Digital Discipleship: Transforming Ministry Through Technology

Posts tagged ‘Classroom’

I Only Have ONE Computer for my Class!

The other day, I listened to a parish DRE share her story of receiving several “good” used computers from parishioners who recently bought newer equipment.  What does it mean to get a “good” computer.  Simply – It works when it is turned on.

To get some idea of what you want a good computer to be, you may want to read how others purchase used equipment.  These two articles may be helpful:

Buying a Second Hand PC

10-Step Guide to Buying a Used Laptop That Works

Once you have equipment to use, what can you do in a classroom with ONE-Computer?  Plenty!  I was recently reading Grace’s Post How to Manage a One-Computer Classroom and would like to adapt her tips to fit the religion classroom:

Tip #1: Having an agreement for using the computer in the classroom is important.  Check out several of the Acceptable Use Policies and then prepare a statement for your class or program.  Here are a few models to review:

Internet Acceptable Use Policy Template

Sample Letter To Parents

Other models can be located by doing an Internet Search.

Tip#2: Place the computer in an accessible and easily supervised place.  Easy access to assist students is important as well as seeing what is being done on the computer is important.

Tip #3: Have a faith project for the student to work on.  Some examples of projects are:

Word Clouds and Prayer

A Scripture Digital Storytelling Prayer Experience

Thinking Creatively – A Lenten Challenge

Using VoiceThread for Advent Prayer

Tip #4:  Check out the videos other catechists are using in their classrooms in the Digital Catechesis Video Library (A Free Registration).  Project the computer screen so the entire class can see a video you may want to use for prayer at the beginning or end of class.  Or you may simply want to engage your students with vivid images, sound, or music that has a wonderful message and fits into your lesson objectives through a short video.

Tip #5: Use an auto response system.  A great way catechists can engage students is to include lessons designed for group participation.  With an auto response system, students can further contribute from their seats.  Mouse Mischief, a FREE response system that uses multiple wireless mice, allows teachers to integrate surveys, polls, questions, and drawing activity slides into PowerPoint.  (Grace)

Tip #6:  Give some thought and planning to what can we done with ONE computer in your classroom.  Do a Google Search using “one computer classroom,” “one computer classroom ideas,” or “one computer classroom activities”  will provide a wealth of resources to explore, like – One Computer Classroom.

If you have found yourself saying, “We’ll never have a computer in the classroom – it’s just beyond our budget.”  Now challenge yourself with, “If we had just ONE computer in our classroom, what could we possibly do to engage our students to learn more about their faith by using technology as a supportive part of our teaching?

I would love to hear your stories of how you are engaging your students with just ONE computer in your classroom.  You are invited to share your stories here!

If you like this post, please remember to click the “Like” button!

©2012, Caroline Cerveny

Harness the Power of Technology


Students Using a Laptop Computer

Annunciata Catholic Academy

In the June/July 2011 issue of Learning & Leading with Technology, the feature article by Arne Duncan, the U.S. secretary of education , tells us how we can “Harness the Power of Technology”  in the classroom.

As I read the article, I felt challenged as a religious educator!  Classrooms all around us are changing!  Yet, the methodology we use for religious education is changing very slowly.

Allow me to highlight several of the article comments for you.  You may even want to substitute “catechist” for the term “teacher.”

Innovative teachers like you are leading this technological transformation in our classrooms today. You use powerful resources to engage students, deepen their understanding, expand their creativity, and help them solve problems. Because you have the passion, knowledge, and experience, you can prepare your colleagues to follow your lead and play a pivotal role in our national effort to transform our schools into innovative learning environments.

I understand that you face considerable challenges as you create digital learning environments. Some schools are rich with technology but are still stuck in the 20th century model of teaching and learning. Some teachers still see technology as an add-on to their lesson plans rather than integral to the process of teaching and learning.

Much like the printing press allowed people to learn from books as well as teachers, digital technology offers learners powerful new environments that include simulations, animations, scaffolded and guided practice sets, and experts who may be far away. With your firsthand experiences, you are uniquely qualified to articulate, showcase, and explore the power of technologies for learning.

So, how will catechetical leaders harness the power of technology in their teaching the faith?  Where are the current stories?  Perhaps you will share your story.  In addition -

Let’s have a chat about the following this week -

  1. Are we ready for this classroom transformation?
  2. What is holding us back from moving into becoming a 21st Century catechist?
  3. How do we immerse ourselves in the transformation that is already taking place around us?

Let us begin a conversation to see what we are thinking and feeling!

Copyright ©2011 Caroline Cerveny

The Complete Catechist Guide To Using Skype

Educators have used many digital  tools in their classrooms. We can learn from them! Edublogger Sue Waters on April 11, 2011 posted a wonderful article outlining everything you need to know about Skype including:

  1. Setting up Skype
  2. Using Skype
  3. To using Skype effectively within your classroom

Thank you Sue for all the helps and hints about Skype.  What we can now focus on is, how might we use SKYPE in the religion classroom or in an adult Faith Formation experience? I’ll begin the conversation and would encourage those who are reading this blog to continue the conversation with your suggestions and ideas.

SKYPE ideas for the Religion classroom

  • Videoconference With SKYPE.  Here is an example of an expert being brought into the classroom.  Perhaps you’re working on a Confirmation project that is focusing on the poor in your town or in a location in another state or country.  Arrange for an interview with a leader from this area to speak with your students about the project.
  • Present a Scripture Story. Through ePals, an educational service that safely links students in the same city or with students in other cultures, locate a religion class in another country.  Agree on the Scripture stories you would like to work on.  Then involve the students in retelling this story as if it were being told today in their country – using the images and symbols that are part of today’s culture.  In addition to discussing the Scripture story, this provides an opportunity for sharing how Jesus is present today in the lives and stories of other cultures.
  • Conference with parents. Whether a parent has to miss a regular sacrament meeting or a concern comes up that requires speaking with a parent, Skype can provide an opportunity to connect with a parent that may not otherwise be available for a conference.
  • What suggestions do you have for using SKYPE in your religious education classroom or program?

Looking forward to hearing your wonderful ideas!

With Holy Week around the corner, circle your calendars to return to ACyberPilgrim blog next week.  I will share a Good Friday of the Lord’s Passion video reflection with you and more…

Copyright ©2011 Caroline Cerveny

The Future of the 21st Century Catechist: How Technology May Transform our Faith Teaching

The other day I was searching for a YouTube video that would focus on today’s Digital Kids.  Here’s what I discovered?

I must admit, I watched this video several times.  Why?  I’ve met young people in the parish and in the family and I’m aware of how “digital” they are.  However, this video really got the point across that today’s kids (in general) are immersed in the digital world?  (Of course, there will always be exceptions).

I love the question at the end – Are we ready for them? Now, if Best Buy can ask this question because they are wondering if Best Buy will be ready for the next generation of gadgets boys and girls will want; then we need to ask – Are we ready to teach the faith to this emerging DIGITAL generation?

Perhaps the importance of this question, becomes clearer with the work that Ian Jukes is involved with.  I love the opening line of a recent book he co-authors, Teaching the Digital GenerationWe wrote this book because it is vitally important that education respond to the drastic changes taking place across the globe. I am of the opinion, that how we engage students in learning their faith in the 21st century will require that we are comfortable with their digital world and that we can engage them – when appropriate – with their tools!

This next video is a bit long, but worth every minute.  Listen now to Ian Jukes (an educational evangelist) as he speaks about understanding the Digital Generation:

I know I keep saying, after being in a classroom with today’s students – especially at the junior and senior high level – They are different! Their speaking DFL (Digital First Language) and our speaking DSL (Digital Second Language) is part of today’s challenge.

  • How are everyday educators dealing with this changing student?
  • Where are some best practices?
  • When we talk about 21st Century learning, what do mean?
  • What does it look like?
  • What happens in the classroom?

Let’s listen to a description by Lisa Short who demonstrates how she teaches.

As we ponder how we might teach in this evolving 21st Century environment, What will be the “best practices” of the 21st Century catechist?  How will technology transform our faith teaching?  If you are a “pioneer” in this area, would you be willing to share your story?

If you “like” this post, remember to click on the [like] icon below. 

Copyright ©2011 Caroline Cerveny

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