Digital Discipleship: Transforming Ministry Through Technology

Archive for the ‘Evangelization’ Category

5 Inspiring Ways: Use Twitter in Religion Class

Twitter-2

One social media tool that I love is Twitter!  Why? In 140 characters or less I can send a message to others simply using a mobile tool and the Twitter App which is available for both iPhone and Android users. Most of our classrooms have Internet access and many of our students have access to a smartphone or tablet.  Simply invite your students to bring these tools with them to class.  You’ll be amazed at how easily they will be able to engage in what you invite them to do.

Here are a few ideas to implement a Twitter activity in the K-12 religion classroom or you can tweet the activity to your families, inviting them to engage in a family activity together.

  1. Follow Pope Francis, your bishop or archbishop and other religious leaders on Twitter. Here are a few church leaders:
    1. Pope Francis – https://twitter.com/Pontifex
    2. Bishop Paprocki – https://twitter.com/BishopPaprocki
    3. Bishop Edward Burns – https://twitter.com/BishopBurns

What is each leader sharing? What is the message of hope, joy, or mercy that each leader is calling attention to?

  1. Use Twitter to share prayer intentions. Have students use Twitter to share a prayer intention through 140 characters or less with a hashtag, e.g., #stjp.

Twitter-prayer

  1. Instant feedback. Have a student respond to a question you have asked in class.  Use your class hashtag so that you can gather the responses all in one location to review using your cellphone or tablet Twitter App. This way many of your students have responded and you can quickly access who has grasped the material you have been studying.
  1. Pray Scripture Lectio Divina Style using Twitter. On Friday, read and reflect on the Sunday scripture by using the USCCB Sunday Scripture readings.  Project the Sunday Scripture on the screen using a LCD projector.  Invite the students to tweet the word or phrase that is meaningful to them at this time and add a designated hashtag.
  1. Poll the class. Use PollDaddy for Twitter. Use a poll as an interactive teaching tool in class.

As you imagine other opportunities of using Twitter in your classroom, I invite you to return to this blog posting and at the bottom of this page you will see “Leave a Comment”.  Click on this link.  Then share your story with us.

 

Digital Ideas for Lent!

Lent is this wonderful opportunity to reflect on various spiritual themes – the Year of Mercy and more! We often give things up.  Yet, I would like to challenge each of my readers to explore how they could “Evangelize” during Lent using any of the digital tools that are on their desktop, laptop, or any of the mobile tools that you have access to.

Why do I challenge you?  I listened to Fr. Frank DeSiano’s Webinar Lent in the Year of Mercy  recently.  And as I listened this slide was important to me –

What digital activities could be suggested?

What digital activities could be suggested?

Why?  Because my mind saw a chart just waiting to be transformed into ideas where we could be Digital Disciples and Evangelizers.  I invite you to “brainstorm” with me about possible options.  For example, I would retitle the slide to: Corporal Works of Mercy – Options for Digital Discipleship.  Then the three headings revised to: (1) Work, (2) Personal Digital Activity, and (3) Church Digital Activity.

As I begin to brainstorm, here are a couple of thoughts flowing through my mind:

(Work)To Feed the hungry  – (Personal Digital Activity) Give up a meal and contribute to the Catholic Relief Services

(Work) To clothe the naked  – (Church Digital Activity) – Create a graphic using Canva that promotes the local shelter with a call to action to bring in new or gently used clothes to give to the shelter.

Pinellas Hope-2

Use Graphic on Facebook or Tweet to your fans

I invite YOU, my wonderful readers, to continue to brainstorm for all us!  If you look at the chart, what do you see as possible options to be a Digital Disciple or Evangelizer?  I ask you to continue the conversation by clicking on the “LEAVE A COMMENT” link towards the bottom of this page.

I look forward to hearing the wonderful suggestions that you will offer this Digital Community!

Merciful Technology Prayer

MercyYear

Recently Digital Disciple Network Associates gathered in Orlando before attending the Future of Educational Technology Conference (FETC).  Claudia McIvor led us in prayer as we began. We may often wonder on “...how our efforts to bring technology and faith together might bind the wounds of those who need to feel the healing touch of Jesus in the world today.”

I wanted to share this prayer with you as it highlights some of the possibilities of using technology for ministry.  You may wish to pray this with your staff in the future as you engage in conversations about the importance of technology in your ministries.

Watch this blog for more about technology and ministry after I attended the FETC Conference in Orlando last week.

Leader: In this year of Divine Mercy, let us reflect on how our efforts to bring technology and faith together might bind the wounds of those who need to feel the healing touch of Jesus in the world today. To guide us, we recall the Corporal and Spiritual Works of Mercy.

Leader: Many are hungry and thirsty. May we bring awareness to their needs and respond in generosity through the power of the Internet and social media.

R: Holy Spirit, impel us.

Leader:  The sick, the disabled, and the elderly often cannot join us in our churches. May our videos and live broadcasts reach out to touch, reassure and nurture them, bringing community into their homes.

R: Holy Spirit, inspire us.

Leader:  Isolation brings doubt and ignorance. May wisdom fly to those who are alone, reassuring them of God’s powerful and constant love, through our digital stories and emails.

R: Holy Spirit, guide us.

Leader:  Though we may be tempted to hold grudges, withhold kindness, or spread phobias, may we always choose to use digital media to forgive, instruct and share God’s love for all people, no matter their race or creed.

R: Holy Spirit, direct us.

Leader:  In all that we do in our ministries with technology, may we always be mindful of those in need, and may we call on the creative breath of God to find new ways to show mercy to all.

R: Holy Spirit, we trust in you.

 

The Corporal Works of Mercy are these kind acts by which we help our neighbors with their material and physical needs.

feed the hungry
give drink to the thirsty
clothe the naked
shelter the homeless
visit the sick
visit the imprisoned
bury the dead

The Spiritual Works of Mercy are acts of compassion, as listed below, by which we help our neighbors with their emotional and spiritual needs.

counsel the doubtful
instruct the ignorant
admonish sinners
comfort the afflicted
forgive offenses
bear wrongs patiently
pray for the living and the dead

http://www.loyolapress.com/corporal-and-spiritual-works-of-mercy.htm

Your Children are Learning All the Time!

Children-8

Our children today are exposed to formal and informal learning experiences in their daily lives.  On the faith side, they are nurtured by their families and the faith communities they are part of.  When they are in your classroom, you are engaging them in learning something about their faith tradition – prayers, saints, and more!

The real question is how they can continue their learning outside of class while being engaged in what you want them to be engaged in. How do you control what they learn outside of school?

Well, the simple answer is you can’t.

That said, the beauty of learning is that not everything about it has to be school-related in order for it to happen.

However, you can encourage your families and/or students to engage with you in the following:

  1. Watch a video related to a faith topic that relates to what you are teaching in your classroom. Many of these videos are in the Digital Catechesis Video Library.  You can incorporate interactive questions using Educanon or Edpuzzle. Using digital tools allows you to expand faith learning to the families of the children you are involved with.
  2. Create a study group. How? Get on your Google+ account and create a Google Community.  Engage your families in learning something about their faith via a video, a question, or     .  Here are 10 Basic Steps to create a community. For Google Plus, your students must be at least 13 years old. Engage them in an online conversation while away from class.
  3. Use social media to gather information. Interview someone or create a poll, and post in Twitter. Kids can do their social media apps in the comfort of their home and not know they’re still in class!
  4. Use Remind for announcements and more.
  5. Explore the Parallel Bible App. Refer your families to the Gospel Sunday Reading (See http://usccb.org/ for the reference) and invite your families to choose a phrase or sentence that is important to them from the Sunday Gospel and to choose an image that represents that Scripture passage.  Invite them to post the image using the Parallel Bible App.

After you have involved your class in learning outside the classroom, you are invited to come back to this post to share your story.  We would love to hear from you! Of course, additional suggestions are more than welcomed.

 

 

It’s Digital Citizenship Week

Image from Common Sense Media

Image from Common Sense Media

October 18 – 24, 2016 is Digital Citizenship Week.  Why is this important for us? In order to be a Digital Disciple, it is important to also be a Digital Citizen.  Common Sense Education has a wonderful resource for all of us – Adults and Kids! Check out Digital Citizenship Week!   Good simple suggestions here!

Respect for Creation

creation-1

Recently America online magazine highlighted Pope Francis’s Pentecost Sunday homily, in St Peter’s Basilica – Pope’s Pentecost Homily.

For me the key points of this homily are:

  • the world needs men and women who are filled with the Holy Spirit.
  • The word of God, especially in today’s readings, tells us that the Spirit is at work in individuals and communities filled with the Spirit: he guides us into all the truth (cf. Jn 16:13), he renews the face of the earth (Ps 103:30), and he gives us his fruits (cf. Gal 5:22-23).
  • At first the disciples were paralyzed with fear, shut in the Upper Room to avoid the aftermath of Good Friday.  Now they would no longer be ashamed to be Christ’s disciples; they would no longer tremble before the courts of men.  Filled with the Holy Spirit, they would now understand “all the truth”: that the death of Jesus was not his defeat, but rather the ultimate expression of God’s love, a love that, in the Resurrection, conquers death and exalts Jesus as the Living One, the Lord, and the Redeemer of mankind, of history and of the world.
  • The gift of the Holy Spirit renews the earth.
  • Respect for creation, then, is a requirement of our faith: the “garden” in which we live is not entrusted to us to be exploited, but rather to be cultivated and tended with respect (cf. Gen 2:15)
  • The world needs men and women who are not closed in on themselves, but filled with the Holy Spirit.
  • The world needs the fruits of the Holy Spirit: “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control” (Gal 5:22).

As I reflect on these points, I see a wonderful opportunity for parents and catechists to lead their students and families in being a Digital Disciple. How? Here are a few suggestions:

  • Take a photo of how you are caring for creation – perhaps your garden, caring for your family or brothers and sisters, or any other expression of care. Post it on your Facebook page, Instagram, or Twitter with a short reflection.

garden-1

A reflection –

How exciting!  Learn more about Grow Pittsburgh, an urban agriculture nonprofit. It brings the garden and cooking into the classroom with 72 different available lesson plans. Children together are learning how to cultivate their gardens.  Could be a summer program for our parish catechetical families.

  • Find a meaningful quote about overcoming fear and share it on your Facebook page or Tweet it to your friends.

fear-1

  • Create a 30-second video using Animoto that has a theme that focuses on one fruit of the Holy Spirit: “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control” (Gal 5:22).

If you have additional suggestions for being a Digital Disciple during this time following the feast of Pentecost, we would love to hear your story.

How can WE REDEEM Technology?

iPhone-4

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?

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