As I read Tim Elmore’s blog post “Technology is not the enemy as long as we redeem it” I resonated with a comment he made…
Technology isn’t going away—so we’re going to have to find ways to redeem it.
So, let’s ask the question – What skill sets of our youth can we develop so that they become digital disciples who meaningfully share faith with their technology skills?
I’d love to hear your thoughts and suggestions on how to redeem technology. Here are suggestions that I offer you to begin the conversation.
- For Kinder thru Grade 3: At the beginning of the year, invite your parents to follow the @SaintOfTheDay Twitter account. Encourage your students, at least once during the week, to ask their parents, what the saint of the day is and to have their parents share the story of the saint with their son or daughter. Why do this? Children will observe their parents finding online information that they will be able to share with them and share what they learn that day with their child.
- Grades 4 – 6: Using your iPhone or Tablet, go to @SaintOfTheDay and read the saint reflection for the day. Invite your students to write a Tweet message (Refer to – What is a Twitter Tweet?) which will share what they learned about the saint of the day. A Tweet example – April 24 who is the saint nicknamed the “poor man’s lawyer”? (Note: This tweet is only 60 characters).
- Grades 7 & 8: Form teams and assign each team to a designated week of the class sessions. Invite the teams to review the @SaintOfTheDay tweets that are available during that week. Ask the students to write one or two tweets that will communicate what they have learned about a few of the saints from that week. To be in a form where fellow students will reply with the saints name.
For example – Week of April 19-25: (Tweet #1) He was a theologian, archbishop and opposed the slave trade – Who is he? (72 characters) and (Tweet #2) Once buried in Gniezno cathedral (Poland) his relics were moved to St. Vitus Cathedral in Prague. Who is he? (108 characters)
Answer #1 – St. Anselm; Answer #2 – St. Adalbert of Prague
How are you considering bringing your children and families to become a digital disciple?
As the digital world continues to surround us, how do we know if we are ready to adapt to this ever changing world? Here are 10 simple points to keep in mind:
- You embrace technology! New tools, new media of various types, you take time to explore and learn what is available. You are not afraid to try!
- Digital Citizenship is important to you. You model it in your everyday digital world. You encourage others to be responsible digital citizens.
- Digital Discipleship means that you are willing to share your faith with others online via various social media tools.
- You are a partner and collaborator with others across the world. You are aware of how social media tools are utilized to bring people together to share projects and faith with one another. These colleagues are also available to assist you when needed.
- You are aware that this digital world is a new culture, language, and involves learning new skills. You take time to learn new trends and understand how they can be integrated into the faith community.
- You find time to learn on an ongoing basis, participating in webinars, attending conferences, searching You Tube or Google for what you need to know, and more!
- Your network of friends are colleagues you may see every day as well as your online friends. You relish the day your online friends will meet you F2F. You’ve learned that social networking connects you with new and lasting friendships. You know that online community is possible!
- The term PLN – Personal Learning Network is real for you. You have cultivated a group of friends (both online and offline) who are there to coach, mentor, and challenge you. When you have tech problems, your PLN is available to help you think outside the box!
- When you are working with students, they know you are awesome! You engage them in learning and sharing their faith in creative digital ways that often surprise them.
- Your students, parents, or others follow your blog or Twitter feed or any of your other social media options (e.g., Pinterest, etc.). Your students know that they can find helpful tips and resources in your comments.
…be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Romans 12:2
I was reading Laura DeVaney’s article “How 3 districts empower teachers as tech leaders” and the following comments that Laura shares in the article stood out for me:
“The importance of digital learning environments–it’s critical,” Grier said. “You can create the environment but you have to have a high-quality teacher who is trained and who knows how to make the most out of that environment.”
“The classroom environment has changed dramatically,” Jones said. “How do we support teachers as they go to scale? Help them get the necessary professional development and help them ‘see’ a new classroom where they work with students who want to have a voice in their learning.”
“We’re asking teachers to be more vulnerable and trust their students more than they have,” said Wirt, addressing the need to create a shift where students and teachers use digital tools and resources and collaborate more. “How do you create the culture and conditions where teachers feel confident to take risks and experiment in that environment?”
As the daily classrooms transform around us (even slowly), what is happening in this learning environment will affect us! I often wonder, how are we getting ready to manage this changing environment with our catechists, religion teachers, various administrators, and more?
It is time to ask ourselves a variety of questions?
- As a DRE, PCL, Youth Minister, or any type of ministry leader – Are you aware of what is happening in the schools that are in your neighborhood in the area of technology?
- Are you engaged in professional development of any kind to learn more about what is happening in the educational technology world?
- Is your parish ready to adapt mobile tools in the learning process? Why? A high percentage of your youth and parents are carrying and using a smart phone or tablet with them.
- What plans do we have as leader to develop and train those who join us in our ministries, volunteering their valuable time, to become a Digital Disciple?
We are in a time of pioneering and exploring new learning environments. What stories do we have to tell about our successes? What’s working? What’s not working? The digital world is NOT going to go away! It is transforming how we interact with one another, how we learn, how we access information on a daily basis.
So, what will we do with the ever evolving digital world to enhance faith formation at all levels?
I’d love to hear from you!