Smart phones find uses in confirmation work

In Finland, religious games for smart phones and tablet computers are now available to be used in confirmation work. Approximately 85% of 15-year-old Finns attend confirmation training organised by the Evangelical Lutheran Church. The Congregational Mobile Technologies project at the University of Eastern Finland has released two mobile games which are suitable for the teaching of topics addressed in confirmation work.

One of the games teaches the user the Creed, the Lord’s Prayer and the Benediction. The game can be used not only as part of teaching given in confirmation work, but also in the activities of Christian churches, congregations and associations.

The other game, called “CROSS 2048”, is a new version of the hugely popular 2048 game, in which the player combines numbers to reach 2048. In CROSS 2048, instead of numbers, the player combines Christian symbols and, as the game proceeds, learns the meanings of the symbols reached. The game is well-suited for teaching purposes in, for example, confirmation work.

Both the games are available for free in app stores for the most common smart phones and mobile devices.

Today, mobile applications and mobile games are widely used to support teaching and learning; however, games designed for the specific needs of confirmation work and congregations in general have been scarce in Finland and elsewhere, too.

“Up until recently, the attitudes towards the use of mobile phones and tablet computers in confirmation work have been reserved, as they were seen as a distraction. Nowadays, however, almost every young person has a smart phone, and the games developed in the Congregational Mobile Technologies project are a way of acknowledging the world young people live in also in confirmation work,” Early Stage Researcher Eveliina Ojala says.

The games and other, more interactive applications for confirmands will be presented in the 3rd International Conference on Confirmation and Christian Youth Work in Europe, to be held in Finland in June. The conference is organised by the International Research on Confirmation Work network, involving European and US scholars.

“Confirmation work in the European context is important from the viewpoint of values related to civic society. Annually, more than half a million young people participate in confirmation work within Protestant churches in Europe. The project has also expanded to, for instance, Tanzania in Africa,” says Docent of Religious Education Tapani Innanen, the leader of the project.

The Congregational Mobile Technologies project designs and creates mobile applications for the use of congregations and congregation members across denomination borders and in close cooperation with end users. The project is a multidisciplinary effort between the University of Eastern Finland School of Computing and School of Theology. The main funders of the project are the European Social Fund and the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland.

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