Digital Discipleship: Transforming Ministry Through Technology

Archive for the ‘Religion’ Category

National Catholic Sisters Week

TY-Sister

National Catholic Sisters Week  is launching this year during the second week of March (March 8-14) as part of National Women’s History Month.

As I read the NCR article, I was excited about the following –

In an attempt to record untold stories by women who have served for decades in challenging ministries, St. Catherine University in St. Paul, Minnesota is sponsoring a student-led initiative. Students are producing interviews or short films about sisters they know to create an extensive oral history.

“As a student producer I will connect with a sister and hear her story,” said St. Catherine student Dominique Caya. “Not by just asking her in an interview style, though that will be part of it, but more, getting to know her on a personal level. While doing this I will blog about it, either in writing or video, and post my sister’s story on social media.”

This would be a wonderful project for any religious education class (schools or parish catechetical programs) to engage in.  Many of our religious education students are creating videos in their everyday classes.  Why not invite them to share their talents in creating video stories of sisters they may know or may be meeting for the first time.

If you’re not sure how to conduct this type of project with your students, the following links will help you:

You may also wish to visit “SisterStories: How Did I Know” website.  There are some wonderful suggestions here for you to celebrate the gift of religious women in our church.

(c) 2014 Cerveny

Lent Challenges

Credit: Dominican Nuns of Summit, NJ

Credit: Dominican Nuns of Summit, NJ

Lent is that wonderful season where we do penance!  And what we do as penance will be different for each person.

Those who are immersed in “technology” on a daily basis may decide to retreat from their devices for a period of time as a penance. That’s reasonable!

However, I would encourage all who have digital devices, to determine how they could use their tool to enhance their understanding of Lent  and to be a Digital Disciple.

Here are a couple of suggestions:

  • VIDEOS – Once a week or once a day, view a video around a Lent theme.  If you join Digital Catechesis (digitalcatechesis.ning.com) – It’s FREE! – You can search the video library to locate videos that others have found inspirational for the Lent Liturgical Season.

An example of a video in this library is A Lenten Meditation.  Take a moment to view it and savor the message.

  • If you discover additional videos that are not included in this video library as you search the You Tube videos, come and ADD them to the Digital Catechesis video library.
  • After you have viewed a video, determine who and how you would like to share it with. If you have a Facebook page, share the link with a short message from you with your FB friends.
  • If you have a Twitter account, prepare a 140 character message, including the video link in a bit.ly format that will share this video with your Twitter followers.
  • USCCB Website – At this website you will locate a “Printable Calendar for Lent.” A daily message is here with references to other sites for additional reflection materials.  You can easily find the daily Lent readings here.  Looking for resources about Lent, just go to the “search” field and type in “Lent.” You will discover some wonderful LENT resources here.

I’m sure there are other ways we can be Digital Disciples with one another during this Lenten Season.  I’d love to hear how you will use technology to be part of enhancing the Lent experience of your family and friends. I invite you to share your experiences by commenting on this blog post.

© Cerveny, SSJ-TOSF

New Year Resolutions for Our Catechists

Paul with Grandkids and iPad

As I was reading Isaac Pineda’s blog post “3 New Year’s resolutions educators should consider,” I thought – What New Year resolutions do we need to inspire our catechists in this wonderful 2014?

I invite you to share this post with your catechists, as we are in a year where the Digital Culture will continue to surround our ministry.  We need to become Digital and Connected Disciples!

Become a connected catechist.

I love what Isaac says – “Becoming a connected educator (catechist) is one of the widest decisions that will have an impact on you, the kids you teach and everyone around you.  But, what does it mean? It’s simply harnessing the power of technology to leverage your instructions.  It’s incorporating technology in your teaching practice to boost student engagement and motivation.  It’s a commitment to become a lifelong learner.”

How can we do this?  Someone in the parish needs to lead others to become “connected catechists”.  It may be your DRE, or there may be a tech savvy catechist who collaborates with the parish DRE and mentors others in the parish to improve their technology skills.  One of the best training programs is Digital Discipleship Boot Camp.  Read 21 Inspiring Messages and hear from those who have completed this training.

This program is now completely ONLINE and can be completed from the comfort of your home or office. The Winter Session begins on February 4, 2014 and the Summer Session begins on June 10.  Check out the schedule and register here. Of course, if you would like a trainer to come to your location, we can work with you in a blended format where Modules One and Two are presented at a location of your choice and the other modules are presented online.

Once you are a connected catechist, then you become the pioneer, adapting what you have learned to enhance what you do in your classroom.  Come and visit the following websites:

  • Catechesis 2.0 – Several bloggers share tools that can be easily used for Digital Storytellling and more.
  • ACyberPilgrim –  a conversation about Digital Discipleship
  • Digital Catechesis  – A worldwide community for advancing the effective use of technology in all areas of faith formation.  There is a wonderful video library here that members of this online group have shared and used in their ministries.

I invite you to come back to any of the three blogs to share your story of becoming a connected catechist.  We need to inspire one another on this new journey!  In this New Year, do resolve to learn all that you are able so that you can truly inspire your students to become Digital Disciples in this ever evolving Digital World!

Happy New Year!

HNYear-2014

Understanding the Life of Jesus

I’m always looking for wonderful examples of what others are doing to integrate technology into the teaching of Religion. I’d like to share “Understanding the Life of Jesus: an INCARNATION CATHOLIC School Big6 Research Project created by Rhonda Carrier.

Here is the project —

I encourage you to explore the project.  For those in Catholic Schools, you’ll see how Rhonda has applied the Common Core standards to this project.  More importantly, you begin to see how our students can be engaged with digital tools to expand and research faith topics.

Rhonda, thank you!  Excellent project!  For those who would like to meet Rhonda, I encourage you to attend the 5th Annual INTERACTIVE CONNECTIONS Conference in Orlando, Florida.  Here you will have the opportunity to learn from Rhonda how she is integrating technology into the religion classroom.

For those who are catechists at the parish level, these are the kinds of projects you would like to learn about, as you can easily apply what you learn here with your children.

Christmas Memories with a Slideshow

Animoto-Christmas

Christmas is in a few weeks!  For many of us it is family time where we gather to share this season with one another.  Of course, a camera is in hand and you capture your memories in digital photos.

You can use these photos to create an amazing slideshow.  There are four ways that this can be done:

  1. With Animoto.
  2.  You may want to use Microsoft Moviemaker, or
  3. You may create your own music video with PowerPoint! .
  4. If you are a Verizon customer, you now have access to.  Once you download and install Media Manager on your Windows PC (or the MAC version), you can import personal music, photos and videos and display them on FiOS TV through your FiOS TV DVR or HD Set-Top Box.

All you need are your photo’s, your favorite tool, and your own touch of creativity!  If you have slideshow to share, we’d love to hear about it.  Come back and add the link to the comment section.

Here is a sample of a video created with Animoto – Our Christmas Together.

If you like this activity, take a moment to click on the “Like” button.

Copyright 2012 Caroline Cerveny, SSJ-TOSF

With Christmas Around the Corner

Christmas-12

Christmas-1

With Christmas around the corner, you may be wondering how could you do digital storytelling with your students?  I would encourage you to think about using Mixbook!

Why – There is a wonderful Christmas template that has 25 pages:

  • Cover Page
  • Pages 2-3
  • Pages 4-5
  • Pages 6-7
  • Pages 8-9, etc
  • up to page 25, the back cover

More importantly, it is a tool that allows you to invite others to join you in creating a page.  Once you have an account and have chosen a template, all you need to do is click on  the “Invite” button and send the invite to them.

Your saying this is impossible to do because you do NOT have access to computers while you are teaching your class!  Well, many of our students have these tools either in their pockets or bookbags (e.g., iPhones, iPads) or they have computers in their homes. Or, you may be able to use the School Computer lab. Before you say this is impossible, I would encourage you to think of alternate ways this activity could be accomplished.

Last year, I watched as a group in my parish told the Christmas story outdoors at the church.  I regret now that I only took a few photos as I’d love to show you more of how you could develop a booklet that would tell this story.

I’m hoping that they repeat this event this year, I’d encourage the junior high catechists to involve their students in telling this story using Mixbook.  How?

Step 1: Invite students to attend the event and to bring their digital camera’s with them.  Once photo’s have been taken, ask your students to upload them to the class Flickr website.  Suggested resources for you Use Flickr in the Classroom or Using Flickr.com in the Classroom.  This will give all students a place to upload their photos.  You may assign this task to several students as these photos then are available for all to use.

Step 2: Study the Christmas template.  This way you could make a few notes about each of the pages that would guide the students to what you would like them to accomplish.  For example:

  • Cover Page: Insert a photo hear that shows a scene in the story.  Add Christmas 2012 and you may have other suggestions.
  • Page 1: Change “A Christmas To Remember” to a phrase or sentence that identifies what event this is…and where it is happening.  For example –
  • Pages 2 & 3: Choose 3 photos that will go on this page….two are large and one is mini-size.  These photos will continue to represent different scenes from the Christmas story.
  • Etc.

To learn more about Mixbook, visit the tutorial .

Step 3: Once you have some idea of what can be accomplished on each of these pages, then look at the list of your students and see who you want to assign to work together  in small groups.  You may need to see which students live close to each other and/or who are friends and would like to work together.  It is also important to have some idea of students who may not have a computer, as you can involve students who have or do not have a home computer to be able to work together.

Step 4: Once you have your groups and you have outlined what needs to happen on each page, then you can invite your students to create their page (or pages) with their assigned tasks.

Here is a sample invite:

Dear Name(s) of Student(s),

This year we will share the story of Christmas with our parish by creating an online photo book of the dramatic representation of the Christmas Story  by members of our parish.  We will be using Mixbook (Link to the Class website activity) for this project.

You are being asked to work on Page(s) X – X.  (Now add your page note here)

When we have completed our Christmas story, we will share our work on the parish website. For an idea of what this may look like, check out our sample .

We’ll talk more about this project when you come to our next class.

Yes, there is some planning for you so that this project can be carried out.  But the outcome will be a contribution that you can offer to the parish website that will be a way to guide your young students in becoming Digital Disciples as they share a story – potentially with the whole world.

If you like this activity, take a moment to click on the “Like” button.  Later, after your students have completed their Digital Story, come back to share the link and tell the story of what happened with your class.

Copyright 2012 Caroline Cerveny, SSJ-TOSF

Using YouTube Videos for Prayer

For those who are members of the Digital Catechesis Network when you search the video collection with the “prayer” tag you will find wonderful resources that can enhance your prayer experiences.

A few of these videos are:

Many of these resources are on YouTube.  I would encourage you to search YouTube for the gems that would be a wonderful addition to your prayer experiences.  Together let’s explore and find the videos that we can use to enhance our prayer experiences.

If you would like to join Digital Catechesis, please click on the link and click on the join button.  You will be able to locate videos that others have found to be of value to them or you can add your wonderful find to the group.

There are many wonderful videos on the YouTube network, that are FREE.  Even if you do not have the equipment that you need to display them in your classroom, you may email the link to your students and families via an email or embed in a blog post or who knows what other options you have!  You can use these videos to enhance what you are doing in Faith Formation with your students, youth, and families.

If you like this post, take a moment to click on the LIKE button below.

Copyright ©2012Caroline Cerveny

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