Digital Discipleship: Transforming Ministry Through Technology

Archive for January, 2015

What is FETC?

FETC-2015

This week I will be in Orlando attending the FETC Conference.  What is FETC?  Well, FETC is the acronym for the Florida Educational Technology Conference.  So why attend FETC?

There are three reasons why I attend:

  1. Outstanding Programming: 200 sessions and 80+ workshops focus on the latest resources and techniques-wikis, blogs, social networking, virtual learning, podcasting along with other hot topics.
  2. Learn from the Experts: K-12 Education technology leaders help you explore current and emerging technologies—and show you how you can apply them to your school challenges.
  3. The FETC 2015 Exhibit Hall and ed-tech marketplace, where you can meet face-to-face with the vendors carrying the technologies you need to know about!

In today’s digital environment, I need to keep developing my Digital Mind.  When I attend our regular conferences – NCCL, NPCD, NFCYM, and others – there are always wonderful technology workshops offered.

However, when I attend an educational technology conference, I am immersed (almost baptized!) in a digital world.  When I first attended an Ed Tech conference in Chicago, back in 1983, I froze at the very entrance of the Exhibit Hall.  I remember being frightened because I knew next to nothing about any type of technology.

Today, I am immersed in a digital world that covers three major areas:

  • Information Technology or IT– IT refers to anything related to computing technology, such as networking, hardware, software, the Internet, or the people that work with these technologies. Many companies now have IT departments for managing the computers, networks, and other technical areas of their businesses. IT jobs include computer programming, network administration, computer engineering, Web development, technical support, and many other related occupations. Since we live in the “information age,” information technology has become a part of our everyday lives.
  • Communications Technology – Refers to any communication device or application (e.g., Social Media – Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, etc.), encompassing: radio, television, cellular phones, computer and network hardware and software, satellite systems and so on, as well as the various services and applications associated with them, such as videoconferencing and distance learning.
  • Educational Technology or sometimes called Instructional Technology – The study and ethical practice of facilitating learning and improving performance by creating, using, and managing appropriate technological processes and resources. Read more here.

I’ve learned that I do not need to master all three areas.  However, I need to understand how these three areas fit into my world.  If I need my computer fixed or networked, I know I need to connect with an IT professional.  In Communications Technology – there are more areas than I need to know – so I pick and choose (e.g., Social Media, Radio, TV, etc.).

However, it is the Educational Technology World where I spend my time.  I have earned an MA in Educational Technology, which has helped me to engage in today’s rapidly changing, wired world.  Today, to become a better catechist requires a hands-on understanding of current technologies and the strategy and skills to integrate them into the learning experience and ministry training. How we teach and form others in their faith in a Digital World is different than when I began teaching or being involved in the parish world.

So, I go to FETC to stretch my mind to learn new methodologies, tools, and processes that include e-learning and more.  I’ve attended this conference on a regular basis since 2003! And if you look at the list of who is invited to attend –

  • Superintendents
  • Principals and Vice Principals
  • Technology-using Educators
  • District-level Leaders
  • Curriculum Designers
  • Media Specialists
  • Technology Directors/Technologists
  • Instructional Support Staff
  • Non-instructional Support Staff

Yes, it is geared for the school educator.  However, I go to learn what is happening in our schools.  These are the folks who come to our parish programs. And I ask – Can we “Walk their Walk and Talk Their Talk” when it comes to integrating technology into our ministries?

I plan to share more with you from the conference.  So, come back to learn what I’ve discovered.  If you have questions you would like to explore, please ask them in the Comments section of this post.  I look forward to hearing from you.

 

I Believe in the Value of Connectedness

I recently discovered Tom Spiglanin’s article “I Believe in the Value of Connectedness” where he characterized the connectedness of the business organization.  In his opening paragraph, he said:

While every organization in the world is unique, most have characteristics in common. Each has its own culture that derives from its mission, vision, values, and the people who work there. Every employee has his or her own roles, responsibilities and work style, but he or she seldom works in isolation, even if working individually. All employees are ultimately connected to one another through a common purpose to succeed and fulfill the mission of the organization. This is the nature of healthy organizations.

people

21st Century Connectedness

As I read Tom’s post, I reflected on the value of connectedness in today’s faith formation world.  Yes, we are a network of learning networks in our neighborhood, city, state, country and around the world.  Once upon a time, learners sat in a one-room school or engaged in learning in a traditional classroom.  Today’s learning environment is now a mesh of traditional and eLearning opportunities. A year ago, I shared the 21st Century Faith Formation: Are We Ready graphic with those who were attending the 2014 Interactive Connections Conference.  As I look at this graphic, I wonder – How do we as formation staff, utilize this ever evolving digital world in our learning ministries? Are we ready for this ever evolving digital environment?

people-faith

A time of exploration and formation

Just as NASA sends rockets out to explore the universe around us, it is time for each of us to launch eLearning opportunities in our own parishes and diocese.  As we launch new initiatives, some will be successful and others will allow us to see that we still have a journey to pursue.

It is a world where we will be immersed in an ever evolving culture, language, and skills.  Many times, after giving a presentation, I’ve had participants come to me and say something like – An excellent presentation, but I did not understand many of the terms that you mentioned.

After hearing similar comments from other workshop attendees, I began Digital Discipleship Boot Camp.  Now, after three years of boot camp training, there are over 250 participants who have been immersed in the digital culture, language, and skills of this evolving Digital World.

What have DDBC participants accomplished? 

Come and visit the DDBC Capstone Projects Page.  Here you will discover that those who have immersed themselves in the Digital Culture, Language, and Skills are today’s Explorers.  They apply what they have learned to their ministry world and created a variety of ways to connect others in parish faith formation.

Read on to see what others have done!  You will see that those who participate in Digital Discipleship Boot Camp do become Digital Disciples.  If you are interested in learning more about DDBC, come and visit the DDBC website. You are invited to share in DDBC Connectedness!  Come join us!

Thank you for reading this post.  You are invited to share how you are connecting others in your parish through digital tools.  We would love to hear from you!

 

Tag Cloud