The Chromebook cart with its 30 Chromebooks and its supporting network arrived at Calvin Christian in the middle of February. As a junior high teacher I am very excited about the role Chromebooks will play in the education of our students. The following paragraphs reflect a few thoughts concerning technology and its role in Christian education today.
In a Christian school, God is the center of the life of learning. God has revealed Himself in General Revelation (His created order), and Special Revelation (the Bible). Education takes place primarily to bring about a redeemed world. Teachers and students alike are called to be agents of change in a rapidly changing world. The highest calling in all of education is to be servants as we model the pastoral work of Christ. Christian teachers in any discipline of academia need to be rooted in the meta-narrative of God’s redemptive plan of history. Without God’s Word, Christian schools lose their connection to God’s covenant, value, and purpose.
The responsibility of the teacher in the specific use of technology needs to keep in mind that God uses his common grace for His specific purposes. Our creative, aesthetic God uses humans’ intellect to arrive at technological ingenuity. This provides the teacher with a variety of ways to enhance learning for the student. Computers are excellent for word processing, as well as gathering, collating, viewing, and sharing information. It is the teacher’s goal to equip and help students discern the information highway. But as in all of life, there is an antithesis that runs through computer technology. There are temptations that lure teachers and students to use computers inappropropriately.
Computers are tools that teachers can use to expand learning for the student. The teacher also needs to understand what is available through technology. The educator must blend the continuity in the subject area with technology. Haphazard, random information picked up from the internet and shown for the sake of fun or interest is not a good use of technology in the classroom. The temptation also exists for the computer to act as a baby-sitter, and allow the students too much screen time. Teachers are responsible to their students as they reach through their eyes and into their hearts. It is hard to teach the whole child (head, heart, hands), if the head is too glued to the information highway. Students need to respond horizontally (with other students) and vertically (with God). The machine cannot overtake the heart as the pulse that motivates society. Computers ought to serve as servants, something to be used, not their Master.
Teachers and students need time for reflective thought. The Psalmist David related in Psalm 46:10, “Be still and know that I am God.” In our fast-paced world, we are often overwhelmed at the tremendous input of information. Can we absorb and filter the information as fast as it attacks our senses? Students need to be given opportunity and ways to seek and find God amidst the overwhelming information put out in the world of technology. Information chaos results in a very disjointed, random world view. It is part of our job as teachers to help the student keep a proper perspective concerning technology and the rest of the Created Order.
God is sovereign and in control of all things. He is in control of technology too! Christians can remain confident that God is the same yesterday, today, and forever. It is that confidence that I would like to impart to the students. Yes, we need to be aware of the dangers of technology, but there are also blessings that emanate from its use. Calvin Christian teachers and students must engage their culture through the use of technology, but also be aware of the dangers as well. Calvin Christian can be used as an agent of change. Our Christian schools are where we should educate our students in the redeeming use of technology.