Digital Discipleship: Transforming Ministry Through Technology

Posts tagged ‘21st Century Pedagogy’

Changing our DNA

I’m not a scientist!  What I know about DNA would fit on 1/1000 mb’s  of my iPad memory.  Yes, DNA is related to our genetic properties.  If you watch CSI or NCIS they can tell who you are by your DNA.  Some of us are saying, but I do not even have one technology gene in my body!  No “technology” in my DNA!

Well, it’s time for the transfusion or whatever it will take to integrate technology into your very being!  Why?

When our use of the new means of social networking is self-giving, truthful and loving, it then becomes “ a reflection of our participation in the communicative and unifying Love of God, who desires to make of all humanity one family” (Pope Benedict XVI, Message for 2009 World Day of Communication).

Pope Benedict XVI implies that technology is not the enemy but a graceful means of evangelizing and a way of loving our community.  So how do we change the “technophobic” DNA of our inner being?

Brad West began a conversation around “Fear Not: Objections to Tech in Parishes”  with five points of what seems to hold us back.

  1. I don’t understand.
  2. Show the real benefit in terms of numbers.
  3. We’ve always done it this way.
  4. I don’t have time to learn that stuff. and,
  5. We don’t have the money for that.

If you are holding yourself back from embracing technology because of any of these reasons, then you need to be involved in a MINDSHIFT transfusion that will change your technology DNA!

  1. If you do not understand, there are plenty of ways to learn.  Simply decide that you will learn more than you already know and proceed at an inch-by-inch pace!  Who says you have to know everything?  One step at a time! Ask a friend or your children to be your digital guiding angel!
  2. Benefits?  One of the best stories I heard to demonstrate a “benefit” is from Amy Barber, a middle school catechist at Queen of Peace Parish, Gainesville, FL.  After a workshop I gave about cell phones being used in a classroom, she went back and “tried” it with her students.  Three months later, she shared this story with me!  Amy now has parents knocking on her classroom door, because they want to take their son or daughter home for the evening meal.  The students want to stay so that they can finish their projects!
  3. Our students are in a different place and learn differently.  Take a moment to listen to the 21st Century Pedagogy video (See below).  We may be comfortable with the way we’ve always done it.  Our students are not!  Are you willing to travel to their digital continent and to learn a new language and digital culture so that you can communicate with them?  It is time to erase from your inner database “We’ve always done it this way!”  Never ever utter this again!
  4. Time!  Yes, it does take time to learn what I need to know.  I had students this summer who  over an 8-week period, spent about 3 hours per week to learn more about technology and are now working on projects to apply what they learned to their religion classrooms.  They were part of the new Digital Discipleship Bootcamp!  Most classroom educators need to be involved in technology at least a year before they feel really comfortable using technology.  So my question to you is – When are you going to start?  Your children are already on the train.  If you miss getting onboard, they will go on without you!
  5. Money!  Yes, money is important!  But you do not need a ton of money to start.  Figure out the basics and get what you need to start!  If you have the good of your students at heart and communicate what you are doing to your parents and others, they will support what you do.  Yes, even with money!

I trust that you will truly move ahead to change your technology DNA!  How to use faith-based educational technology today with your learning groups – whatever age – is a MUST!  If you are a leader, and do not understand what needs to be done, look around for those in your parish who have “educational technology” background and degrees.   Invite them to mentor and to assist you.

As we continue to ponder the changing of our technophobic part of our DNA, let us pray – Lord, help me to learn more about this wonderful digital world. I so want to walk the walk and talk the talk of our young people so that I can guide them to becoming Digital Disciples.  I want to learn how I can use these new tools, so like you – instead of writing in the sand (John 8:9) I can learn how to share your Gospel with the grace-filled tools of technology.

Copyright ©2011 Caroline Cerveny

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