Digital Discipleship: Transforming Ministry Through Technology

Archive for the ‘FETC’ Category

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!

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.

 

Interactive Connections 2012 Reflections

By:  Guest Blogger – Rhonda Carrier

Rhonda Carrier

The following are some notes from the Interactive Connections Conference and from the Florida Educational Technology Conference. I have not had a chance to visit all of the websites but thought I would pass on those that were highly recommended.

The Interactive Connections conference organized by Sister Caroline was a wonderful gathering of Catholics learning about the use of and implementation of technology to develop and expand our Catholic faith communities.  Many of those attending the Interactive conference stayed to attend FETC but we gathered together each evening as a Catholic group for fellowship and to compare notes and ideas from the day.

Bishop Noonan’s Welcome on Sister Caroline Cerveny’s Cyberpilgrim’s Blog

Fr. Larry Rice’s Keynote and summary of the crises facing the Catholic Church: On the Catholic Couponer’s Blog. Although many of the comments on the blog focus on the use of technology during mass, Fr. Rice’s message included using technology to extend our Catholic communities.  He suggested that we put the bulletin online rather than printing so it can be accessed at any time; allow online discussions so there is two-way communication and not just a one-way push of information; use online databases to gather information; allow online donations and contributions without the need of a signed piece of paper; translate publications into appropriate languages and make them available online; etc. He recommended that we read the book from Gutenberg to Zuckerberg

You may wish to review the Media Timeline that Fr. Larry shared with us Monday evening

FETC

Keynote: Michael Wesh, Anthropologist, spoke about the need to move students past being knowledgeable to being knowledge-able which means we need to help them develop their knowledge-ability. We must find ways to inspire them and to bring them to wonder. He said, “A great teacher can bring life into anything. A great teacher can bring wonder into anything. A question inspires wonder and inspires ideas. A question is: a Quest for mastery, Embraces our vulnerability, Invites connections”

  • Wonder flourishes where there in inspiration and where they feel safe. 
  • Quest for mastery requires freedoms to learn
  • Vulnerability requires Freedom to fail
  • Connections require Freedom to love

Empathy is lower than in the past. We see birth and death and life intimately and daily because we live in a “capsular civilization ” with TV, phone, computer.  We are numbing ourselves, which also numbs ourselves to joy. But there is a solution, the media are not just tools, they’re a means of communication. They mediate how we relate. (This brought me back to Fr. Rice’s message to use technology to communicate and to build communities.)

View From Knowledgeable to Knowledge-able, an 18-minute video and a short version on TED, of the topic he presented at FETC.

Heidi Hayes Jacobs, President of Curriculum Designers, Inc, presented a keynote session and a breakout session. I attended a workshop of hers several years ago, so was delighted to have a chance to say “hello”. (I have used her curriculum map concepts to organize curriculum since then. The Curriculum by Design presentation that I did for ICS that referenced her work is available for viewing on Slideshare.)

At FETC she asked the following questions:

  • How can we prepare students for the future?
  • Who owns the learning? Do students?
  • 12% of the 21st century is over and students are time traveling. They have 21st century at home but 20th century at school. What year are we preparing student for?

We need to help students with the following:

  1. Social production – Example: Wikipedia
  2. Social networking – Example: Curriculum21.com
  3. Semantic web – At least once a teaching unit, it should be upgraded with a new resource. Have a faculty meeting that just allows teachers to experiment and share new technology. Examples: Tag Galaxy (Enter a word such as childhood, then click on a bubble to go deeper – Wordle.net (creates word clouds) – Zooburst (digital storytelling pop-up books) – Visual Thesaurus  
  4. Digital literacy – related to media literacy – related to global literacy. Examples: Check out Earth Pulse website on national geographic – Gap minder –  Museum Box to replace dioramas –
  5. Global literacy – Brazil has a huge growing economy and middle class. Also Russia and India and China. We don’t study geo enough, we must also study geo literature, geo politics, geo economics. Example: World Mapper (this one is a wow!) –

I was happy to finally meet Kathy Schrock, whose work I have followed and used for many years. Her website is the basis for a large portion of the research model that I use with our students. View Kathy Schrock’s Guide to Almost Everything.

A few other good website to check out are:

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