great App based Bibles for their phones. I felt my case of bulletproof, signed sealed delivered and the jury would be unanimous. Of course it was not that easy and lots of people had some well thought out arugments for and against the case that I laid out for using paper Bibles over electronic:

Status: I may seem obvious but in most cases, a student’s cell phone is the most expensive thing they own, its their treasure and something they have worked very hard for. I respect how important the phone is to them but I ask them to respect or request to put it away in place of a paper Bible. We do allow phones and have had students text in questions, but for the most part, we ask that they be present and resist outside distractions, allowing them to focus on God.

Less Distractions: I don’t often find students thumbing through Leviticus instead of listening to my Sermons but I know that there are tons of distractions on iPods and cell phones and if I were honest, I would be working my way through Angry Birds some nights. Limiting distractions is helpful to keeping students focused, and help to not be a distraction to those around them. After all paper Bible ddoesn’t get texts, tweets, instagrams, tumblr, facebook or any other sort of digital distraction and the battery never seems to die on my NIV either.

Bibles are Cumbersome: This is a good thing! I love seeing a student walk in with a Bible under their arm. They are distinct and beautiful, many decorated with stickers, duct tape and they are unmistakable. Carrying your bible around is a statement, it’s a stance, it shows that it is something you value and that you are willing to tote around this obvious symbol of that.

So I am bringing the issue back for your consideration because a few weeks back, I messaged our leaders and asked them to please bring their paper Bibles to youth group and refrain from using their phones. For most of the team, it was business as usual and they understood the rationale and were more than happy to not use their phone Bible App.  But one my leaders; who often asks good questions, asked me if I was simply delaying the inevitable and that paper Bibles were a thing of the past and why not just accept it.

So my question is: Is my paper Bible going the way of the Commodore 64 / Blackberry? Am I just being a thirty-year-old fuddy-duddy? Is this a hill worth dying on?

geoff -@geoffcstewart


So, Google [X] is heating up the web with a crazy new project. What is Google [X]?  According to cnet.com, “Most of what we know about Google X Labs comes from a New York Times article last fall which said engineers are working on a driverless car and other robotics projects, the “Web of things,” and even a space elevator.

The secret lab, where Google co-founded Sergey Brin is said to be deeply involved, is meant to tackle difficult technical problems and develop products that one day could bring Google new sources of revenue.”

Right now a group from Google[x] started Project Glass to build a technology that helps you “explore and share your world.”  It is a sort of iPhone for your face.

Right now this device does not seem to exist…and yes this news came out after April 1st.  Check out their site, watch this video, and give them input.  I could see this replacing my iPad while teaching, it doesn’t seem much more distracting than an iPad and a headset mic.

Google…I VOLUNTEER AS TRIBUTE (If tribute tested out your beta products).

If you have not heard of Polleverywhere it is a killer interactive communication tool.  Create multiple choice or open ended questions/polls and receive live feedback as people vote via text message.  You can present your polls online form their site, download and add in your presentation software (Mac and PC), or embed the poll’s code on your website. This is totally free for up to 40 votes per poll, if you need more that 40 votes you can purchase a larger plan. We hosted an event and wanted to use Polleverywhere so we purchased the 250 response plan for one month, you are not locked into any contracts or surprised by hidden fees.  The polls brought a new element to our teaching, the attendees had fun, and they were brought into the message.

Polleverywhere recently added some cool new features like adding images to your polls.  Instead of asking a question like, “What is your favorite Fast Food Restaurant?” And listing places, you can inset an image or their logo.  This is a pretty cool feature for our visual generation.

Here’s some insight on their new features…