Sunday, November 28, 2004

SBL Panel Update

I asked Joe Fleener for an update on the recent SBL Panel Discussion on Exegetical Software in the Classroom held at San Antonio, TX, earlier this month. Here is what he said:
The SBL Panel Discussion on Exegetical Software in Classroom Instruction went very well. It was an official SBL seminar and hence attendees were required to be registered for SBL. I attended the ETS conference leading up to the seminar on Friday and found a significantly high interest among ETS attendees in the subject. There is a growing interest among professors who desire to learn how to use the various software tools more effectively themselves and then to integrate them into their "traditional" classroom instruction.

When it came time for the actual panel discussion there were 75+ people in attendance at the peak. It was a 1 1/2 hour session and people came and went during that time. The numbers were a very good sign of the level of interest, but not real good for open dialog. I think people would have felt more comfortable to discuss and ask questions in a smaller crowd.

I began the session with an introductory presentation. In it I introduced the panel members and gave an overview of the purpose/need for our discussion. This PowerPoint presentation can be found @

Following Dr. Rodney Decker of Baptist Bible Seminary gave a presentation detailing his thoughts on the subject and his use of the exegetical software
(Accordance) in preparing classroom work and assignments.

Dr. Rod Whitacre of Trinity Episcopal School for Ministry gave a presentation of his use of BibleWorks in the classroom.

Finally Dr. Tom Finley of Talbot Seminary gave a presentation of his use of BibleWorks in his preparation of assignments as well as classroom instruction.

These presentations were followed by an extended Q&A time with each member of the panel responding as needed.

There were several good ideas given. However, at this point the primary outcome was a clarified realization of the need for this kind of discussion and a forum for professors to interact, share ideas and learn from each other. There are a lot of questions. I believe there is a tremendous need for faculty to catch up to the learning styles of this new generation of students, but there are very few places for faculty of theological institutions to have these discussions.

One place for this online is In addition we are working on a plan to provide opportunities at both ETS and SBL next year. We will keep you posted.
Thank you, Joe, for the summary.