Digital Discipleship: Transforming Ministry Through Technology

Archive for April, 2011

The Digital Age Catechetical Leader

Digital Native

Digital Native

Hello from New Orleans where the 2011 NCEA Convention & Expo is taking place.  It’s been awhile since I’ve been in New Orleans, and not since the hurricane struck here several years ago.  It is good to be back in a city that is widely known for its Catholic roots!

On Wednesday, April 27th I will give a professional development session – The Digital Age Catechetical Leader – to the National Association of Parish Catechetical Directors (NPCD).  To begin the session, I will invite all to respond to a simple sentence stem – A Digital Age Catechetical Leader is one who….

Since I’m writing this before the session I’m eager to hear how you and the participants will respond to this. The session participants will be invited to come to this blog post to share their insights.  I’m looking forward to the ongoing conversation.

Last week I invited my NACMP friends to respond to this phrase.  Here’s what they shared:

A Digital Age Catechetical Leader is one who…

  • moves easily in an out of the tools of the age, using what furthers the mission of Jesus, while also knowing and respecting the necessary boundaries to protect those in our care. (Sr. Judith Dieterle, Archdiocese of Chicago)
  • tweets the reminder to check the Facebook page for updates on the next event and/or meeting. (Cheryl Sagan, Archdiocese of San Antonio)
  • …has an open attitude toward technology and a critical disposition toward the culture these create and appreciates and uses now technologies to tell stories. (Sr. Rose Pacatte)
  • …is not afraid to use social networking, media and technology for ministry and catechesis – and willing to learn new technology skills. (Joyce Donahue, Diocese of Joliet)
  • …like leaders of any age, echoes the Story speaking the language of the native or who will buy Tim an IPad2 (Tim Welch, Diocese of St. Cloud)

In this period of time, where we are being faced with massive changes in communication and learning opportunities, we are needing to learn new skills and then to train our catechists in evolving methods that involve not just the pencil or blackboard or books or email or whatever we are most comfortable with.  We now need to learn how to use digital tools like – electronic whiteboards, computers (desktop, laptop, or mobile), iPads, and the many Web 2.0 tools – to teach the faith and to evangelize the larger world.

In my presentation I invited the participants to keep in mind 10 Points for Digital Leadership.  Come and visit the presentation – A Digital Age Catechetical Leader.  I’m trusting that we will continue the conversation, as we are learning “inch by inch” what it means to be a Digital Age Catechetical Leader.

If you were part of the NPCD/NCEA professional development sessions please continue the conversation here.  If you are one of the many who visit this blog on a regular basis, you are also invited into the conversation.

Looking forward to hearing from each of you!  Let us continue the conversation around  – A Digital Age Catechetical Leader is one who…

Blessings this Easter Season!

Copyright ©2011 Caroline Cerveny

A Scripture Digital Storytelling Prayer Experience

So you would like to do a Scripture Digital Storytelling Prayer Experience with your junior high or high school students?  Or you would like to involve the young adults or the adults in your RCIA group in a prayerful digital experience?

Here is a simple process for you:

  1. Pick a reading from the USCCB daily readings.
  2. Forward the link to your students or adults.  Invite them to print out the reading or they may prefer to read it on screen.
  3. Invite them to find a quiet space where they can prayerfully read the Scripture of the chosen day.
  4. Ask them to underline or highlight the phrases that are meaningful to them.
  5. It may be helpful read the Scripture a second time, and to affirm the words, phrases, or sentences that have been underlined or highlighted.
  6. Then invite them to develop a simple script with the phrases and then to choose photos that fit the text.  (Note: They may wish to take their own digital photo’s or they may want to search for Creative Commons Photo’s that are located at Copyright-Friendly and Copyleft (Mostly!) Images and Sound for Use in Media Projects and Web Pages, Blogs, Wikis, etc.
  7. See example “Good Friday of the Lord’s Passion” script.
  8. Choose a tool to create a video.  I like Animoto for two reasons.  One, it is possible to create a FREE account and then create FREE 30-second videos; and two, the PLUS fee version is very inexpensive at $5.00 per month or $30 per year (as of April 2011).  There are other options, including using Windows Live Moviemaker which is included with most PC’s and if you have access to a MAC, you can create your video using iMovie .
  9. Other tools are described at Video Toolbox: 150+ Online Video Tools and Resources.

If you’re thinking, this is impossible to do in my parish setting, I invite you think creatively with this type of project.

Thinking creatively – “Outside the Box as they Say”

Here are several options for you to consider as you invite your participants to engage in praying with digital tools:

  • A high percentage of your participants will have computer at home, invite them to get involved with completing the project at home.
  • Perhaps those who do not have access to a home computer, can partner with someone in their class to work as a team to pray the Scripture together and then to create the video together
  • Or perhaps your parish school has a computer lab.  Here is the moment to create a partnership with the school and the computer lab coordinator/teacher.  Often, if you have a clear idea of what you would like to do, the computer coordinator/teacher will assist you with the project
  • Some of your participants will have an iPhone.  There is an Animoto App.  Go to the iTunes App store to download the free app! This will allow the student or adult to use their iPhone to take needed photos and then to use them in creating their video from their iPhone.
Animoto App

Animoto iPhone App

  • Another iPhone App was just created for Vimeo. Now you can upload, watch, manage and even edit your videos right from your iPhone. This is just the beginning, so stay tuned for regular updates with feature improvements. For now, go download it from the app store!
Vimeo App

Vimeo App

What can you do with the videos?

There are many ways to share these videos with your students, adults, and the larger parish.  The following are a few suggestions:

When you work with the Animoto website to create your video, you will notice that there are several options.

  • Notice the various choices – share, embed, Download, and Export

Animoto Share

  • When you click on “Share” notice that you are able to share the video via
    • Facebook
    • Twitter
    • Email
    • Add to your eBlogger or WordPress blog accounts

Animoto Share

  • You will also notice that you can share your link with other Web 2.0 services.  All you need to do is to decide what services best fit your class and parish.

Animoto Share

Here is a video example for you, Good Friday of the Lord’s Passion —

You can add comments to this video which will also show up on your Facebook account.

As you begin to imagine

Yes, there are a variety of ways of sharing the fruit of your prayer with those in your class, RCIA group, or parish.  And as we share, we continue to evangelize others with the gifts of our digital prayers.

I am currently reading Eugene Gan’s, Infinite Bandwidth: Encountering Christ in the Media. He captures in so many ways why we need to be creators of web content.  Here is what he says:

We “make” media that leads people to the truth when we use our blogs or Facebook pages not just to gossip or report on the more mundane aspects of our life, but to talk about what really matters to us and why.  Our blog can be a vehicle for articulating our struggles with the culture, our questions about the Faith, or our journey to God.  In online forums we can evangelize, and on social networking sites we can post interesting articles about faith or culture that can spark discussions among friends from various viewpoints.  Even posting pictures of our children on a social networking site can communicate some of the truth about Catholic family life.  In all those ways, our use of the social media reflects and promotes an understanding of truth.  

Next week’s post

As we celebrate Easter on Sunday, April 24th I will be celebrating Easter with friends.  I will post the next article on Wednesday, April 27.  Come join in the conversation that I will begin with NCEA workshop participants around the topic of being a  Digital Age Catechetical Leader.

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

A Spiritual Online Experience

Lent is this wonderful time of remembering Jesus’ journey to the Cross and then celebrating his Resurrection.  If you have journeyed to Jerusalem and walked the streets as Jesus walked the streets on this way to the Cross, this journey is a reminder of our spiritual journey.  As the path is walked, it helps us see our lives in the context of a path, a pilgrimage.

Spiritual journeys are now possible in a virtual format!   Recently, a friend shared with me the online Labyrinth that was developed by the people at PROOSTinspiring resources that fuel faith of the United KingdomLabyrinth

Here is the introduction to the online labyrinth:

Labyrinth Explanation

Click on the image or go to: http://www.labyrinth.org.uk/onlinelabyrinthpage1.html.

I would encourage you to find a moment in your day, when you have 40 minutes for a quiet, safe place for the intuitive, symbolic mind to be present to your path, your pilgrimage.

Here are some of the responses from the Visitor’s Book by people who have walked the Labyrinth:

Beautiful. I feel I’ve been somewhere… touched the robe of Christ and been recognized!

A completely uplifting and spiritual experience – this is what I came for.

Went to observe – stayed to participate. An amazing journey – no idea how long it took – a lifetime perhaps? Not over yet! Strong sense of journeying with the others in the Labyrinth. A good walk! Thank you for the stillness – for the experience of you and me. Truly God is here.

This magical experience made me totally change the way I will now look at life.

It’s amazing! I felt I was with God for the first time ever. It’s very thought-provoking and I will try to use this experience to change and improve my life.

A peaceful and deep experience in such an amazing setting. The world moved silently by as I explored my inner world – my own unique journey.

If history says I have helped one person to embrace God as you’ve helped me here, I’ll be glad.

Thanks, this has helped me to realize the stresses and strains of work and life – things that seem to surround and engulf me too much.

Words cannot describe my encounter with God through this.

One of the most meaningful experiences of my life. Thank you. Keep on.

Thank you all for providing an appropriate as well as creative ritual for others and myself to commune with God… I was given much insight and freed from much.

May you enjoy a quiet moment with the Lord!

Copyright ©2011 Caroline Cerveny

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