How can we help the kids to feel more connected?
One of the key findings of our recent research project was that connection and engagement with the children is key. It was really interesting to observe how much connection the online presenters had with the children in their audience.
In a couple of church videos, the presenters listed all of the names of children who had logged on at the start of the session, and welcomed them warmly by name. This was a lovely touch. Similarly, a few churches showed pictures that the children had sent in and gave some children a "mention". Kids love that sort of thing!
On the other end of the spectrum, some churches broadcast big productions which had been recorded centrally and then shown by a large number of churches. This tended to result in a high quality video, but there was inevitably less connection because the children wouldn't have known the presenters personally.
There were quite a few churches who had obviously gone to a lot of trouble to include videos of a number of different children and adults from their church. It would be lovely as a child to watch this, and see so many familiar faces.
One setting had pre-recorded many children saying liturgy, and then overlaid the recordings so that when a child joined in with the responses, it sounded like they were in a roomful of other children - quite a powerful effect!
And there were various other ways that children sought to connect more personally with the children. When you compared these efforts with videos of just one person presenting the whole session, it had nowhere near the same effect at connecting and engaging the person watching.