Tips and Tools for Teaching the Gospel in a Digital World

Contributed By Marianne Holman Prescott, Church News staff writer

  • PROVO, UTAH

Attendees take pictures of a slide at BYU Campus Education Week in Provo, Wednesday, August 17, 2016.  Photo by Hans Koepsell, Deseret News.

Article Highlights

  • Pictures, videos, and memes are powerful tools to use in the classroom.
  • Hashtags help teachers find resources and students locate content.
  • Vanity URLs like music.lds.org and medialibrary.lds.org shortcut to useful resources.

Incorporating the digital world into Church classrooms is one way to enhance discussion and teaching of the doctrine, taught Ronald J. Schwendiman, director of publishing product management for Seminaries and Institutes of Religion, during a session of Campus Education Week on August 17.

In the session, titled “Teaching the Gospel in a Digital World,” Brother Schwendiman shared tools to help foster discussion in a classroom setting.

Recognizing that every person in the Church is an important part of how the gospel will move forward, Brother Schwendiman said, “The Lord is hastening His work and we must keep stride with Him.”

Because of that responsibility of Church members today, it is important to implement discussion—rather than just a discourse—in the classroom settings of the Church.

“We aren’t just about feeling and we are not only about facts,” said Brother Schwendiman. “We need to teach by the Spirit.”

Drawing from the words of Elder Neil L. Andersen of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles in a talk in 2014 to religious educators around the world, Brother Schwendiman said, “Spiritual understanding rarely comes from a lecture. Spiritually, the classroom of faith becomes less like a lecture hall and more like a fitness center. Students do not get stronger by watching someone else do the exercises. They learn and then participate. As their spiritual strength increases, they gain confidence and apply themselves all the more” (“A Classroom of Hope, Faith, and Charity”). 

Brother Schwendiman walked listeners through a few of the digital helps the Church has made available in recent years.

Media library—medialibrary.lds.org

Pictures, videos, scriptures, and memes are powerful tools to bring a visual element to the classroom. The Church has pulled together a large collection that is downloadable or available by online streaming. Transcripts and recordings of many talks are available, along with the ability to choose specific clips of the talk to share.

Hashtags

Hashtags can be a helpful resource when searching for content. A simple search online using hashtags—some examples include #LDS, #mormon, #JesusChrist, #sharegoodness, or #Christian—will lead to more resources for teachers to use. Whether it is a picture, personal story, or article, hashtags are a great way for teachers to find or look through topics, as well as create their own searchable content. By creating an original hashtag for a group, multiple people are able to make their pictures and content available online.

Music—music.lds.org

A great resource for teachers is the interactive music player available at music.lds.org. On that site, anyone can access sheet music and a recording of the hymns and children’s songs. A tool within the interactive music player allows a person to change the key and tempo of a song, as well as break out specific parts.

Any changes or edits a person makes can be printed and used as sheet music for classes or a ward choir.

Apps

Whether it is the LDS Tools app, a scripture app helping people read scriptures in different languages side-by-side, an app to do family history, or an app to help high school students memorize scriptures, many resources are available for phones and tablets to help in the learning process.

Additional tools for teachers:

A woman looks through a class booklet at BYU Campus Education Week in Provo, Wednesday, August 17, 2016. Photo by Hans Koepsell, Deseret News.

Women talk before a class at BYU Campus Education Week in Provo, Wednesday, August 17, 2016. Photo by Hans Koepsell, Deseret News.

Robert and Gloria Salmon get their picture taken at a photo booth at BYU Campus Education Week in Provo, Wednesday, August 17, 2016. Photo by Hans Koepsell, Deseret News.

Randal A. Wright's class, “Discovering Your Unique Gifts, Talents, and Capabilities,” is seen at BYU Campus Education Week in Provo, Wednesday, August 17, 2016. Photo by Hans Koepsell, Deseret News.

Candice Rose looks at a display at BYU Campus Education Week in Provo, Wednesday, August 17, 2016. Photo by Hans Koepsell, Deseret News.

Many people were in attendance at BYU Campus Education Week in Provo, Wednesday, August 17, 2016. Photo by Hans Koepsell, Deseret News.

Carter Bushman grills hamburgers for the Canopy Cafe at BYU Campus Education Week in Provo, Wednesday, August 17, 2016. Photo by Hans Koepsell, Deseret News.

Youth smile during Scott L. Anderson's class, “The Truth Shall Make You Free,” at BYU Campus Education Week in Provo, Wednesday, August 17, 2016. Photo by Hans Koepsell, Deseret News.

Scott L. Anderson gets animated during his class at BYU Campus Education Week in Provo, Wednesday, August 17, 2016. Photo by Hans Koepsell, Deseret News.

Scott L. Anderson greets youth at BYU Campus Education Week in Provo, Wednesday, August 17, 2016. Photo by Hans Koepsell, Deseret News.

Moroni Burrows plays piano during a break between classes while Whitney McConnell, center, and Jackson Phelon listen at BYU Campus Education Week in Provo, Wednesday, August 17, 2016. Photo by Hans Koepsell, Deseret News.

Breanna Arterburn laughs at a funny video during a class at BYU Campus Education Week in Provo, Wednesday, August 17, 2016. Photo by Hans Koepsell, Deseret News.

John Bytheway speaks to youth during his class, “Gospel Values for Youth, Part 1: Media and Modesty,” at BYU Campus Education Week in Provo, Wednesday, August 17, 2016. Photo by Hans Koepsell, Deseret News.

Youth get their picture taken with John Bytheway at BYU Campus Education Week in Provo, Wednesday, August 17, 2016. Photo by Hans Koepsell, Deseret News.