Digital Discipleship: Transforming Ministry Through Technology

Posts tagged ‘E-book’

Learning Faith in a Digital Age

Have you ever stopped to think about what will be different in catechesis as we become more and more a Digital Culture?

Yes  – reading materials will become more digital.  The recent NEWSWEEK announcement – that they will be ALL DIGITAL beginning January 14, 2013 – is just the tip of the iceberg.  As we ponder what this means for catechesis, lets use our imagination.  I encourage you to add to the conversation with your own insights and options.


To begin, let’s get ready for the future.  You are the catechist and I will be a Digital Native.  So the Digital Native will use a laptop, tablet or smartphone and the catechist will use paper and pencil.  Let’s describe what can happen in this ever evolving world.  Are you ready?

  • I will immediately Google up-to-date information about my church – you have a textbook that is 5 years old.
  • I will immediately know when I have answered a digital quiz correctly – you have to wait until it’s graded.
  • I will use technology in every aspect of my everyday faith life – following the readings of the day, receiving the Pope’s tweets, following the Vatican YouTube Channel, NCR Online, and more – you will wait a week or two to hear about what’s happening in a published church paper that is losing readership daily.
  • I will create digital posters with photos, images, text and videos – you will still be creating posters with crayons and ink or maybe with butcher paper with check points.
  • I will create prayers, articles and more in a digital format and share these with the world – you will only share yours with the class.
  • I will have 24/7 access to information about my faith through online articles, eBooks or websites like Sacred Space – your information is discovered primarily in books that you have to go to the book store to purchase or when you purchase online you wait for several days for the book to arrive.
  • I will access the most dynamic information with video, sound and more – yours will be printed and photocopied.
  • I will collaborate with my peers from around the world and learn from them what is important about their faith – you will collaborate only with your students in your classroom.
  • I can learn anything I want about my faith anytime and anywhere – you must wait until you read the textbook which may be outdated.
  • I will need to learn how to choose the best information about my Catholic faith tradition as anyone can publish anything at anytime whether it be correct teaching or not – you have had content that is always approved by our bishops via the “imprimatur” and “nihil obstat“.
  • I live in a time where we can learn the best and the worst about my Catholic faith from people of all ages via a variety of electronic means – you will primarily learn your faith from written materials that can be biased or unbiased – depending on the theological perspectives you are exposed to.
  • I will – with my class – interact with our Church leaders (Local Bishop, Parish Pastor, and others) via SKYPE, Facetime, GoToMeeting and other collaborative tools – you will call and make an appointment to meet these same leaders in a Face-to-Face meeting that is scheduled weeks in advance.

I often wonder how our methodology will change in the teaching of our faith to one another.  I see the importance of both face-to-face experiences and the integration of varied technologies in the teaching of our faith to others.  For now – we are Pioneers in a Digital Landscape that changes rapidly around us.

This is why it is important to gather with other pioneers – to learn from one another, to swap success stories (and even to talk about what did not work).  One of the best places to gather is at the annual Interactive Connections Conference that co-locates with the Florida Educational Technology Conference (FETC).  It is at IC 2013 that we can learn best practices from educators who have been involved in educational technology for over 35 years!

If you’re coming to Orlando – great!  Looking forward to meeting and sharing with you.  If not, I would encourage you to make room in your busy calendar and come.  We need all the pioneers possible to join in this wonderful and challenging endeavor of Sharing the Faith with our ever savvy digital students.

Note:  The list that describes what can happen in this ever evolving world is an adaptation of a list  that was anonymously shared by a student who posted on the Abilene, Kansas High School Dialogue Buzz website during the spring of 2003.

Of course, if you like this post, click on the “Like” button.  If you have a comment, I look forward to your participation in the conversation – How do you see our methodology changing as we become more and more a Digital Culture?

Have You Heard of Google+ ?

Will G+ be a better option than FB? Who knows right now!

If you’ve noticed news about Google+, it is just around the corner from being launched!  What is Google+? A means for social networking with your friends and colleagues!  Is it different from Facebook?  Of course!  So, it is probably worth checking out.

Rich Jennings, ComputerWorld blogger, is able to send you invites to join the Plus Project Circle.  Check out his article ” Get a Google+ invite here: join Plus project circle.”

Brad West, a nearby blogger who lives in Palm Coast, FL, recently caught my eye with his published eBook titled “The Connected Church” which is available through Barnes and Noble (Nooks and Nook apps) as well as Amazon (Kindle and Kindle apps).  I’ve been following his blog since I read his book.  His July 15, 2011 post “What is Google+ And Can It Benefit Catholic Parishes”  offers ways a Catholic parish could use this tool.

To learn more about this NEW tool, check out these Google+ videos:

Of course, if you like this article, click the “Like” button, share this post with a friend, or add a comment to engage in the conversation.  Questions are welcomed!

Copyright ©2011 Caroline Cerveny

E-books: Are They Around the Corner?

I just want to share this video with you about E-books!

I love my Kindle!  It’s great to take a number of books with me on the road – one light weight piece of equipment with 20 or more books on it. Even better, when I research a specific term or topic in a book I am able to find all references in 10 seconds or less. It sure beats thumbing through pages to find what I’m looking for.

As I watched this TED video, I wondered, wow what would a Religion Textbook look like?  Would it be as exciting or as interesting as this prototype? What’s your take on the E-book?  Are you ready for it?  Are our students ready for it?  What will a Religion E-book look like?  What do you imagine?

Would love to hear from you! Come and share your thoughts!

Copyright ©2011 Caroline Cerveny

I live in Florida!

Yes, I live in Florida!  So, when you’re freezing in the North I am walking outdoors in jeans and a sweatshirt in sunshine! But that is not why Florida is important at this time.

On Thursday, February 17, 2011 I was reading the St. Petersburg Times.  Right on the front page was the article – Florida looks at taking school textbooks completely digital by 2015.

Florida Texts

Florida Looking To eBooks!

As I read through the article, here are the points that became significant for me:

  • There’s a move to go all-digital in Florida classrooms.
  • State education officials rolled out a five-year proposal this week that calls for all students in K-12 to use only “electronic materials” delivered by Kindles, iPads and other similar technology by 2015.
  • “This project reinvents the way students learn and will revolutionize instruction in Florida,” says the plan presented to the state Board of Education Tuesday.
  • “Digital is here. We can choose to ignore it, or we can choose to embrace it,” said David Simmons, chairman of the Senate Pre-K-12 Appropriations Subcommittee.
  • …in the proposal, all Florida districts would begin phasing in digital-only content, first for high school students and then for all others in reading, math, science, history and language arts.
  • “It is not something you do without planning.”

I’ve been reflecting on this article for several days.  Here are some of the thoughts and questions that are flowing through my mind:

  • What will happen to our parish religious education students when they participate in parish programs and are asked to purchase a traditional style textbook when many of their other texts are available to them via iPads, Kindles, Nooks, and any other electronic reading tool?  Will they begin to think that their faith is antiquated?
  • Where are our religion publishers?  Are they moving into pilot programs with Catholic Schools to explore what will work with today’s Digital Natives?
  • Where are our parishes?  Are they beginning to explore what it will take to engage all involved in catechetical ministry with the e-tools that are moving into our students lives at all levels, put perhaps not in the religious arena?
  • Where are our catechetical leaders (at all levels), are we learning all that we are able so that we can communicate our faith to our Digital Natives with the tools that are at their fingertips?
  • Are we beginning to consider, how tools that are purchased for students with federal funds might be used in the parish arena? Do we need to advocate for this use?
  • Do we know how to budget and plan for these tools at the parish level?
  • Do we train our catechetical personnel how to use e-tools in the overall faith learning process?
  • Is it time to begin looking at the parish being the broker for Technology Planning and Training, where the School, Religious Education, Youth Ministry, Young Adult, RCIA, Sacramental, and any other parish ministries are part of the planning and development of a Parish Technology Plan?
  • Is it time for each Diocese to become a major leader of technology throughout the Diocese at all levels – Administrative Tools, Learning Tools, Online Learning Resources, Educational Technology, and more so that all parishes will  become 21st Century Parishes at the levels that are needed in today’s ever expanding technology environment?

Are these questions of value to us as catechetical leaders?  Or, are there other questions to ask?  I’m wondering how you feel about the issue of catechetical eBooks?  I invite you to contribute to the online conversation with your questions or comments.

Next Week:  What About These Google Tools?  What creative ideas do we have for using in Catechetical Ministry?

Copyright ©2011 Caroline Cerveny

75th Anniversary of NCCL

Over the past few months I’ve been part of the National Conference of Catechetical Leadership (NCCL) Annual Conference & Expo Planning Committee.  What an exciting conference this will be as we are – Celebrating Our Past, Shaping the Future.  75 Years of Fidelity to the Word!

I did not plan to be part of this committee.  I just happened to meet Anthony Marchica, Committee Chair, at the last conference that was held in New Orleans.  When he heard how I was involved with shaping and forming an evolving ministry that is focusing on faith-based educational technology, Anthony extended the invitation to join the committee.  I agreed!

If you are not excited about this conference, you should be!  It is awesome considering that NCCL has been contributing to the gift of catechesis in this country over the past 75 years.  Begin to reflect on what has happened in the field of catechesis over this time period.  I invite you to share the stories that you have experienced in catechesis from 1936 until today.

What is of most importance is that we are all in the midst of a changing culture – often referred to as a Digital Culture.  Some of us are comfortable with what is happening around us, others are not!  Regardless, the culture around us is becoming more digital with each day.

Yes, we are in the midst of change!  In the next 10 years – how we catechize will change?  How? When I pull out my crystal ball I see the following – Many of us will be teaching courses online – with children and adults, Parents because of their busy lives will ask to have meetings via virtual tools like GoToMeeting, Students in their schools will be using eBooks in all of their subjects.  Religion will be racing to catch up!  More importantly, it is the changing mindset – that digital tools, digital projects, and more – will be important to our students and to catechetical ministers.  The school world is very comfortable with educational technology.  The catechetical world will need to study the Best Practices achieved over 35 years of growth and development in this educational technology field   .  What this means is that we will need to figure out how to blend the face-to-face (F2F) with the digital world that is emerging into our ministry.

As the NCCL Conference Committee stated in the 2011 Conference Brochure “Being ‘Tech savvy’ in today’s world requires a new skill set.”  When you come to this year’s conference, you will have an opportunity to learn new skills through the pre-conference session “Our Covenant Story: A How To and How Not To Form Digital Natives to be Digital Disciples.”  In addition, there are several conference Learning Sessions to enhance your “Tech savvy”:

  • Viral Marketing of Your Parish Programs
  • Digital Age Catechist Formation
  • Collaboration With New Media Tools
  • Social Media Communication – Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and You Tube
  • Read, Aim, Shoot
  • The Symbolic Way Revisited

Check out the brochure on the NCCL website for additional information.

NCCL members, you may want to come one day early to attend Dr. Mary Hess’s Sunday morning presentation on learning media literacy skills through the creation of media.  For those who are interested in attending the NACMP Conference, which is held before the NCCL conference, more info at

I hope to see you in Atlanta for the 75th Anniversary of a wonderful catechetical organization.  It is time for us to celebrate all that we bring to this ministry!

In this time of celebration, I invite you to share a story or two – about how the evolution of technology has enhanced what you do in parish catechetics?  Think about it!  We’ve used various tools and technologies over the years- drawing in the sand, stained glass windows, crucifixes, statues, posters, photos, filmstrips, 16 mm film, videos, DVDs, and now YouTube videos, and more!  At this time of remembering, I invite you to share how you may have integrated the various mediums into your catechetical ministry.  Are you using a blog?  Are you creating digital stories? What have you been doing?  And what are you beginning to dream about doing with digital tools?

Looking forward to hearing from you!

NCCL 2011 Video Credits


Caroline Cerveny, SSJ-TOSF

Elizabeth Thoman CHM – Healing Petals Photography


David J. Carr – 2010 Digital Trends – Ideas and Technologies



Winds of Change – Jap Jap (Animoto)

Pope: Church Needs Creativity to Reach Digital Age

Copyright ©2011 Caroline Cerveny

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