Open Source Idea

Discussions around miscellaneous technologies and projects for the general membership.
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Mr. M-p40
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My thought...

#11

Post by Mr. M-p40 »

There are sites all over the internet that have the tools and resource we are discussing in this thread. Our stake president made a good point...the church spends a lot of money and time to construct the outline that they want teachers to use and provide it in a manual. Those items are inspired and allow for the teachers to build upon it.

My concern is that the lessons they provide should be "BUILT UPON" and not replaced. I have found that too many resources end up with a lesson that doesn't incorporate enough of the inspired lessons that are provided directly by the church.

Another thing, we as a church teach that the doctrine we share is universal throughout the church. That means we should be able to travel and get the same lesson, at least structure, as we would in our home ward. I am lucky to have family thorughout our stake and we have found on the occasions we get together for dinner and discuss the lessons that they are completely different and many times one of us gets the manual lesson and the other gets something completely different...

I encourage our teachers to use the manuals and build upon the lessons based on the suggestions and experiences at the end of the lessons.

That's just my thought...too much of even a good thing in the end....is still just too much...IMHO.
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russellhltn
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#12

Post by russellhltn »

I think my concern is that the uploaded lessons will "build upon" the gospel. Faith-promoting rumor will become fact and guidance will become commandment. How do we protect against that? Just because it's popular, doesn't make it so. I'm not sure as peer review is enough. Especially for a official church site.

Secondly, to make a lesson work, you have to have space for members to share their own experiences. It's more powerful to have one from your own group then from the manual. I'd be concerned that a uploaded lesson would be so crammed with references there wouldn't be time to do anything but read it verbatim.
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bhofmann
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#13

Post by bhofmann »

RussellHltn wrote:I think my concern is that the uploaded lessons will "build upon" the gospel. Faith-promoting rumor will become fact and guidance will become commandment. How do we protect against that? Just because it's popular, doesn't make it so. I'm not sure as peer review is enough. Especially for a official church site.

Secondly, to make a lesson work, you have to have space for members to share their own experiences. It's more powerful to have one from your own group then from the manual. I'd be concerned that a uploaded lesson would be so crammed with references there wouldn't be time to do anything but read it verbatim.
I agree that we need to make sure urban mormon myths don't crop up. Maybe have moderators or require references?

I'm not too concerned about having crammed lessons. Many of the lesson manuals the Church provides include too much information anyway. The teacher needs to be lead by the Spirit during the class and know that they can't use everything. I think good teacher training would help and encouraging viewing the Worldwide Training broadcasts. In the last one Elder Holland talked about this very subject.
russellhltn
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#14

Post by russellhltn »

bhofmann wrote:Maybe ... require references?
The problem is even with references I can probably find something uttered by a GA or higher that can back a marginal position - especially if I dig though the writings of early church leaders. References would limit and slow any drift. But I don't know as it would halt it.

As I understand it, the current manuals are heavily reviewed. The new site couldn't get the same level of review simply because of the volume of lessons.
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#15

Post by russellhltn »

Joel Dehlin wrote:What think?
From years of technical troubleshooting, I've learned not to answer the question asked, but to answer the problem behind the question. :D

So the first thing (now that my brain is fully in gear) I'd ask back, is purpose to solicit technical ideas, workflow ideas, or just throwing something against the wall to see what kind of ideas come out of it?

From a technical standpoint, it seems easy enough. Workflow would need to be hammered out. The real thing I'd like to address is "purpose". If the idea is to harness the collective to come up with and grade lesson plans with an eye toward easing the burden of the Sunday School planning committee (or whatever it's called), I think the idea has a lot of merit.

The biggest concern I'd have is people trying to put some plans into action before they are really ready. I think members are naturally attracted to the fringe stuff because that seems to be were the new information to learn is. (The mainstream stuff was drilled into our heads ages ago.) I'd be concerned that the submitted lessons would have a pull to that direction. I'm not sure how to address that without an authoritative review of each and every plan - a major burden to the committee. Perhaps if the site solicited lesson plans for next year rather then things for the current year, that might help with the goal while minimizing the problems. You'd get a list of past lesson plans that teachers have used and can use them to devise the new manual. It would limit the number of submissions, but I think they'd probably be of higher quality.

I also think the question should be posed on a list of Sunday School teacher types who would understand the dynamics of such a thing better then the current crowd of techies. :D
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nbflint
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#16

Post by nbflint »

The church website is currently designed as an information portal. That is, a user goes their when they want information about/from the church. It is not designed as a collaboration tool where users interact with each other. The most obvious reason is that this is the easiest way for the church to control its message (which happens to be the most important message in the world). Opening up the church website to user collaboration instantly threatens the security of the churches message. I would prefer to see a third party site set up as a 'niche' site for teachers looking for support and help.

I would be more interested in a site that used the churches manual as a base, and then allowed users to share ideas and experiences regarding the lesson in particular. "I tried this object lesson and it worked really well . . ." or "This GA quote seemed to be just what the class needed." In this manner the focus is on the doctrine in the lesson but we are still able to support each other in our roles as teachers.

amc79
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Do you have a story to tell?

#17

Post by amc79 »

It appears Joel has been thinking a lot about Wikinomics. (See Joel's post). Following up on the idea that collectives are better at finding solutions than identifying problems, I think this idea can be used to extend the current practice of the Church Magazines of inviting stories from members about living a particular gospel principle. The quote below was taken from page 2 of the current Ensign. I think such an online repository of stories illustrating the gospel in action would be more valuable than having members share their lesson plans.

I enjoyed the demonstrated classroom in the recent Worldwide Training Broadcast in which Elder Holland acted as facilitator and church members shared their own stories and favorite scriptures on a particular topic. If we could develop a community that shares personal experiences, quotes from recent General Conferences, etc. and link them back to the lessons according to user-generated tag/keywords, I think we could create a similar dynamic--a worldwide classroom of sorts that can be used to support and enhance teaching and learning of the Church-approved curriculum.
DO YOU HAVE A STORY TO TELL?
The Ensign invites you to share your testimony of family home evening. What kinds of lessons and activities have generated love and positive behavior? How do you successfully have family home evening with young children, with teenagers, with no children, or when family members are separated by distance? Please send us your ideas and success stories, labeled “FHE,” by July 15. We also welcome other submissions that show the gospel of Jesus Christ at work in your life. Publication criteria are posted at www.lds.org under Gospel Library. Send submissions to ensign@ldschurch.org or Ensign Editorial, 50 E. North Temple Street, Room 2420, Salt Lake City, UT 84150-3220, USA. Include your name, address, telephone number, e-mail address, ward (or branch), and stake (or district). Due to the volume of submissions, we cannot acknowledge receipt. Authors whose work is selected for publication will be notified. If you would like your material returned, please include a self-addressed, stamped envelope.
kennard
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Plenty of material

#18

Post by kennard »

There is already more material in the lesson manuals than can be covered in a single lesson, and even the manuals say not to try to cover it all (not to mention the recent training). It seems that we are periodically reminded that we should be sticking to approved materials (the lesson manuals, scriptures, conference talks, etc.) and the approved curriculum. Yes, we are counseled to use personal experiences and testimony and adapt the message to the needs of the class, and of course it is appropriate to use quotes by General Authorities that are fitting for the lesson we are teaching, but it seems that there is already enough material for the teachers that there is no need to be using lessons prepared by some other non-approved source (from Meridian or elsewhere).
I have been in a few lessons that hardly even resemble the lesson from the approved curriculum because the teacher has brought in so many related quotes and materials, that I would be wary of encouraging that further by providing a forum for exchanging ideas of what non-approved curriculum to share. In my experience, when there is class participation and the members of the class are being edified together and teaching each other, there is too much to try to cover, not too little. And if I'm too busy trying to fit in lots of extra cool quotes and additional materials, there probably isn't much discussion and participation going on.

-Doug
KathrynGZ
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Consider spin-off ideas?

#19

Post by KathrynGZ »

dougk wrote:There is already more material in the lesson manuals than can be covered in a single lesson, and even the manuals say not to try to cover it all (not to mention the recent training). It seems that we are periodically reminded that we should be sticking to approved materials (the lesson manuals, scriptures, conference talks, etc.) and the approved curriculum. Yes, we are counseled to use personal experiences and testimony and adapt the message to the needs of the class, and of course it is appropriate to use quotes by General Authorities that are fitting for the lesson we are teaching, but it seems that there is already enough material for the teachers that there is no need to be using lessons prepared by some other non-approved source.
I love teaching and over the years have taught in Sunday School, RS, Primary, and Young Women. I thought Doug's post was right on target. In addition, I would be very unlikely to use someone else's lesson plan--each teaching experience is unique, and I've found it best to use the Church-approved curriculum as a basis, with additional quotes/experiences as guided by the Spirit.

As current Primary president in our ward, I’d also be uncomfortable with our teachers using member-contributed lesson plans unless I knew they had gone through Correlation. Not only that, I’m not sure I see the need: the Primary lessons are simple but powerful, and it would be unlikely that a member's individual lesson plan would improve on the lesson in the manual (except as guided by the Spirit for that member's stewardship).

Russell's spin-off idea of collaborating on new lessons to assist Church curriculum development would be another matter. I would be very interested in participating in a project like that.

Another idea (somewhat related to Tom’s suggestion) might be to allow members to contribute additions to the Gospel Topics pages. The rule could be that members could only contribute material already found on lds.org, which would take care of the Correlation issue. That would be a great resource for teachers.

Kathryn
JamesAnderson
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#20

Post by JamesAnderson »

I think I see where some of you are going with this, it sounds like there might be something workable here.

The idea of working as a worldwide community on the Gospel Topics pages could really make them useful.

Take the category 'Divorce'. Right now I don't think it has Elder Oaks' talk on that subject referenced. So lets say one is looking for talks about that subject and it's not there, so he/she goes to the search page nad finds Elder Oaks' talk. If it were possible to submit that for inclusion in the topics page listings for the subject, it could make that more valuable. It would only have to be submitted once maybe twice to get all the relevant topics cross referenced.

Typically, a talk or magazine article may have more than one category as we have seen. Now that might not be so hard to do, all they have to do is update the Gospel Topics page once each month for the topics covered in that month's magazines.

The challenging one is tagging articles to go with particular lessons, I've not seen that except in the YM/YW topics in the November Ensign but it might prove extremely useful to some. That is where the best collaboration can likely be. Also, updating the topics for before the time they did the topics at the end of the articles could prove to take longer as well.

Same goes for other materials on the site like the talks in the Additional Addresses area. And the CES talks and Worldwide Leadership materials there, and anything else that might be added to that in the future.
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