Digital Discipleship: Transforming Ministry Through Technology

Archive for February, 2013

LENT Online Video Discussions


Recently I received a question from Marc Donlin, Chaplain-Mission Associate at St. Cloud Hospital.  I would like in our church to email out a link to a site where I can have a discussion starter using video with my kids, any suggestions?

Marc, what immediately comes to mind is using a blog page to include the video and any reflection or questions that you may have.

Here are 8 steps to keep in mind:

  1. Determine your audience : I’m going to plan a discussion for a group of 7th and 8th graders as a demo.
  2. Determine your Video Theme:  40 Days of Lent
  3. Choose an online video:  If you are a member of Digital Catechesis, go to the Digital Video Library to see if there is a video that fits your discussion theme.  Or, you can search YouTube, Vimeo and other video websites for a video that fits your theme.
  4. Go to your class blog: I’m assuming that you have a class blog that you are using with your students.  (If not – Go to Religion Classroom Blogging to learn more about a class blog)
  5. Draft a short reflection and a question for the blog page.
  6. Create your web page.  For example: LENT
  7. Email the link to your students with a short intro.  (See following suggestion)
  8. Pay attention to the webpage and engage in the conversation.  You will want to participate in the ongoing online conversation with comments, suggestions, or additional questions.

Imagine that these students are sitting right in your classroom and they are adding to the conversation.  Only this time, it is in an online format.  You would not sit in the classroom silently observing.  You would be listening and interjecting your comments and questions at appropriate times.

Email Suggestion

Dear (FName of Student),

Come to this link -(Add Link here)  – for a short video and reflection.  I’m looking forward to engaging in an online discussion with you.

(Your Name)

5 Digital Projects: The Election of Our Pope

The news we heard on Tuesday, January 11, 2013 that the Pope has chosen to resign raises the question – What’s next?  Of course, the Cardinals will be gathering soon in Rome to carefully discern who is being called to serve our church in this leadership position.

For our children, this is a wonderful time to talk about leadership in our church.  And in this blog post I will suggest a variety of ways to engage our Digital Natives to learn more about the process of electing our next Pope and to get to know more about him after his election.

Here are five suggestions that will engage our Digital Natives to learn more about this historic moment in our Church:

  • Host an online Scavenger Hunt: Sign-up for a 30-day free trial at Quia so that you will have access to the Scavenger Hunt Activity.

Choose links that you would like to use for the Scavenger hunt.  Here are a few you may wish to use:

What is a Conclave

Electing a New Pope Draws on Tradition and Secrecy

10 Facts About Picking the Next Pope

Who are our US Cardinals?

How are Bishops chosen?

Pope Benedict has resigned – What Happens Next?

Will the cardinals elect a Black Pope?

Contenders In Line to Be Pope

Determining the Top Candidates for the Position

The 117 Cardinals Who Will Choose the Pope

Best Resources for Learning About the Next Papal Election

USCCB Papal Transition Graphics and Downloads

Who Runs the Vatican After the Pope Steps Down?

Electing a Pope Resources for Schools

Video: How Do They Choose the Pope?

Here is an example of an online Scavenger Hunt created with the Quia Tool.



  • Create a WORDLE of qualities that are important for our next pope to have.  Break out your class into small groups of 3 or 4 students.  Direct them to read the article – Which Qualities Cardinals Will Look For in the Next Pope . Invite them to list the qualities and to include qualities that they feel are important for the next Pope to have.  Once they have their list completed.  Send them to WORDLE to create a Word Cloud of these qualities.
  •  Create a 30-second spot using Animoto : Direct your students to Flickr .  Before they search for photos, ask your students to create a “script” to answer the question –  What Can I Do in Rome while waiting for the Pope to be elected – See: Tourist Info .   For example a 30 second spot could focus on visiting the Sistine Chapel or the Vatican Museum.


  • Create a virtual poster using Glogster : Once a new pope has been elected, locate 2,3, 4 or 5 websites about the new Pope.  Invite your students to create a virtual poster about their new Pope using these websites to research more about this person.  You may want to share a suggested outline for what needs to be included on the poster.  For example: A photo of him, a brief biography of his life, and any other point you would like your students to be aware of.
  • Create a PhotoBook about the New Pope using Mixbook :  Another way for the students to learn more about our new pope – create a Digital Photo Book about him.  Invite them to tell the story of this man from the time he was born until now – including what they are learning about his election.  You may want to involve a small group of students to search for the websites that you will refer all students to use for this project.  This way you can determine the best websites to use for background research about the new Pope. This may also be a good time to talk about credible, reliable, and non-biased websites.

If you like these suggestions, please click the “Like button.  We’d also like to hear your ideas for digital projects during this time of electing our new Pope.  Share the stories of what your students have created or add your suggestions in the “comment” section of this blog.

Copyright 2012 Caroline Cerveny, SSJ-TOSF

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