Digital Discipleship: Transforming Ministry Through Technology

Posts tagged ‘Education’

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

Understanding the Life of Jesus

I’m always looking for wonderful examples of what others are doing to integrate technology into the teaching of Religion. I’d like to share “Understanding the Life of Jesus: an INCARNATION CATHOLIC School Big6 Research Project created by Rhonda Carrier.

Here is the project —

I encourage you to explore the project.  For those in Catholic Schools, you’ll see how Rhonda has applied the Common Core standards to this project.  More importantly, you begin to see how our students can be engaged with digital tools to expand and research faith topics.

Rhonda, thank you!  Excellent project!  For those who would like to meet Rhonda, I encourage you to attend the 5th Annual INTERACTIVE CONNECTIONS Conference in Orlando, Florida.  Here you will have the opportunity to learn from Rhonda how she is integrating technology into the religion classroom.

For those who are catechists at the parish level, these are the kinds of projects you would like to learn about, as you can easily apply what you learn here with your children.

Digital Discipleship

Digital Disciples-2

I often wonder – after all the workshops, articles, mentoring that I’ve done over the years – how have I (and others) inspired catechists to be Digital Disciples? As I reflected on this question, I thought – INTERACTIVE CONNECTIONS has the means to draw folks together to share their stories and to interact with the audience who joins them to share their stories. We do not need to get on a plane, train, or automobile to travel anywhere. We can network and connect with one another, regardless of where we live, with digital tools.

In addition, since the founding of Digital Catechesis in 2011, we have grown to over 900+ members. Some members are very active and some are on the sidelines. It would be my hope that the family of Digital Disciples are growing within this group. And what it means to be a Digital Disciple will have a unique meaning for each person.

For some, they will be the parish webmaster, developing the parish website. For others, they will be catechists and teachers with children, adolescents, young adults, and adults who are stepping into the digital world utilizing the digital methodology that now surrounds us in our everyday lives.

As we adapt to this ever evolving digital world, we will be innovators, early adopters, early majority, late majority, and laggards! Even the medical field uses this language. In a recent article that I read about medical clinicians, I love the line “Groups of clinicians change slowly, even when a change is obviously the best course of action. The Technology Adoption Curve, models the time required to achieve group buy-in for a technology, whether it’s a stethoscope or an EMR.” We can say the same about catechists and others involved in ministry.

I am an innovator! I am infatuated with technology. I try things before training is available. I am habitually drawn to new technologies (and invite others to join me) to build on them and apply to faith formation in new ways. I trust that I am nurturing the early adapters so that they will step into this digital world and despite feeling any fear they may have, they will be creative and productive.
And my curiosity has inspired me to invite these early adapters to share their story. How? Through “Show ‘N Tell,” a webinar style of sharing our stories with one another in the hopes of creating a network of stories that demonstrate how new tools can be used to share our faith stories with one another.

I was delighted to have Joe Mazzeo email me with his request to share what he is doing with his pre-Confirmation students.

Joe Mazzeo

Joe Mazzeo

He is our first volunteer for a “Show ‘N Tell” webinar.

I first met Joe when I was facilitating the Digital Catechesis course offered through the University of Dayton’s Virtual Learning Community of Faith Formation.  When I asked him – When did you first realize that technology is a tool that could be used to enhance your teaching of the faith with your pre-Confirmation students?  He said, “When I noticed students becoming bored with the book/lecture/notes method.  My students were watching videos and listening to music while I was trying to teach.  I just wasn’t connecting.  I tried a video clip from Busted Halo and the discussion just bloomed.  Then I added some online questions and people did homework.”

Joe did a wonderful job in sharing his story.  You can view the slides from his presentation below.  As soon as the video is uploaded to Vimeo, I’ll add it to this page so that you can come and listen to what Joe has shared.

If anyone is interested in sharing their story, click on the button above.  I’ll get back to you as quickly as I am able.

In the meantime, if you feel that you are or are slowly becoming a Digital Disciple, click the “Like” button.

© 2013 Cerveny.

Catechesis 2.0

Are you ready to “Think Outside ‘da Box”? If yes, I want to tell you about a new website called Catechesis 2.0.  This site was launched on Thursday, May 10 during the National Conference of Catechetical Leadership (NCCL) post-conference workshop CaTECHesis with HOT TECH Tools.

54 workshop participants attended.  They were introduced to 20 (mostly free) Web 2.0 tools.  The website features these tools and the blogging team, beginning June 1, 2012, will continue to add new tools to the blog.

Often catechists, RCIA coordinators, youth ministers, school teachers , and others would like to use technology in their lessons.  All of you will now have a resource to come to for potential tools. What is exciting is that all of us can contribute in some way to share what we are doing with web tools in our ministries.

Often students may be directed to complete a project from their home computers and shared with the class, families, or the world! Or if there is wi-fi access, you may invite them to use their mobile tools.  Of course, if there is an available computer lab, you may complete a project in the lab. It is a time to develop wonderful Digital Disciples. Web 2.0 tools can provide you a way to be creative with those who are participating in your faith formation programs.

If you are finding helpful information here, click the “like” button.  We are looking forward to hearing your story.  Come back often to share your stories of how you are using these tools in your parish.

Do you know someone who would like to hear about this new website? You may wish to share this link with them: www.catechesis20.org

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!

BYOD – What is it? Can we do it?

Many of us in today’s church teaching environment, would love to engage our students in using the digital tools that they are comfortable with to learn their faith.  However, we are often challenged with bare-bone budgets to do the almost impossible.  And often “technology” is barely included in today’s tight budgets.

However, if it is true, that mobile tools are increasingly popular – see Importance of Using Mobile Tools article.  Then we need to explore the BYOD approach.  That is Bring Your Own Device to the learning environment.

Educators are dealing with this issue.  Read this handbook  to find out what educators are doing to implement a BYOD strategy on their campus.  To start the conversation, I’ve adapted the questions that are found on page 14:

  • Does BYOD fit my parish’s educational vision and goals?
  • How would it match up with our student population? What percentage are likely to have a device they can bring in?
  • What is the current state of our infrastructure? Do we have robust, secure WiFi that can serve the additional devises you will see with BYOD? Can you afford an upgrade?
  • Do you have policies in place that allow students to use devices at certain times of the day or in certain areas of the parish?
  • Do you have strong leadership to help sell the concept and guide its implementation?
  • How will you support your catechists or faculty as they adapt their pedagogy to best make use of a BYOD environment?
  • How can instruction be improved by adopting BYOD?

Once you have a vision, a strategy, and your infrastructure is in place.  You can read books and articles like . . .

Toys To Tools

100 Mobile Tools for Teachers

Teaching With the Tools Kids Really Use

Teaching Generation Text: Using Cell Phones

To learn more about how others are using these mobile tools in their teaching.  We can easily adapt the Best Practices to fit what we do in the Religion Classroom!

What issues do you feel  BYOD will create in your parish?

(c) 2012, Caroline Cerveny

Sharing our Wisdom

To all our wonderful catechists and Diocesan Staff who are tech savvy!  During this wonderful Advent season, I invite you to share your tech wisdom with one another.

Technology Wisdom

I’m sure you remember how intimidating it can be to integrate new tech tools into your catechetical ministry.

I’m inviting anyone who is doing something with technology in their ministry to share their wisdom with our faith-based audience (we’re over 500 catechetical tech mentors right now).

I’d like to create a booklet for catechists and DRE’s who need help incorporating technology into their catechetical ministry.  It’s your thoughts and ideas that are important today!  You are the trail blazers – exploring and trying out these new tools with your students.

As many of you are aware, the power of technology can transform learning sessions and change participants lives.  Your stories are the ones I would like to tell – real tips from real catechists.

If you would like your comments to be included in an online FREE booklet, please send your information to me via the Blog Contact form .  Or, simply add your comment to this blog post.  I’ll bring your thoughts and suggestions together in ONE PDF booklet to share with all of our readers.

Looking forward to hearing from you.

Remember to click the “Like” button.  This is a simple way to say “Thank you for your sharing!”

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