Digital Discipleship: Transforming Ministry Through Technology

Archive for November, 2012

Advent Technology: Preparing for the Lord Jesus!

Over the Thanksgiving holiday, I had the opportunity to visit some of our magnificent Duomo’s (Cathedrals/Basilica’s)  in Venice, Florence, and Siena Italy.  I’m back home, and reflecting on this incredible experience after praying in, walking through, and viewing the frescoes,  statues, and more that one discovers in  these incredible medieval structures.

First what comes to mind is how the artists of this medieval period used the technology of this time to express their belief and understanding of Catholic Christianity – primarily reflecting the saints and our Gospel stories.  As I reflect on what I saw, it is very obvious that the Church was a major part of the city – and the story of Christ is told in a variety of images – intended to inspire and nurture the spiritual life of those who were visitors to this church.

Over the next four weeks, we will be preparing for the “great celebration of the Nativity of the Lord Jesus, (‘Christ-Mass’), Christians (Catholics and others) are invited to prepare to ‘get ready’, to make a place for the Lord in our lives and in our homes and to anticipate His coming. Deacon Keith Fournier

As we celebrate this liturgical season of Advent, I invite you to explore how today’s technology can be used to enhance our faith, culture and worship in today’s everyday world.  We are everyday artists with tools like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, and other social media tools where we can share our getting ready for the Nativity of the Lord with our friends and families.

How will you do this? Stop for a moment and identify your personal digital “city” – your Facebook friends, those who may be following you on Twitter, your LinkedIn contacts, or YouTube friends – the online connections you have.  In this season of Advent, how might you involve them in “getting ready” to make a place for the Lord in our everyday lives?

  • Invite your Facebook friends (and families) to create an Advent Wordle.

  • Tweet an Advent  related video link, image, or a reflection at least once-a-week during this Advent season to those who follow you.  For example:

If you are looking for suggested Advent videos, a FREE membership is available at Digital Catechesis where a Video library of over 450+ online videos are available to you.  Enter “Advent” in the search field to locate the videos for this liturgical season.

  • Form a group on LinkedIn that will be the place for those who are interested in being part of an Advent retreat experience with you.  You will find helpful resources for adult Advent prayer at Ignatian Spirituality.com – a Loyola Press service that features Advent Resources.

It is easy to create a LinkedIn group, just click on “Groups-Create a Group” and complete the form.  You now have an online space to engage others in an Advent Retreat experience with you.

I encourage you to use your digital savvy to engage members of your family, friends, or members of your parish in this wonderful season of Advent.  We now have tools to reach a small group or a large group that are easy and fun to use.  It is simply your imagination and being comfortable with these tools that will help you to discover and use them for God’s glory!

If you like this post, please take a moment to click on the “Like” button.  More importantly, would love to hear from you how you are engaging others in this Advent season with online tools.  Come and share your story by clicking on “leave a comment.”

Copyright 2012 Caroline Cerveny, SSJ-TOSF

 

An Advent Wordle Prayer Experience

For those who are interested in integrating technology into one of their Advent lessons by involving the family, you may wish to do the following:

  1. Direct your families and/or students to Advent Prayers and invite them to pick a prayer.  (Note: Here are other prayer links – Children Pray: Advent and Christmas or A Prayer for Lighting the Advent Wreath.
  2. As a family, invite all to pray this prayer together.
  3. Go back and highlight and copy the text of the prayer that was just prayed.
  4. Then go to WORDLE.
  5. Click on “Create Your …” link or the “Create” tab.
  6. Paste the text into the “Paste in a bunch of text” space.
  7. Then click on “Go”.
  8. Your screen will look something like….

If you like the word arrangement as it is great!  If not, you can adjust text, colors or word arrangement by clicking on menu bar text “Font”, “Layout”, or “Color”.  When you like your arrangement, then do a and paste into MS Paint or any other graphic program you may have to create a *.jpg file. You may want to crop your image so that you are just showing the Wordle!

Here are examples of how you can adjust your Wordle Design

Once the JPEG file is created, then you could invite your students to do the following:

  1. Ask them to email the graphic to you.  Once you have the files you can add them to your class website or create a collage of Wordle Prayers.
  2. Add the images to a class prayer PowerPoint.  With an Advent song playing in the background show the Wordle Prayer images.  Invite your students to identify ONE word on each slide that stands out for them.  You may want to have a worksheet for them.
  3. Then ask the students to create a SHORT Advent prayer using any five words they have identified.

For example:  Advent, Jesus, longing, brother, darkness

Brief prayer – Jesus this Advent we are experiencing darkness, we are longing for you to be our brother.

If you are not sure how to do the “tech” part of this prayer experience, remember that many of your high school students are very comfortable with these tools, you may want to ask one of the high school students to work with you to create the PPT, or add the images to the class website, or whatever else you may want to do. Remember, they love to be your coach so that you can learn how to use these technology tools.

If you have other ways that you are planning on using Wordle with your students during this Advent season, we’d love to hear about them.  If this was helpful to you, please click the “Like” button.

Copyright 2012 Caroline Cerveny, SSJ-TOSF

 

Advent Activities

With Advent around the corner, families and catechists may be looking for an activity or two to engage the children in learning more about Advent!  Here are a few websites that I discovered that you may wish to use:

Advent Activities: OSV offers a checklist to get ready for Advent, Advent and Christmas recipes, crafts and more.

Advent Resources –  Here you will find activities, calendars, inspiration, Jesse Tree, prayers and an online Advent retreat from Loyola Press.

Advent –  A variety of Catholic Digest articles.

Advent: Jesus Is Coming –  The Saint Anthony Messenger Faith formation team offers short and helpful Advent articles here.

Advent Liturgical Season –  At the Wm H. Sadlier website, you get a wonderful Advent liturgical season overview.

Advent Prayer – 4CatholicEducators – com provide you with a collection of Advent links with articles, activities, and Advent Calendars.

How can you use this material? Here are a few suggestions:

  1. If you are communicating with your families through FaceBook, then each week you can choose a link and add it to your wall with a short Advent message.
  2. You may simply want to send an email to your families with a short Advent message and the link you are referring them to.
  3. If your families are “Twitter” followers, you can tweet a short “Twitter”message like – Here’s your checklist – http://bit.ly/vvcZd7 to get ready for Advent.  (Note: This will bring you to – Advent Activities – Preparing for Jesus an Advent Checklist ).

Hope you find these links of interest to you.  Would love to hear how you may be using these links in your catechetical program.

Of course, if this article was helpful, please click the “LIKE” button below.

Copyright 2012 Caroline Cerveny, SSJ-TOSF

Advent Videos

How will you use videos during this Advent season?  I just checked the Digital Catechesis Video library and I discovered at least 10 Advent videos.  Here’s a sampling of three of the videos in the digital library:

Christ is Coming – This 5 minute advent meditation focuses on the coming of Christ into our world- not just as a child in a stable but as the bringer of justice and freedom.

Advent Conspiracy 2010 – This film uses popular Old Testament Scriptures juxtaposed with modern music and nativity silhouettes to help the audience to see Jesus in their hectic holiday lives.

Advent in Two Minutes – Check out Busted Halo’s two-minute video that describes why we celebrate Advent and wait to celebrate Christmas.

I love this wonderful digital age that we live in.  There are some wonderful resources that are FREE that we could use for our Advent Ministry.  How?  Here are three(3) suggestions:

  1. For the first week of Advent, and every week after that, add an Advent Video Link to your Facebook page/wall and add a reflective comment with a question.
  2. Engage in an Advent sharing with your friends. For example: If you “Tweet”, using 140 characters, tweet an Advent message related to the video and include the link.  Normally, Twitter will shorten the link.  If it does not, you can go to http://bit.ly – to shorten your URL.  Here’s an example: Wondering why we celebrate Advent! (Link) Why do you do Advent?
  3. Using your iPad or iPhone with an LCD projector or TV connection, show one of the videos as a prayerful reflection before your class or adult meeting.  Remember to practice before your session to make sure that all is working.  Remember that you’ll need an audio connection.

For those who are not members of Digital Catechesis, you are invited to join (It’s FREE).  If you are a member, and you discover other Advent videos that you would recommend to us, please come and add them to our Digital Library.

If you like these suggestions, please click the “Like” button.  We’d also like to hear your suggestions for using Advent videos.  Do add your comments in the “comment” section of this blog.

Advent Blessings!

Copyright 2012 Caroline Cerveny, SSJ-TOSF

 

What can you do with ONE iPad? ONE iPhone? Any mobile tool?

The other day I gave an iPad 102 workshop to a high school faculty!  Why? Because  next year ALL Saint Petersburg Catholic High School students will be receiving iPads to use for learning.  Incredible!

Well most religious education classrooms will NOT have this opportunity, unless your students will be bringing their own devices – that’s BYOD! And as more and more students receive these items as gifts or save their monies to use towards purchasing mobile tools like an iPad, tablet, smartphone and more, I wondered… – How will our catechists be ready to use these tools with their students? Will they invite their students to use these tools to share FAITH?

I was reading through my email recently and discovered this wonderful article The Positive Side of Social Media  by Lori Hadorn-Disselkamp.  I love the line – I truly believe if the apostles of Christ had access to Face Book, Tweeter, Emailing and Texting they would have utilized it so that they could have reached all corners of the globe to proclaim the Good News of Christ.

I agree, and today we need to become “Digital Disciples!”  If you have an iPad, iPhone, any tablet, any SmartPhone – these are mobile tools – start now!  How?  Here are 5 suggestions:

  1. Most mobile devices have a camera.  When a liturgical religious season is around the corner (e.g., Advent, Christmas, Lent or Easter), for an assignment, encourage your students to look around the church for images that they would like to photograph to represent this liturgical season.  When they return to the next class, invite them to talk about the images they have photographed.  Why does this image represent this liturgical season?  What does this liturgical season mean to them?  Then in a prayerful attitude, invite them to send this image with a text to a parent, grandparent, including an inspirational message to their family or friends about the season.
  2. Create a church “Treasure Hunt” where groups are competing to find objects and information. Members of the group can be in different places working on finding objects and information and they will talk to one-another via instant-messaging.  The individuals in the group update each other on their progress using mobile phones.
  3. During Lent, on your iPad or iPhone download the Stations of the Cross app.  If you are using an iPad you can project the graphics and prayer on a screen using an LCD projector. If you only have a TV in your classroom, you will find out how to how to connect an iPad, iPhone, or iPod Touch to your TV here. You may wish to lead your students in class prayer using several of the stations at the beginning or end of the class.  Invite students who have either an iPhone or an iPad to download the Stations of the Cross app to use throughout Lent for a meditation.
  4. Go to Digital Catechesis – Videos (Membership is FREE) and locate a video meditation. Plan to show it for prayer projecting it via an LCD Projector.  Remember to have audio speakers for the sound.
  5. Want to create a fun quiz for your group that provides instant feedback? Use Google Forms.  Put students in small groups and send the link to them via email or text the link to their smartphone.  You may wish to make it a contest to see which group finishes first and who has the most correct answers.  If you install the script Flubaroo, your quiz will be instantly graded.  Or, you may want to subscribe to Quia Web where you can create quizzes that will provide instant feedback if answered incorrectly.

I encourage you to be creative in sharing the faith with young people using mobile tools.  I’ve learned that when you are able to lead them using the tools that they love to use to learn their faith, they enjoy coming to your class!

If you are willing to TRY a mobile tool in your classroom, click on the “like” button.  Would love to hear how you are using these mobile tools with your students.  Come and share your story!

Caroline Cerveny, SSJ-TOSF (c) 2012

 

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