Digital Discipleship: Transforming Ministry Through Technology

Archive for February, 2012

BYOD – What is it? Can we do it?

Many of us in today’s church teaching environment, would love to engage our students in using the digital tools that they are comfortable with to learn their faith.  However, we are often challenged with bare-bone budgets to do the almost impossible.  And often “technology” is barely included in today’s tight budgets.

However, if it is true, that mobile tools are increasingly popular – see Importance of Using Mobile Tools article.  Then we need to explore the BYOD approach.  That is Bring Your Own Device to the learning environment.

Educators are dealing with this issue.  Read this handbook  to find out what educators are doing to implement a BYOD strategy on their campus.  To start the conversation, I’ve adapted the questions that are found on page 14:

  • Does BYOD fit my parish’s educational vision and goals?
  • How would it match up with our student population? What percentage are likely to have a device they can bring in?
  • What is the current state of our infrastructure? Do we have robust, secure WiFi that can serve the additional devises you will see with BYOD? Can you afford an upgrade?
  • Do you have policies in place that allow students to use devices at certain times of the day or in certain areas of the parish?
  • Do you have strong leadership to help sell the concept and guide its implementation?
  • How will you support your catechists or faculty as they adapt their pedagogy to best make use of a BYOD environment?
  • How can instruction be improved by adopting BYOD?

Once you have a vision, a strategy, and your infrastructure is in place.  You can read books and articles like . . .

Toys To Tools

100 Mobile Tools for Teachers

Teaching With the Tools Kids Really Use

Teaching Generation Text: Using Cell Phones

To learn more about how others are using these mobile tools in their teaching.  We can easily adapt the Best Practices to fit what we do in the Religion Classroom!

What issues do you feel  BYOD will create in your parish?

(c) 2012, Caroline Cerveny

What “Penance” for Lent?

Jonathan Sullivan has invited all Catholic bloggers to write on the theme of “Penance” for Ash Wednesday, February 22, 2012!

As I reflected on what I wanted to do with this theme, I thought about how we change from simply doing “penance” by giving up candy, pop, chocolate and more to really understanding what “penance” we are called to do in the complicated world we live in during this season of reflecting on the life, suffering, and death of Jesus!

I’m inviting high school teachers and catechists to engage their students in a reflection and response to the question – What “Penance” for Lent?

Here are suggested steps to integrate technology into a lesson with your high school students:

  1. Direct your students to read the American Catholic article LENT: FASTING FOR THE FEAST by Jim Wilwerding.
  2. Invite the students as they read the article to “highlight or underline” the sentence(s) or phrase(s) in the article that help them to understand what “penance” (or fasting) means. (They may want to print out the article.)
  3. As they identify the phrases, use a highlighter or underline them to mark the phrases that answer the question – Why Penance?
  4. Then ask the students to look back over the highlighted or underlined material.  Read through the phrases to achieve a deeper understanding and answer the questions – What “Penance” for Lent?  Why “Penance” for Lent?
  5. Then invite the students to write a dialogue between two persons – where one person is responding to questions and comments from another person about – What “Penance” for Lent? (See example below)
  6. Introduce an online moviemaking tool – Dvolver – to your students by showing them how they can create an animation movie with their script.  Check out the example – What Penance?
  7. Remind the students with this tool that their text is limited to 100 text characters for character’s lines.   Also, you can only develop three scenes.
  8. If you are using the Dvolver Moviemaking Tool, carefully consider your dialogue as you are limited to100 text characters per line.

For example:

Scene 1:

  • Mary: I’m not sure what it means to sharpen my senses and renew my perspective – on life, on faith.
  • George: During Lent, when we do “Penance,” we are really learning more about ourselves and others.
  • Mary: That seems so meaningless!
  • George: Well maybe.  I’ve learned that if I fast from music to prepare for the feast of a concert,. . .
  • George:  I hear the music differently.

Scene 2:

  • Mary: I never thought about doing that!
  • George: When I’m at the concert, I do hear the music differently than if I had listened all week to the group.
  • Mary: I’ll try that the next time I go to a concert.
  • George: Great! You will be learning what “penance” is about.  That is giving up something in order to improve what you see and hear!

Scene 3:

  • Mary: In this case, to appreciate the group’s music
  • George: Right!  So during lent, when we do Penance, we’re really preparing for the feast of Easter!
  • Mary: My life is so busy right now.  Maybe I need to simplify what I’m involved in.
  • George:  If you simplify, you will have time to pay attention to ….

Once they’ve completed the dialogue, then go to – Dvolver MovieMaker .  This is a Web 2.0 tool that will allow you to create an animated movie that you can easily share with others.  However, it will only allow you to create Three (3) Scenes.  See the example.

When the students have created their animation story, they will have the opportunity to send the link of their animation to you and others.  (Note:  If you have a class blog, you can incorporate this activity into the blog.  As students create their stories, then they can include their animation movies as a Response to your post.  Or, you may want to post them all on one page and invite your students, parents, and friends to vote for the most meaningful animation story.

(c) 2012 Caroline Cerveny

Interactive Connections 2012 Reflections

By:  Guest Blogger – Rhonda Carrier

Rhonda Carrier

The following are some notes from the Interactive Connections Conference and from the Florida Educational Technology Conference. I have not had a chance to visit all of the websites but thought I would pass on those that were highly recommended.

The Interactive Connections conference organized by Sister Caroline was a wonderful gathering of Catholics learning about the use of and implementation of technology to develop and expand our Catholic faith communities.  Many of those attending the Interactive conference stayed to attend FETC but we gathered together each evening as a Catholic group for fellowship and to compare notes and ideas from the day.

Bishop Noonan’s Welcome on Sister Caroline Cerveny’s Cyberpilgrim’s Blog

Fr. Larry Rice’s Keynote and summary of the crises facing the Catholic Church: On the Catholic Couponer’s Blog. Although many of the comments on the blog focus on the use of technology during mass, Fr. Rice’s message included using technology to extend our Catholic communities.  He suggested that we put the bulletin online rather than printing so it can be accessed at any time; allow online discussions so there is two-way communication and not just a one-way push of information; use online databases to gather information; allow online donations and contributions without the need of a signed piece of paper; translate publications into appropriate languages and make them available online; etc. He recommended that we read the book from Gutenberg to Zuckerberg

You may wish to review the Media Timeline that Fr. Larry shared with us Monday evening


Keynote: Michael Wesh, Anthropologist, spoke about the need to move students past being knowledgeable to being knowledge-able which means we need to help them develop their knowledge-ability. We must find ways to inspire them and to bring them to wonder. He said, “A great teacher can bring life into anything. A great teacher can bring wonder into anything. A question inspires wonder and inspires ideas. A question is: a Quest for mastery, Embraces our vulnerability, Invites connections”

  • Wonder flourishes where there in inspiration and where they feel safe. 
  • Quest for mastery requires freedoms to learn
  • Vulnerability requires Freedom to fail
  • Connections require Freedom to love

Empathy is lower than in the past. We see birth and death and life intimately and daily because we live in a “capsular civilization ” with TV, phone, computer.  We are numbing ourselves, which also numbs ourselves to joy. But there is a solution, the media are not just tools, they’re a means of communication. They mediate how we relate. (This brought me back to Fr. Rice’s message to use technology to communicate and to build communities.)

View From Knowledgeable to Knowledge-able, an 18-minute video and a short version on TED, of the topic he presented at FETC.

Heidi Hayes Jacobs, President of Curriculum Designers, Inc, presented a keynote session and a breakout session. I attended a workshop of hers several years ago, so was delighted to have a chance to say “hello”. (I have used her curriculum map concepts to organize curriculum since then. The Curriculum by Design presentation that I did for ICS that referenced her work is available for viewing on Slideshare.)

At FETC she asked the following questions:

  • How can we prepare students for the future?
  • Who owns the learning? Do students?
  • 12% of the 21st century is over and students are time traveling. They have 21st century at home but 20th century at school. What year are we preparing student for?

We need to help students with the following:

  1. Social production – Example: Wikipedia
  2. Social networking – Example:
  3. Semantic web – At least once a teaching unit, it should be upgraded with a new resource. Have a faculty meeting that just allows teachers to experiment and share new technology. Examples: Tag Galaxy (Enter a word such as childhood, then click on a bubble to go deeper – (creates word clouds) – Zooburst (digital storytelling pop-up books) – Visual Thesaurus  
  4. Digital literacy – related to media literacy – related to global literacy. Examples: Check out Earth Pulse website on national geographic – Gap minder –  Museum Box to replace dioramas –
  5. Global literacy – Brazil has a huge growing economy and middle class. Also Russia and India and China. We don’t study geo enough, we must also study geo literature, geo politics, geo economics. Example: World Mapper (this one is a wow!) –

I was happy to finally meet Kathy Schrock, whose work I have followed and used for many years. Her website is the basis for a large portion of the research model that I use with our students. View Kathy Schrock’s Guide to Almost Everything.

A few other good website to check out are:

IC 2012 Learning Sessions

IC 2012 is a wonderful opportunity to network and meet with those who are leading the way of bringing faith-based educational technology (which is integrating social media and more) into your catechetical sessions.

For those who would like a glimpse of the workshop learning sessions come and visit:

Zingers! 7 Free Resources to Catch Your Students Attention  with Co-presenters Anita Brady and Laura Salaka.

Digital Storytelling and Marketing Techniques by Rhonda Carrier.

Tim Welch’s workshop Technology in Catechesis: What’s Going On? included a number of web tools to harvest videos from the Internet, resources to create your own content, and video samples to stir your learners’ digital storytelling imaginations. Additionally, his email address is listed for continued collaboration. You can find them, and more, by visiting Surf to Notes for Workshops. You will find the links Tim used in his presentation on his Social Bookmark website.

Come visit the workshop presentations by Joe Luedtke, Mobile Technologies in Your Ministry and Church and What Makes a Great Church Website.  You may also want to visit his blog article about Mobile Technologies.

 21st Century Catechists: Sharing the Faith in a Digital World with Caroline Cerveny, SSJ-TOSF 

Putting the Tech into CaTECHesis with Andrea Slaven and Cheryl Smith.  This blog was used more like a powerpoint.  It is not completely scripted.  We showed a quick example of how to create each of the items during the session and showed examples of how each can be incorporated in lessons. “How to videos” will be included eventually.

Activate your staff and ministry leaders to become enthusiastic about contributing to the parish website throughout the year for the sake of evangelization outreach as well as building up parishioner involvement in parish activities and volunteerism.  Come and visit – Parish Websites: Tools of Evangelization by Terry Modica.

Thank you to all presenters for your excellent presentations! 

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