Digital Discipleship: Transforming Ministry Through Technology

Posts tagged ‘Digital Discipleship Boot Camp’

Becoming an Innovative Catechist in our Digital Culture

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A catechist in today’s learning environment – is challenged!  Why?  Their students are often engaged in some wonderful learning environments that utilize a variety of digital learning methods in their everyday schools.  Yet, when they come to the parish religion classroom, there are a number of challenges:

Experiences will differ.  Some parish programs have a wonderful relationship with their schools.  Technology like smart boards and WiFi are available to the parish program.  In some parish programs, there is a distance between the two programs, that is separated by a wall almost impossible to climb.  Most catechists in today’s digital world do not know or understand what is happening in the area of educational technology in our public schools. So, even if equipment is available they may not know how to use or there is an understanding that the equipment is only available to the school community.

Native student. Our students know and are comfortable with technology.  We often call them Digital Natives!  Instead of welcoming the digital tools (smartphones and tablets) that are in their pockets and school bags, we discourage them from using and/or ban them from bringing into the classroom.

Embrace the changing role of the catechist.  Are we paying attention to the changing role of the classroom teacher?  If yes, we will learn from and adapt what we learn from their everyday journey in the classroom.  The role of the teacher today is different!  They are no longer the sage on the stage but a mentor, coach, and more.  As a catechist, am I a spiritual guide who knows how to engage young people in evangelizing with digital tools? After all, digital culture is our youths “modus operandi.”

Empower yourself.  Take time to learn more about the digital world of our students.  Digital Discipleship Boot Camp is an option for you to consider.  It is an opportunity to not only learn about but to get hands on experience with the variety of tools that are available to you to use today in a learning environment.  Learning the digital world is a bit like learning a foreign language.  It takes time and practice to become fluent.  The more you use digital tools, the more natural it begins to feel.

A little learning can go a long way.  When you jump in with both feet, this changing learning environment can be overwhelming for a catechist.  So, what’s the secret to success? Go “inch by inch and eventually you can go yard by yard.” Instead of trying to do more than you can truly handle, find one or two things that will work for you and your students.  Later, you can expand your base of knowledge.

Every catechist is capable.  In working with adults in the Digital Discipleship Boot Camp, when I see comments like –

  • I consider myself a novice at most communications technology. I’m willing and excited to learn whatever I can.
  • I would like to know how to keep up with all the new technology that seems to keep developing every day.

I am delighted, as it is possible to learn something about this ever evolving digital culture, language, and gain new skills.

WHY IS THIS IMPORTANT?  We are challenged today to be innovators in classroom methodology.     How we teach and share the faith will change.  We simply need to adapt to the world as it changes around us – best “inch by inch.”  Becoming a Digital Disciple is important today!

I Believe in the Value of Connectedness

I recently discovered Tom Spiglanin’s article “I Believe in the Value of Connectedness” where he characterized the connectedness of the business organization.  In his opening paragraph, he said:

While every organization in the world is unique, most have characteristics in common. Each has its own culture that derives from its mission, vision, values, and the people who work there. Every employee has his or her own roles, responsibilities and work style, but he or she seldom works in isolation, even if working individually. All employees are ultimately connected to one another through a common purpose to succeed and fulfill the mission of the organization. This is the nature of healthy organizations.

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21st Century Connectedness

As I read Tom’s post, I reflected on the value of connectedness in today’s faith formation world.  Yes, we are a network of learning networks in our neighborhood, city, state, country and around the world.  Once upon a time, learners sat in a one-room school or engaged in learning in a traditional classroom.  Today’s learning environment is now a mesh of traditional and eLearning opportunities. A year ago, I shared the 21st Century Faith Formation: Are We Ready graphic with those who were attending the 2014 Interactive Connections Conference.  As I look at this graphic, I wonder – How do we as formation staff, utilize this ever evolving digital world in our learning ministries? Are we ready for this ever evolving digital environment?

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A time of exploration and formation

Just as NASA sends rockets out to explore the universe around us, it is time for each of us to launch eLearning opportunities in our own parishes and diocese.  As we launch new initiatives, some will be successful and others will allow us to see that we still have a journey to pursue.

It is a world where we will be immersed in an ever evolving culture, language, and skills.  Many times, after giving a presentation, I’ve had participants come to me and say something like – An excellent presentation, but I did not understand many of the terms that you mentioned.

After hearing similar comments from other workshop attendees, I began Digital Discipleship Boot Camp.  Now, after three years of boot camp training, there are over 250 participants who have been immersed in the digital culture, language, and skills of this evolving Digital World.

What have DDBC participants accomplished? 

Come and visit the DDBC Capstone Projects Page.  Here you will discover that those who have immersed themselves in the Digital Culture, Language, and Skills are today’s Explorers.  They apply what they have learned to their ministry world and created a variety of ways to connect others in parish faith formation.

Read on to see what others have done!  You will see that those who participate in Digital Discipleship Boot Camp do become Digital Disciples.  If you are interested in learning more about DDBC, come and visit the DDBC website. You are invited to share in DDBC Connectedness!  Come join us!

Thank you for reading this post.  You are invited to share how you are connecting others in your parish through digital tools.  We would love to hear from you!

 

Merry Christmas and a Blessed New Year!

Dear wonderful friends,
I want to thank each of you for your wonderful and creative approach to the ever evolving Digital World.  Our ministry is one of communicating the Word!  In today’s digital world we are called to learn more about the Digital Culture, Speak a New Language, and Learn New Skills so that – “Technological innovation as an expression of God-given creativity frames social communication within the divine plan and invites humankind into is as coparticipants through our generativity.”   (Daniella Zsupan-Jerome)

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A few things to watch out for in 2015:

  • ACyberPilgrim articles will resume in 2015, so watch this space.
  • Insights from the Florida Educational Technology Conference will be shared in early February.
  • Watch for news about the 2015 Digital Discipleship Boot Camp training. Now ALL online and our DDBC team has updated the Module assignments and added a new module –  Websites for Ministry

Have a wonderful Christmas break.. I look forward to seeing you in 2015.

Christmas wishes,

Sr. Caroline

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