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Editor's Note:

Visit the Bible Software Forum here at to download the Teaching Guides and other teaching handouts for individual software programs available for FREE to the supporting members of!  These guides have many lesson planning suggestions in them.

You'll also want to look up your Bible story in Bible Story Lesson Forums -- the Computer workshop topics to find lesson plans and outlines.

The following came to me in an email for teachers from Sunday Software.

How to Start Your Lesson in a Computer Lab

How to Train a New Teacher

...and other helpful Computer Lab lesson tips from Neil@sundaysoftware

Here’s how I start my Bible Computer Lab Lesson each week:

  1. I tell my students what we’re going to study today, and why it’s important to our faith. At this point I’ll often write down on our whiteboard several key ideas in the story and key questions we will discuss.

  2. We almost always play a short game of “where do you think this story is located in the Bible?” This refreshes their general Bible knowledge and navigational skills.

  3. Once at the passage, we often look at the context of the day’s story by scanning the Bible pages around our story for clues. When we studied the stories of Jacob & Esau for example, we looked back a little bit to see the story of Abraham & Sarah, and forward to see that Joseph stories were soon to follow. I’ll do this even with non-readers. Even though they can’t read, they enjoy looking at the Bible and finding the passage with our help.

  4. Depending on the software and story we’re studying, we’ll either briefly look at some key verses in their printed Bibles, or read the entire passage. For example, the Abraham program does a good job of narrating the story, so we’ll just read some highlight verses in their Bibles before going into the software. Sometimes I’ll pull out a picture Bible for younger students. Depending on the story, we may act out the story before or after going into the software. This is especially helpful with young children.

    For relatively short passages or stories, we’ll always read them in their printed Bibles, even if the software is going to retell the story and show the verses. The kids don’t mind a bit seeing it again in the software, and I like the way the repetition aids their memories.

Turning Assistant Teachers into Lead Teachers

Here’s a great way to prepare your assistant teacher to know the software and learn how to lead the class, without requiring them to put in time outside the lab.

Last week I prepared and led the Computer Workshop and a volunteer I had recruited assisted me as a helper at one of the computers. The NEXT week she led and I both took turns leading. The THIRD week she took the lead.

My co-teachers and I “POACH” great comments and questions from each other all the time. While we’re at our computer workstations with the kids, we keep an ear out for what the other teachers are doing and saying with their kids. I’ll often quietly slip a question or navigational pointer to another teacher as we go through the software at our stations. As the lead teacher, I also have to keep my eye on the other workstations, to make sure they haven’t skipped something important. So I’ll occasionally raise my voice to the entire class and remind everyone of the things we want them to make sure to see and do. Writing things down on the whiteboard or on a handout for the teacher also helps a lot.


Your BEST content is always worth repeating!

Don’t be shy about REPEATING CONTENT in software a SECOND TIME, or even a THIRD TIME. That’s one of the great things about software, --the kids don’t mind seeing it again.

This past week my 5th -8th grade class was studying Sarah’s story in our Abraham & Sarah software. They were so engrossed in the "freaky" images in the “Sarah’s Song” video the first time through that they needed to go back and listen to the lyrics more closely a second time. How did I know that? Because I was right there with them and asked! So we played it again. Younger children especially each like to "get their turn” at controlling the story or activity.

Repeatable content is one of the good things that computers bring to Sunday School. Kids will even take a quiz a second or third time to try and improve their score if you tell them they need to.

Repeatable content is one of the good things that computers bring to Sunday School. Kids will even take a quiz a second or third time to try and improve their score if you tell them they need to.

Volume Control Solution: Designate a Student to be on “Volume Patrol”

The software volume of various activities, narrations and songs is quite variable. Songs often need to be turned down, while narrations turned up. We have dividers between our computers, and that helps control “sound spray” A LOT. But we also must be constantly aware of how loud or soft a program might be getting. I’ve trained my students to be conscientious about volume. And I ask one of the students to keep their hand near the speaker volume control and make adjustments as we move through the software. I call this “being on Volume Patrol.”

Position the speaker that has the VOLUME KNOB -to the LEFT SIDE of the keyboard, rather than on the right by the mouse. It gives the “leftside student” something to control. Also, remember to PULL your speakers up close to each side of the keyboard, rather than leaving your speakers back behind the monitor. The closer the sound source, the lower the volume required.

Unconventional Uses for Popular Programs

If the passage you’re studying doesn’t have a good memory verse, have students create their OWN memory verse in Cal & Marty’s Scripture Memory Game software. You'll get some interesting and discussion worthy results!

Are you finding it difficult to close the class with meaningful prayer? Have your students open up the “Talk Now” module in Let’s Talk software with five minutes left to go. Invite them to summarize the lesson in a two sentence prayer along the lines of “Thank you God for teaching me today that _______________. Help me in the week ahead to _______________.”

Last edited by Neil MacQueen
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Free Teacher Training Pamphlet for Teaching with Software

This pamphlet is addressed to your teachers. It encourages them to preview the software and prepare. It helps them know what to expect and how their software might fit into the lesson time. Take a look and see if you can use it.

PDF Updated! View it Now

Also... Read the "Getting Started" article about using software in Sunday School



Last edited by Luanne Payne

What I mean by "Guide By The Side"
when teaching with interactive media

These photos show what I mean when I say "Guide by the Side" when teaching with software, PCs, and tablets. Kids are so attracted to what's on the screen that they will naturally tune-you-out if you are not going along with them into the software.

If your guides are standing behind students   they will tend to focus on what's going on in the classroom rather than what the students are doing, seeing, and interacting with on the screen (and that's where the teaching opportunities are!).


"Guide by the side,"
not "sage on the stage,"
not "coffee in the corner,"
and definitely not "man in the middle" (of the room).

As you can tell by some of the computer screens in these photos, some of these photos are quite old in computer years. But throughout the years, we continued to realize that the best way to teach and interact with this type of media DID NOT CHANGE. We still wanted to teach with this material as kids used it, not merely watch kids use it and wait for them to finish.


This is a cute photo of a "Dad in the Lab," but I would have encouraged him to get in his student's peripheral vision so that they felt he was "with" them, and so he could point at the screen and direct the mouse a little easier.

Even if you're using tablets, you need to be able to see what the kids are looking at so you can comment on it, ask questions, answer questions, and direct the kids.

Your physical presence also sends an important message.

Because they are focused on the screen and controls, you need to be in their peripheral vision and interacting with them during software use -- not out of sight behind them or across the room.


Some special needs students definitely need you by their side.


Sometimes you only have room to sit behind the students, and sometimes you need to sit between TWO computers (or kids with tablets). Like every other teaching medium, the more help you have, the better the teaching is during the activities.

You'll also notice that none of the kids are wearing headphones. I have no idea how to teach during software use with kids who can't hear my voice.


This last photo is from my 90's archive. The teacher shared it with me saying she was skeptical of teaching with computers --until she tried it and fell in love with it.

"Guide by the side,"
not "sage on the stage,"
not "coffee in the corner"
and definitely not "man in the middle" (of the room)


Images (8)
  • Guide by the side when teaching with computers
  • Dad in the computer lab
  • Teacher assistant with group
  • Special needs folks at the computer
  • Teacher helping kids at the computer
  • nancytoland9-21-08
  • special needs kids at the computer
  • Mary being the "guide by the side" at the computer
Last edited by Neil MacQueen

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