Digital Discipleship: Transforming Ministry Through Technology

Posts tagged ‘Christmas’

Jesus is the Light Who Brightens the Darkness

Recently I’ve taken time to retreat to refresh and renew – body, mind, and soul.  Little or no computer technology during this time! Thus my Christmas reflection is late this year.

After I awakened this Christmas morning, I sat down at my computer to share my Christmas wishes with you.  What initially caught my eye as I began this task is the “Christmas Celebrated Near and Far” Associated Press story.

As I viewed the photo gallery, I was reminded that Christmas is celebrated around the world.  Today we remember that our Christ came to us as a baby in very humble beginnings born in a stable surrounded by shepherds.  Pope Francis in his Christmas Eve homily simply reminded all of us that our central cause as a church is to be attentive to the poor.  How? That’s what we need to figure out on a daily basis.

As we remember and celebrate the gift of Christ in our lives, may the Nativity Scenes that are placed in our homes, churches, and wherever we may find them, remind us that we are gift to one another.

Here is the translation of the Popes Christmas mass night homily – Jesus is the Light who brightens the darkness. May his words inspire you as we celebrate this wonderful feast of Christmas.

© Cerveny, 2013

 

An iPhone Advent!

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I was just reading 9 Outstanding iPhone Photography Projects to Try With Your Students. Dian Schaffhause has figured out how to use these wonderful mobile tools in the classroom. As you read the article, notice that she:

  • promotes learning in the classroom through photography and video projects,
  • has set up a small bring-your-own-device program, in which the students write up agreements that their parents have to sign in order to participate,
  • covers basic photography skills, and
  • provides a variety of experiences to learn.

I would encourage you to figure out how you can repurpose what Dian has shared to your religion classroom during this wonderful Advent season.

She has provided the basic steps. Now how do we apply to your class during Advent?

Here’s a suggestion:

  •  Make sure that you are comfortable in using your phone to take photographs. If not, ask your children, grandchildren, or one of your students how to do this.
  • Go to your church during Advent and look around to see what is unique to the Advent season. Take as many photographs as you would like.
  • Invite them also to take photos at home that represent Advent. Perhaps as a family they make an Advent wreath that they use during the season, or they have an Advent calendar, or ?????
  •  Once you have photos, then –

o If using a computer, go to Animoto and open a FREE account, or
o If using an iPhone or an iPad, go to the iTunes store to download the FREE Animoto app.

  • If you do not know how to use this program, go to the Catechesis 2.0 overview at Animoto.
  • Prepare a short script using the photos that you just took.
  • Create your video
  • Then share your videos with one another. There are various ways you can do this: add your links to an email message and send to your students, they can look at the videos when they get home or any other creative way you can share these videos with one another via Twitter, Facebook, the parish webpage, or ?????

I would invite you to return to this blog to share a few of the Advent videos that were created by your students.

Blessings this Advent season!

Sharing the Light!

During the weekend of November 22nd,  the film – The Christmas Candle will be showing in theaters around the country! I saw a preview showing of the film Thursday evening, I loved it!  I’d encourage you to purchase your ticket  and go see it!

Why? For many reasons:

  • It is a holiday film for the entire family!
  • The story – Legend has it every 25 years an angel visits the village candlemaker and touches a single candle.  Whoever lights this candle receives a miracle on Christmas Eve.
  • Filmed on location in England, depicting the 1890 time period where it is at the dawn of the electric age.  There is tension between the legend and the coming electric age.
  • The photography is excellent, I felt like I was in the midst of this time period.
  • When David Richmond (Hans Matheson), a progressive young minister, arrives in Gladbury, the villagers discover a new formula for miracles: good deeds and acts of kindness.

In this winter and Advent season, where each day gets darker and darker, it is a time to be hope filled in the Light of Christ!

The story is also a visual experience of the lighting of the weekly Advent wreath with a reflection and prayer.  If we reflect on our day to day lives, there are moments when we have lost hope!  Yet our daily journey is to be a miracle to one another, offering the hope we each need to one another.  Through prayer, Christ our Light brings hope to our daily lives.

For the Christian Community, the story unfolds a journey through the four weeks of Advent up to a Nativity scene.  What a way to begin a journey through the Advent season – visually experiencing the lighting of the weekly Advent wreath with each weekly prayer and then witnessing the birth of Christ in the context of this story.

Filmmaker Max Lucado comments, “My prayer is that audiences of all ages will leave The Christmas Candle with their hope restored and faith renewed by the message that God has – and always will – work miracles.  Especially, at Christmastime.”

I’d take it a step further to say – we become the “miracle workers” because we have experienced the Light of Christ!

For further information about the film, visit ChristmasCandleMovie.com!

 

Wishing you all the Joy, Hope and Wonder of Christmas!

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas!

A Christmas Message from our Aussie friends – Fraynework

Dear wonderful family and friends of CyberPilgrim , Digital Catechesis , Digital Discipleship Boot Camp, and Twitter :

One of the real joys of the Christmas Season is the opportunity to say Thank You and to wish you the very best for the New Year. May your Christmas be rich with family love, warm with friendship, happy with life’s goodness and blessed with the joys of the season.

I am especially blessed with the many friendships that have developed over the years by our wondering about, struggling with, dreaming of, feeling challenged by the technology world that surrounds us in this 21st Century.

Many of us may be Digital Immigrants and others are Digital Natives. Regardless of our tech experience, we are faced with effectively evangelizing in a Digital Culture. Thank you for being part of this digital journey.

Like the shepherds in the field, we are surprised by a bright light only to discover Jesus. Like the Three Wise Men, we will journey miles in order to be led to Jesus. Today, we can be evangelizers to lead others to Jesus in new ways with Digital Tools.

In 2013, I will continue to share my insights with you and I count on you to join in the conversation. It is in sharing our wisdom with one another in collaborative ways via blogs, wikis, twitter, Facebook and more that we will become more comfortable to evangelize in this Digital Continent to bring the Lord Jesus to others. I will be taking a brief break during this Christmas season to enjoy family and friends. I’ll be back in January!

Warmest thoughts and best wishes for a wonderful Holiday and a Happy New Year!

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

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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

An Advent Wordle Prayer Experience

For those who are interested in integrating technology into one of their Advent lessons by involving the family, you may wish to do the following:

  1. Direct your families and/or students to Advent Prayers and invite them to pick a prayer.  (Note: Here are other prayer links – Children Pray: Advent and Christmas or A Prayer for Lighting the Advent Wreath.
  2. As a family, invite all to pray this prayer together.
  3. Go back and highlight and copy the text of the prayer that was just prayed.
  4. Then go to WORDLE.
  5. Click on “Create Your …” link or the “Create” tab.
  6. Paste the text into the “Paste in a bunch of text” space.
  7. Then click on “Go”.
  8. Your screen will look something like….

If you like the word arrangement as it is great!  If not, you can adjust text, colors or word arrangement by clicking on menu bar text “Font”, “Layout”, or “Color”.  When you like your arrangement, then do a and paste into MS Paint or any other graphic program you may have to create a *.jpg file. You may want to crop your image so that you are just showing the Wordle!

Here are examples of how you can adjust your Wordle Design

Once the JPEG file is created, then you could invite your students to do the following:

  1. Ask them to email the graphic to you.  Once you have the files you can add them to your class website or create a collage of Wordle Prayers.
  2. Add the images to a class prayer PowerPoint.  With an Advent song playing in the background show the Wordle Prayer images.  Invite your students to identify ONE word on each slide that stands out for them.  You may want to have a worksheet for them.
  3. Then ask the students to create a SHORT Advent prayer using any five words they have identified.

For example:  Advent, Jesus, longing, brother, darkness

Brief prayer – Jesus this Advent we are experiencing darkness, we are longing for you to be our brother.

If you are not sure how to do the “tech” part of this prayer experience, remember that many of your high school students are very comfortable with these tools, you may want to ask one of the high school students to work with you to create the PPT, or add the images to the class website, or whatever else you may want to do. Remember, they love to be your coach so that you can learn how to use these technology tools.

If you have other ways that you are planning on using Wordle with your students during this Advent season, we’d love to hear about them.  If this was helpful to you, please click the “Like” button.

Copyright 2012 Caroline Cerveny, SSJ-TOSF

 

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