Digital Discipleship: Transforming Ministry Through Technology

Posts tagged ‘Educational technology’

IC 2012 Learning Sessions

IC 2012 is a wonderful opportunity to network and meet with those who are leading the way of bringing faith-based educational technology (which is integrating social media and more) into your catechetical sessions.

For those who would like a glimpse of the workshop learning sessions come and visit:

Zingers! 7 Free Resources to Catch Your Students Attention  with Co-presenters Anita Brady and Laura Salaka.

Digital Storytelling and Marketing Techniques by Rhonda Carrier.

Tim Welch’s workshop Technology in Catechesis: What’s Going On? included a number of web tools to harvest videos from the Internet, resources to create your own content, and video samples to stir your learners’ digital storytelling imaginations. Additionally, his email address is listed for continued collaboration. You can find them, and more, by visiting Surf to Notes for Workshops. You will find the links Tim used in his presentation on his Social Bookmark website.

Come visit the workshop presentations by Joe Luedtke, Mobile Technologies in Your Ministry and Church and What Makes a Great Church Website.  You may also want to visit his blog article about Mobile Technologies.

 21st Century Catechists: Sharing the Faith in a Digital World with Caroline Cerveny, SSJ-TOSF 

Putting the Tech into CaTECHesis with Andrea Slaven and Cheryl Smith.  This blog was used more like a powerpoint.  It is not completely scripted.  We showed a quick example of how to create each of the items during the session and showed examples of how each can be incorporated in lessons. “How to videos” will be included eventually.

Activate your staff and ministry leaders to become enthusiastic about contributing to the parish website throughout the year for the sake of evangelization outreach as well as building up parishioner involvement in parish activities and volunteerism.  Come and visit – Parish Websites: Tools of Evangelization by Terry Modica.

Thank you to all presenters for your excellent presentations! 

We will be in Orlando next week!

The third annual Interactive Connections Conference takes place Monday (evening), January 23 thru Thursday, January 26, 2012 at the Doubletree Orlando at Seaworld. The theme “Incarnating the Gospel in the Digital World” will bring together leading Catholic educators from around the world to explore the evolving role of technology in their ministries.  Responding to Pope Benedict’s call to use new technologies in the cause of evangelization, the participants will get firsthand experience of best practices and how to incorporate them into their ministry. Attendees at the conference will network with others in integrating technology into parishes and/or schools and every facet of catechetical ministry in the 21st century.

 Keynote speaker Fr. Lawrence Rice, C.S.P,  previous Director of Catholic Campus Ministry at Ohio State University and an Associate at Paulist Media Works and Paulist Communications, will focus on Preparing for the Post-computer Church. Currently he is a member of the Paulist Congregation team, as first Consultor. Learning sessions will include topics such as: Lead by the Technology at the Service of Catechesis, Mobile Technologies in Your Ministry and Church, Parish Websites: Tools of Evangelization, and other cutting edge outstanding programming.  Attendance will afford you the opportunity to interact with passionate practitioners who are ground-breakers in e-technology integration into all areas of catechetical ministry.

A new feature is Speed Dating Learning Sessions!  Here is an opportunity to meet practioners who are applying what they are learning to their parish ministries.  You will learn about – Serving Busy Catechists through Web tools for Catechist Certification, Evangelizing Through Geocaching, Parent to Parent Podcasting, and more.

A featured highlight and unique offering of the 3-day Interactive Connections Conference will be spending one or two days – at no additional cost with the FETC (Florida Education Technology Conference) in Orlando, one of the largest, most successful K to12 conferences in the United States devoted to educational technology. This gives our conference even more access to  cutting edge technologies and social media across the curriculum while being exposed to the latest hardware, software, best practices in student technology use and the opportunity to visit some 300 technology vendors.

If you are coming, I look forward to welcoming you.  If you are not, join us on Twitter at hashtag: #IC2012.  All attendees are invited to share their stories, insights, and learning’s in this space!

Trends and Challenges: What Parish Technologists?

Tech Team

Recently, a friend asked me – Who do we need to help us move into the world of technology at the parish level?

As I continue to ponder the question, I am venturing to recommend that we need the following type of members on our parish staffs:

  • Information Technology Specialists: These are the folks who are often called the “techies.”  They are the ones who set-up our networks, Wi-Fi connections, upgrade and repair our computers, and more.
  • Educational Technology Specialists: Are educators who know how to integrate technology into the learning process.  The National Educational Technology Standards (NETS) are core to this process, guiding administrators, teachers, and students in 21st Century Learning.  They are mentors, trainers, and model how to use technology in faith-learning.
  • Communication Technology Specialists: Before the Digital World arrived, we talked about public relations, marketers, and journalists who were involved with creating newsletters, figuring out how to promote a product and a service, and wrote our daily newspaper stories.  This world is in a major flux as we now speak about NEW MEDIA, and talk about web masters, bloggers, mini-bloggers, marketing using Facebook tools, and more.

I will often read the want ads in the Sunday paper or search websites that focus on announcing available positions.  Over the last couple of years I’ve noticed that companies who are immersed in the ever evolving Digital World are announcing positions with new names and jobs that attract those who have new skills.  For example, today – if we look in the want ad sections – we’ll find a call for:

Positions that focus on Information and Communication Technology Specialists are emerging at the diocesan and parish levels.  However, positions that focus on educational technology tend to be found in the school staff listings.  The educational technologist is also needed in the catechetical and parish setting.

I’m probably one of the few catechetical ministers, primarily serving parish communities, who has a MA in Religious Studies as well as a MA in Educational Technology.  Since 1983, I have learned to “walk the walk and talk the talk” of the educational technology world.

The educational technology world is wide and vast!  I would especially encourage today’s catechetical ministers to consider how they can enhance their digital skills in a variety of areas.  Explore Full Sail University  and ask – Do we need to know how to create learning games so that our students can be engaged in learning about their faith in a global world by engaging in learning games that focus on Global Issues, Peace & Justice, and other faith themes?  Will we evangelize via our websites that are creatively designed?

Another online program is listed at Walden University, one of the oldest online schools in the country, is the Educational Specialist in Educational Technology Programs.  What can be learned here can be applied to most learning environments – even faith based learning environments.

How do you see yourself growing in using digital skills to serve the 21st Century Church? Would love to hear your story of how you are growing in these new skills!  What new positions are being created at the parish or diocesan levels to bring a better understanding of learning technologies and new media?

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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

Ed Tech Ministry: Is there a gap?

If I felt like a gap existed between myself and the 12-year old that I met back in 1983 in the Radio Shack store, imagine how many of us feel today when we compare ourselves with a Digital Native?  Regardless of the gap we feel, it is time to learn more about educational technology.  In many ways, even though we may feel like we’re running to catch up, we are at an advantage.  Educators all around us are savvy users of educational technology, and we can learn from them! We can learn from their “best practices” and adapt what works to our faith environment.

If you take time to Google “educational technology” you will find helpful background information.  Don’t expect to learn all that is possible overnight! Remember, this field of study emerged at the university level about thirty-five to fifty years ago.  Many of the degree programs in educational technology began being part of university programs in the late 70’s and early 80’s.  Today’s teacher training programs normally require one-course in educational technology.  I am not aware of any ministry training programs at the undergraduate or graduate levels with similar requirements. Perhaps, if we want ministers to be savvy users of technology, we will need to train them to use these tools!  We need to ask – What is 21st Century Education?

One of the first educational technology conferences began in Florida, known today as the Florida Educational Technology Conference (FETC).    Other educational technology conferences are: International Society for Technology and Education (ISTE), Computer Using Educators, Missouri S&T, and TIES 2010 Educational Technology Conference . There are many Ed Tech conferences across the world.  Yet, if you explore these programs, we would be hard pressed to find workshops or learning sessions that would interest a religion teacher, a catechist, a youth minister, a pastor, a PCL or DRE.  Yes, many of our national organizations have included Ed Tech type of workshops in their programs.  But the “energy” that is created at a conference that solely focuses on educational technology is not generated at these conferences.

A couple of videos that offer an overview are:

A Brief History of Technology in the Classroom

and Educational Technology History

These are helpful as they visually remind us that the classroom and teaching has changed!  However, most of us who volunteer our time, may not be aware of how this learning world has changed over time.  Nor have we been trained to merge new media into our teaching method.

As a result, our parish students come to us from 21st Century classrooms, and many of our environments are very limited in 21st Century tools!  I often present workshops at the local or national level.  Many of the participants tell me, that their students are bored!  However, I also hear from participants who are using 21st century tools, that their students are engaged and enjoy learning about their faith using contemporary methodology.

Today, we need to re-imagine how we do “technology” at the parish and diocesan levels!  A little over twenty years ago, many of our Catholic Schools got very involved in creating their technology plans.  This planning provided a means for purchasing equipment and a strategy for training administrators, teachers and students to use this equipment in their learning environments.  Today, our school people need to lead our parishes in Technology Planning for ALL parish ministries – school, catechetical, youth ministry, young adult, RCIA, and all existing parish ministries.  Today’s assumption – All ministers need today’s digital tools!

More importantly, we need to join together to attend conferences like FETC to network and to strategize how we can truly be 21st century catechetical leaders.  We need to “walk the walk and talk the talk” of a 21st Century faith leader who remains rooted not only in the values of our faith.  How we integrate 21st century tools into our ministries will make a difference with those we share our faith with. Only time will show this to be true!

The question becomes today – How will all ministries and ministers have access to and be trained to use the technologies that are currently evolving today?  Perhaps this week’s conversation – Share how your parish is moving into the 21st Century?  What are you doing that is bringing new energy and excitement to sharing the faith?

Note: If you are still curious, check out these two websites – National Office of Educational Technology and Teachers Use of Educational Technology in Public Schools (PDF).  We begin to see in these documents what is happening all around us.

So, let the conversation begin for this week!

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