Digital Discipleship: Transforming Ministry Through Technology

Posts tagged ‘catholic’

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

Returning soon!

back-soon

There are moments when we just get “over scheduled.”  That happened to me from May through September of this year.  I have been pondering a variety of articles, which are in “draft” form in my mind.  However, as I get ready to share a variety of articles with you, I’d love to hear from you, what you may be interested in learning more about technology in Catechesis and Evangelization.

If you would take a few moments to share your comments and suggestions at the bottom of this page, that would be most appreciated.  Thank you all for your wonderful comments and when I am at one of your conferences, just taking the time to say hello is most appreciated.

 

VolunteerSpot: Free Online Sign Up Tool with Reminders

VolunteerSpot - Free Signup Sheets and Scheduling

Church ministry is nothing if not a hands-on effort requiring deep collaboration from the congregation. Getting scheduled and staying organized when it comes to volunteer and parent-supported events and activities is a snap with free online signup sheets & scheduling tools from VolunteerSpot.com

VolunteerSpot helps congregation members easily sign up to participate and pitch in with seasonal and ongoing church activities – think acolytes, ushers, Easter egg hunts, potlucks, VBS, service days and more. ParentsVBS Signup Sheet and volunteers can quickly choose what to do or to bring with a few clicks on their computer or mobile device; confirmation and reminder messages are then sent automatically to help people stay on track. Congregation participants also have the ability to swap their spots or sync their commitments to their electronic calendars with the click of a button – and they never need to register a formal account or keep a password.

Applications:

  • Vacation Bible School
  • Parish carnival volunteers
  • Potlucks, picnics & meal circles
  • Ushers, greeters & fellowship volunteers
  • Retreats, conferences, mission trips
  • Sunday school snacks & helpers
  • Outreach ministry & service days
  • Prayer circles

Ministry and committee coordinators can easily schedule volunteer needs for one-time events or multi-day activities. When planning activities with multiple shifts (conferences, carnival booths, etc.), a handy ‘Auto-Fill” feature makes it easy to pre-fill times and even schedule a short break in between.

VolunteerSpot offers multiple ways to recruit and invite participants to your online signups too – including personal email invitations, sharable newsletter, Facebook or Twitter links, or via “Group Pages”, customized with a church logo.  A Group Page lets organizers post multiple activity signups in one place and then embeds into your church website with a button or i-frame.

VolunteerSpot’s free iPad app “Clipboard” mimics a traditional clipboard signup sheet and makes it easy for congregation members to sign up in person during gatherings and meetings.  Or, if you have a completed paper signup sheet already, you can enter assignments directly into the system. Reporting, messaging and customizable alerts also make this tool a time-saving instrument of communication for your congregation, a necessity in this digital age.

KID MIN ipad

Count on a greater volunteer response, more participation from your congregation, and a less stressful management experience with VolunteerSpot’s streamlined signups and volunteer calendars.

Click Here to try a live demo.

 

Note: Thank you to Karen Bantuveris and Jessica Young for sharing the article about the Volunteer Spot website.

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

We have a Pope!

I was home today when I received a call from a friend that there was “White Smoke”.

Within seconds I turned on the TV and with the world, I was waiting to be greeted by our new Pope.  As I watched the audience in the square, there were numerous people holding up iPads, cell phones, and digital and video cameras as they recorded the announcement of “Habemus Papam” and the first greeting to the world by our new Pope Francis!

Within minutes, people were tweeting, emailing, blogging and announcing to their family, friends, and colleagues the historical event they were witnessing at this moment.  Of course, the media giants were there as well.  Yet, every one of us today has the capability (if we want) to communicate to our friends and families the top story of the day!  What a wonderful and incredible world we live in!

If you were paying attention to the tweets, you would have noticed that there were tweets from President Barack Obama, Cardinal Dolan, Catholic Sun, John L. Allen, Jr., Father Shane Johnson, CBS News, and everyday folks like you and me.  Regardless of where you were at – in Rome, in the USA, in South America, in Africa or wherever – the whole world was sharing and chatting with one another.

pope-twitter-1

And this evening (3/13/13) I used Google Images to see what photos I could find about our new Pope.  Of course, these images were downloaded to a variety of locations, and yet within a short period of time, they were e-catalogued and available to the world! Here they are…

popefrancis-1

Within minutes, there are photos, comments by others, and more available online for others to view and read.  Even his first remarks are available to the world to go back and read, especially if you missed this historic moment.

pope-remarks

I was especially moved by his reflection–

Now let’s begin this journey, bishop and people, this journey of the church of Rome, which is the one that presides in charity over all the churches — a journey of brotherhood, love and trust among us. Let us pray for one another. Let us pray for the whole world that there be a great brotherhood. I hope this journey of the church that we begin today — and I will be helped by my cardinal vicar, here present — will be fruitful for the evangelization of this so beautiful city. (Pope Francis)

We have the capability today, to be brothers and sisters to one another despite the geographic distances that we often allow to separate us.  We truly can be Digital Disciples, evangelizing one another in ways we have never imagined before!

What is a Blog Tour?

Have you ever heard of a blog tour?  I haven’t!  Not until I received an email from the Lutheran Theological Seminary at Gettysburg, with this invite –  “You (ACyberPilgrim)  are cordially invited to participate in a blog tour on the subject of religion and media, featuring Dr. Mary E. Hess, Associate Professor of Educational Leadership at Luther Seminary, St. Paul, MN.”

Mary is a wonderful friend, so I was delighted to be included in this blog tour.  Here is a wonderful opportunity to learn something new about using a blog to carry on a conversation with others in a virtual environment.

How does this work? 

I’ve been invited to submit questions on religion and media that I feel would be of interest to readers of ACyberPilgrim.

When will this happen?

On Wednesday, May 2nd – Mary will start the conversation with her response to –

The field of educational technology is over 35 years old and media literacy over 50 years – both are important to today’s  world of religion and media.  How do we as faith-based ministers catch up with a fast-paced media world to learn and to be exposed to the best practices of both educational technology and media literacy with church leaders who may be resistant to the use of media in church ministry?  Just the other day a Media Center Coordinator casually shared the following with me –

There is a commercial in our area that talks about digital learning… students will never need to leave home… and learn all they want.  It just scared the heebie-jeebies right out of me to think of a whole generation with no interaction with others… and book smart, not street smart – and that does say something else.  Please don’t think I’m meaning this in a negative way, or don’t want things to change….. OH MY… what would this world be if we never evolved and learned!  It is just the speed and lack of thinking that I hear when I learn what CAN be done… not the controlled methods that I’m sure Catholic and well planned schools will use.  As we clip budgets, people who “knew” are being let go, and people hired are in charge that do not have the skills and education to make these decisions well, and we all know the “makers” of these products don’t care one iota the impact… they just want the sell.  They use some cute marketing… but it goes out to the public that isn’t quite ready for it all… and I only mean ready in the prepared sense.. because social networking sure is a hit.

What I’m hearing in this comment is the following:

  • A judgment that “students will never need to leave home”
  • Fright that a “whole generation with no interaction with others”

The questions that come to mind are the following –

  • How do I keep up with this world? “It is just the speed and lack of thinking that I hear when I learn what CAN be done”
  • How do we teach the faith in a world that is more participatory and democratic? – “not the controlled methods” we are used to, and
  • How do we hire and/or train ministers today in a world that is now a Digital World?

What’s our role in the Blog Tour?

Come back to hear what Mary has to say about the growing fields of educational technology and media literacy in ministry.  I will post Mary’s initial response to the conversation late on Tuesday evening.  Throughout the day – Wednesday, May 2nd – you are invited to continue the conversation with Mary.  Your comments and/or questions will be a wonderful part of the conversation.  Mary will be available all day to respond to our conversation with her.

I look forward to being part of the Blog Tour with all of you!  See you soon!

How Do We Eat the Elephant?

Of course, ONE PIECE AT A TIME!

I’m back after a wonderful weekend of giving workshops during the 2012 LA Religious Education  Congress in Anaheim, California.  What I so enjoy at the conference is the energy and the gathering of Catholics who come to the conference (from all over the world) to be renewed and refreshed.  To enjoy some of the keynotes, presentations, and liturgies come and visit the LA Religious Education Congress YouTube channel.

To get a sense of the energy shared during this Congress, come and view the Opening Rite and Welcome!

As I reflect on the experience of presenting two workshops – CaTECHchesis with TECH Tools and Sharing Your Journey via Digital Storytelling – I so appreciate the hunger and curiosity of the 700+ participants who attended these two sessions.  I want to thank all who attended and to remind each of you that we can only eat an elephant one piece at a time!

If you felt overwhelmed with the information that was shared, you are not alone!  Many of us were not raised with the technology that our students have easy access to today!  My suggestion – eat the elephant one piece at a time!  Start with ONE tool that you like, try it. Weave it again into a lesson.  When you are feeling more comfortable, look back at your notes and try another tool.

Remember, it takes time and patience to learn a new language.  And today, there is a Digital Culture, with a language that is part of it, and of course new skills to learn!  Just like learning French, Spanish, or any other foreign language and culture – it takes time and a desire to learn the culture, language, and skills.

If you are curious and are wondering what was covered in these workshops, do not hesitate to visit the PowerPoints from the workshops:

CaTECHchesis with TECH Tools,  and

 Sharing Your Journey via Digital Storytelling

I would love to hear from you, what you are doing with technology in your catechetical ministry.  You could share now or come back to this post later to share your thoughts and ideas.

Or, you may simply want to “Like” this post!  If you do – Click the LIKE button below.  Thank you!

©2012, Caroline Cerveny

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