Digital Discipleship: Transforming Ministry Through Technology

Archive for November, 2010

The Advent Season – Week 2

As we immerse ourselves in the season of Advent, over the next three weeks, I will continue to share with you videos, music, and various presentations that I’ve located on the Internet.  May these materials be an inspiration to you as you enjoy what others, who are like you, have created.  If you like, you may forward the blog link to other catechists, parents, friends or anyone in your parish communities who would like to pause for a moment to prepare their minds and hearts over these next weeks for the celebration of the Lord Jesus into our lives!

Second Sunday of Advent Readings – December 5th


Overview • Liturgy, Cycles and Seasons • Season of Advent • Origin of Advent • Preparing for the Messiah • How Advent is Celebrated

What is Advent

An RCIA Presentation on Advent

Here is a prayer for the 2nd week of Advent.  Click here.

Second Week of Advent

Prayer for 2nd Week of Advent

David Hass music is always inspirational.  Take a moment to listen to Give Me Jesus.

Would love to hear from you how you may have used these materials in your class or parish!  If you have created a YouTube video, or downloaded a PPT to Slideshare, tell us about your creation by sharing your story and  link(s) with us in the response section of this week’s blog article.  May our media bring others closer to Jesus!

Copyright ©2011 Caroline Cerveny

 

The Advent Season – Week 1

As we immerse ourselves in the season of Advent, over the next four weeks, I will share with you videos, music, and various presentations that I’ve located on the Internet.  May these materials be an inspiration to you as you enjoy what others, who are like you, have created.  If you like, you may forward the blog article to other catechists, parents, friends or anyone in your parish communities who would like to pause for a moment to prepare their minds and hearts over these next four weeks for the celebration of the Lord Jesus into our lives!

First Sunday of Advent ReadingsNovember 28th

A first week Advent Prayer that you can download to use with your class, Catechists, or RCIA group.

First Week of Advent

First Week of Advent

Check out – How To Make An Advent Wreath!

Advent Wreath

Advent Wreath

Would love to hear from you how you may have used these materials in your class or parish!  If you have created a YouTube video, or downloaded a PPT to Slideshare, tell us about your creation by sharing your story and  link(s) with us in the response section of this week’s blog article.

Copyright ©2011 Caroline Cerveny

Meet Joy Jenkins: 21st Century Teacher of Bible History

Today’s challenge – teaching differently!  Many of our  mindsets go back to traditional 20th Century teaching models that are:

  • Textbook driven
  • Passive learning
  • Teacher-centered: teacher is center of attention and provider of information
  • Print is the primary vehicle of learning and assessment
  • Lessons focus on the lower level of Bloom’s Taxonomy – knowledge, comprehension, and application

Some say – This is the way we were brought upThis teaching style worked for us, so it will work for them! Yet we need to teach differently today.  How we will do this  will come with grace, time, and creativity! We need to listen for the stories of the “best practices” that are possible.

I’d like to share a pioneer “best practice” story with you.  I met Joy Jenkins at a conference.  As we chatted, I learned that she was changing her teaching position from Math to Bible History in a public school system .  Her recent email to me shares the following:

Currently I am writing the curriculum for Bible History in 6th, 7th and 8th grade as well as overlaying 21st Century skills.  The process has been challenging, but amazing.  We have been  studying the Persian Empire.  Students are using iPod touches, MacBooks and digital cameras for their learning.  Student created projects have included the use of PhotoBooth, GarageBand, Comic Life, iMovie, digital cameras, iPhoto, Green Screen, iWebb, Keynote, Stickies, Pages and of course iTunes!  Students also used iPods to hear podcasts from the text, calculate math problems, research and take notes.   Student projects included self projects, iMovies, video journals, email, on-line surveys and blogs.  I have only had the students for 9-weeks, but we have been able to accomplish many things.  I have also used EDU 2.0 as a class resource.

Everything has been project based learning as my classroom has been a paperless classroom.

So what makes this possible?  First – creativity!  Joy sees the potential of what can be done with what is available today in the classroom!  She has a VISION!  (Do we not say without a vision, we perish!)  Yes, after the vision there is funding (in this case from outside resources).  Many of us are bemoaning the fact that our budgets keep getting cut.  However, do we have a vision to invite others to join and support? Here’s a bit of Joy’s vision –

Just so you know a little bit about me, I am a public school 21st Century Model Classroom teacher for the Rowan Salisbury School System in North Carolina.  I am also the AT&T Northwest Region 7 Teacher of the Year for North Carolina 2010 – 2011.  When I decided to change from math to Bible History, many colleagues thought I was crazy.  But I saw it as a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to merge Bible History and 21st Century skills.  I am very aware that I have a unique and wonderful opportunity.

Wow!  Bible History merits the unique and wonderful opportunity of merging Bible History and 21st Century Skills into the teaching of this wonderful subject!  What would the teaching of our faith be like if all of us could have the same drive and passion as Joy with what we are teaching our children today?

What would our teaching be like if we just integrated one technology tool into our weekly class sessions?  Surely that is possible, even on a bare bones budget!

Whiteboard Baptism

21st Century Student

What is our question for this week?  What do I need so that I can achieve the same passion and purpose as Joy has in her teaching mission?  If you would, share your spark, so that we are “igniting” one another to teach differently!

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

Ed Tech Ministry: Is there a gap?

If I felt like a gap existed between myself and the 12-year old that I met back in 1983 in the Radio Shack store, imagine how many of us feel today when we compare ourselves with a Digital Native?  Regardless of the gap we feel, it is time to learn more about educational technology.  In many ways, even though we may feel like we’re running to catch up, we are at an advantage.  Educators all around us are savvy users of educational technology, and we can learn from them! We can learn from their “best practices” and adapt what works to our faith environment.

If you take time to Google “educational technology” you will find helpful background information.  Don’t expect to learn all that is possible overnight! Remember, this field of study emerged at the university level about thirty-five to fifty years ago.  Many of the degree programs in educational technology began being part of university programs in the late 70’s and early 80’s.  Today’s teacher training programs normally require one-course in educational technology.  I am not aware of any ministry training programs at the undergraduate or graduate levels with similar requirements. Perhaps, if we want ministers to be savvy users of technology, we will need to train them to use these tools!  We need to ask – What is 21st Century Education?

One of the first educational technology conferences began in Florida, known today as the Florida Educational Technology Conference (FETC).    Other educational technology conferences are: International Society for Technology and Education (ISTE), Computer Using Educators, Missouri S&T, and TIES 2010 Educational Technology Conference . There are many Ed Tech conferences across the world.  Yet, if you explore these programs, we would be hard pressed to find workshops or learning sessions that would interest a religion teacher, a catechist, a youth minister, a pastor, a PCL or DRE.  Yes, many of our national organizations have included Ed Tech type of workshops in their programs.  But the “energy” that is created at a conference that solely focuses on educational technology is not generated at these conferences.

A couple of videos that offer an overview are:

A Brief History of Technology in the Classroom

and Educational Technology History

These are helpful as they visually remind us that the classroom and teaching has changed!  However, most of us who volunteer our time, may not be aware of how this learning world has changed over time.  Nor have we been trained to merge new media into our teaching method.

As a result, our parish students come to us from 21st Century classrooms, and many of our environments are very limited in 21st Century tools!  I often present workshops at the local or national level.  Many of the participants tell me, that their students are bored!  However, I also hear from participants who are using 21st century tools, that their students are engaged and enjoy learning about their faith using contemporary methodology.

Today, we need to re-imagine how we do “technology” at the parish and diocesan levels!  A little over twenty years ago, many of our Catholic Schools got very involved in creating their technology plans.  This planning provided a means for purchasing equipment and a strategy for training administrators, teachers and students to use this equipment in their learning environments.  Today, our school people need to lead our parishes in Technology Planning for ALL parish ministries – school, catechetical, youth ministry, young adult, RCIA, and all existing parish ministries.  Today’s assumption – All ministers need today’s digital tools!

More importantly, we need to join together to attend conferences like FETC to network and to strategize how we can truly be 21st century catechetical leaders.  We need to “walk the walk and talk the talk” of a 21st Century faith leader who remains rooted not only in the values of our faith.  How we integrate 21st century tools into our ministries will make a difference with those we share our faith with. Only time will show this to be true!

The question becomes today – How will all ministries and ministers have access to and be trained to use the technologies that are currently evolving today?  Perhaps this week’s conversation – Share how your parish is moving into the 21st Century?  What are you doing that is bringing new energy and excitement to sharing the faith?

Note: If you are still curious, check out these two websites – National Office of Educational Technology and Teachers Use of Educational Technology in Public Schools (PDF).  We begin to see in these documents what is happening all around us.

So, let the conversation begin for this week!

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