Digital Discipleship: Transforming Ministry Through Technology

Archive for the ‘Faith-based’ Category

Curiosity is Intelligence having fun!

creativity

The saying attributed to Albert Einstein – Curiosity is intelligence having fun – is something to keep in mind as I return to writing articles about technology in ministry.  Why?  I call all involved in ministry to be curious with me about technology and to have “fun” while being curious.

There are various ways we can approach technology, for example:

  • FEAR: We can be so afraid of technology that we turn our back on it, ignore it, and not see it as valuable partner in our ministry world.
  • TINKER: Those who enjoy taking things apart and putting them back together again, can take a computer, laptop, tablet, or phone apart to see if they can put it back together again. They enjoy the mechanics of handling the pieces and weaving them into a unit that works.
  • NICE TO HAVE: Yes, we have the $$$$$$ for the tools. Let’s buy what we believe we will use.  We listen to the techy folks who surely know how to use technology in ministry.  I believe we need to ask – Well do they know how to use these tools in a learning environment?
  • DIGITAL PEDAGOGY: We are now living in a “paradigm shift” where learning is changing with the introduction of technology into the learning cycle. As an educator, I was shaped and formed by a system that today is tending towards being out-of-fashion!  We are leaning towards a digital culture that is changing how we teach, how we communicate, and how we work together.

Jesse Stommel is an Assistant Professor of Digital Humanities at University of Wisconsin-Madison.  He offers four characteristics of Critical Digital Pedagogy. Put another way, these are four things we might notice if digital teaching and learning is doing what it’s supposed to do.

Characteristics of Critical Digital Pedagogy

  1. It centers its practice on community and collaboration
  2. Must remain open to diverse, international voices, and thus requires invention to reimagine the ways that communication and collaboration happen across cultural and political boundaries
  3. Will not, cannot, be defined by a single voice but must gather a cacophony of voices
  4. Must have use and application outside traditional institutions of education

I encourage you to explore Strommel’s PowerPoint where he describes Digital Pedagogy.

Now what does this mean for faith formation? We will go on to discover through our curiosity.  I trust that the articles that are already here and the articles to come, will continue to add to the conversation.  I invite all of my readers to join me in this ongoing conversation.  I invite you to return for the new articles or to simply search for articles that may interest you here at ACyberPilgrim.  Blessings!

 

Word Clouds in the Religion Classroom

Easter-5

As I read Michael Gormon’s post 200 Ways to Use Word Clouds in the Classroom , I missed seeing suggestions for the subject of RELIGION.

So here are 8 Suggestions for using a WordCloud in your religion classroom:

  1. Paste a Gospel Reading from the USCCB website into your Word Cloud tool. You may wish to turn off common words. Discuss the phrases or words that are important in this reading.
  2. Post students first names to create a Word Cloud of those who are part of your class.
  3. Students create a Word Cloud for the life of a specific saint or Scripture personality.
  4. Make a Word Cloud of certain Scripture events – e.g., Birth of Jesus, Jesus Lost in the Temple, etc. Then exchange the Word Cloud with another group and invite the group to identify the story.
  5. Pick the same story in Scripture as told by Matthew, Mark, Luke, or John (e.g., Parable of the Lost Sheep (Matthew and Luke ) and create two different Word Clouds. Invite students to discuss what is unique to each storyteller.
  6. Make a Word Cloud of lyrics of your favorite Christian song.
  7. Have students create a Word Cloud using their favorite Bible Passage. They then present their Word Cloud to the class and invite students to guess the passage.
  8. Show a Video. Then invite groups of three to five students to identify words or phrases that are important to this video. Have students create a Word Cloud using their words or phrases.  Discuss the similarities and differences between the various word clouds created by each group.

You may want to look at a previous blog article WordClouds and Prayer  for suggestions to use a WordCloud in prayer.

I have a feeling that my readers have some other suggestions.  I invite you to add your suggestions in the “comment” section of this blog.

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

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?

Inspirational Moments

inspirational-moments

One of the reasons I go to the Florida Educational Technology Conference (FETC), is to meet folks who will inspire me to learn new things.  Recently I was reminded how simple conversations with others are also inspirational.

To my wonderful surprise, a new Digital Disciple Boot Camp (DDBC) participant shared this with me:

Hi, Sr. Caroline – I just had to drop you a quick note and tell you about what I did tonight during a class I was teaching as a result of our conversation. 

I was teaching a group class that combined three 6th grade RE classes.  I had one class waiting for the other 2 classes to arrive so I asked how many had a smart phone with them – all hands shoot up – great, I say, please look up the word “covenant” – hands start flying, voices speaking into Siri – first one that found something was about a movie – nope – next one – a good lay dictionary definition – nope – something more religious – sure enough someone finds the “Biblical” definition – perfect- screen shot so you can read it to the rest when they come. 

It was a perfect use of technology and useful as well.  Thanks for inspiring me today.

Thank you Deb Ryan, Assistant Director of Religious Education, St. Francis of Assisi Church for sharing your story with me.  I trust that you will continue to encounter many others during DDBC who will continue to inspire you.

My wish in this ever evolving 2015 year is that each of you will be inspired by others who are involved in Digital Catechesis.  We are each pioneers, trying to figure out what is possible and what works!

I look forward to sharing FETC stories with my readers over the next couple of weeks.  Since I am an introvert, it takes time to sift through the mass of information that I was exposed to at FETC.  As you visit this space, I will share with you what and who inspired me to continue to be a Digital Disciple.

Of course, come and share your stories with ACyberPilgrim as well!

“Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love.    – Mother Teresa

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!

 

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