Digital Discipleship: Transforming Ministry Through Technology

…be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Romans 12:2

…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!

Comments on: "Are We Ready for Transformation?  " (3)

  1. Sr.Cora.Lombardo said:

    Some great questions are raised for us to reflect and ponder. I’d like to respond to the last question:
    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?

    In our parish we have Flocknotes, which provides a polished look for our emails and affords us the opportunity of emailing many people at one time. During Holy Week, in particularly during the Sacred Triduum, each day I sent out an email with the time of the Liturgies as well as links, videos, and/or the Mass Readings for that day. What we saw was an up swing of participation at these liturgies. I am hoping to continue this weekly, highlighting the Sunday Gospel and upcoming events. This is a baby step, if you will.

    We have a parentcare group that meets once a week and our planning to initiate a wiki available to all in the group. So that if someone is unable to attend the session s/he can read about what we discussed as well as affording those present the opportunity to continue to share ideas, articles or other comments after further reflection. This is another baby step.

    What I feel called to is dreaming dreams. Dreaming of how I can use the various social medias available as a means of drawing others closer to the Heart of Jesus. So I continue to listen, to pray and dream.

  2. Bryan Ramsey said:

    We did try a closed blog and website last year that failed miserably. It was what people had asked for in the past to allow them to keep up with the schedule, find extra material to do at home and for “make up” work for their children to do if they missed a session. We put in a lot of work to keep it updated and have cool stuff that we thought people might enjoy and want to go to on the blog/website.
    We learned that people want quick links to materials, not so much in-depth or they get lost in a mountain of material and that what people ask for isn’t necessarily what they want (or we could never hone in on what they were asking for.)
    The experiment helped us into this year to provide emails to families after sessions with links attached to our topics and discussion points. We now provide digital copies of event flyers, registrations, etc. And we use Google to create signups and surveys.
    A lot of people have responded positively to these adjustments, and it proves to us that going online is NOT the automatic fix for our technologically savvy culture. Rather, effectively using and targeting online and digital is way more key.
    You can’t just throw everything up to your site and call it a day. You can’t just pick something digital to do, do it and say that’s all I’m going to do. There are multiple mediums, multiple uses for those mediums and you need to pay attention to your people to see how they are responding.
    Doing it otherwise is wasting your time and taking up bandwidth that no one is going to use.

  3. I absolutely LOVE Sr. Cora’s response above about DREAMING!!! I think getting information in the mobile version – especially via text messages is going to be HUGE for allowing others to encounter Jesus!

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