I think seminary starts to get a little difficult this time of year. It is still dark in the mornings and I think it is easy to fall into a bit of a teaching rut. We are going through the New Testament this year and I have been trying to shake it up a little bit. The church has produced this great app called 'Bible Videos' that has a bunch of short films portraying the life of Christ.
I wanted to show these videos to supplement the reading we are doing, so I went to Amazon.com and searched 'iphone projectors'. I figured I could download them onto my phone, and then project them for the class. Several options came up on the search and they were pretty pricey. But I was drawn to this one in particular, purely because it was (by far) the least expensive. I hoped that I would discover that it was a good value and would meet my needs even if it was considerably more affordable than a few other models.
I placed my order and was pleased that I was able to track it as Fed Ex brought it from China. When it arrived, I eagerly opened the package to assess my $100 purchase.
Well. It wasn't what I had pictured, although I had certainly looked at the picture. It was...smaller...than I had imagined. Much smaller.
It was just 2"X2" and was extremely light weight. It reminded me of a Happy Meal toy, only not as well made. There couldn't have been more than $0.37 worth of plastic and electronics. It felt cheap. Super cheap.
I recognized that I was prejudging it and decided to test it out before I wrote off that Benjamin I had spent on it. I took it into my bathroom (no windows) to put it to the test.
Well, it worked. Not great, but it did shine a square of light on the wall and I was determined to give it a try in seminary. I downloaded a Mormon Message and was excited to show it to the class. I set it on it's little stand and shined it on the wall. The class was appropriately impressed as it started to play.
But then it all ended.
The little stand it was on gave way and the phone/projector combo tumbled to the floor.
I rescued it, stood it back up, but was unable to get it to play again. The kids all moaned a little because I think they enjoy watching movies as much as I do. I put it away for another day.
Over the weeks, I took the little projector home and got it to work. Mostly. There were times when it just didn't seem to want to work and I am still unsure why that is. I did learn that it won't work off of certain apps, but it seems to work well when I am streaming something from the internet.
I decided to give it another try. One of my students volunteered to help. Long story short, it worked all right, but when the student went to turn it off, it changed over to my music and blared out some country song until it was properly shut down.
I was encouraged and several days later, planned a special video about Jesus. I cued it up, put it on the stand, and we watched the brief clip from the life of Christ. The auxillary speaker I attached even worked well, giving us great sound with the movie. I was elated and at the end of it, I stood up and asked a student to flip on the light while I switched off the mini projector.
I am so glad that worked! I thought to myself. I pushed the off switch and opened my mouth to speak. Suddenly, from the speaker I had plugged in came the opening line from Sir Mix Alot's 'Baby Got Back'!!!!! It starts with a weird girls voice saying 'Oh my Gosh (except not 'gosh'), look at her butt!' It then goes into the familiar strain of 'I like big b*utts and I cannot lie' It is a song made famous at the end of the Shrek movie, although I remember it from my college days.
Now, I didn't even know that I had the pleasure of having this particular song on my phone (?!!?). So the shock at having that little projector playing it at the end of a Jesus video was almost too much to process. Luckily I snapped out of my absolutely shocked horror and unplugged everything I could touch. It was enough to stop the song from playing through that loud speaker.
I think the class was just as shocked as I was. A few kids laughed, but most of them just stared at me wide eyed. I said, "OK, that will end our class today, as I now have no idea what to say."
Seth excitedly said, "Really?!!" as he slapped closed his Bible.
"No. Not really, but let's all just take a moment to try to forget about that 80s song that is not at all appropriate for Seminary. OK. Moving on."
I could feel my face getting hot and my hands were a little shaky, but I tried to just roll with it and asked a student some question from the manual.
Super, super awkward.
Although I appreciate a good deal, I learned once again that sometimes you get what you pay for.
I also learned that sometimes when you try to shake it up, that's exactly what you manage to do.