Digital Discipleship: Transforming Ministry Through Technology

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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