Digital Discipleship: Transforming Ministry Through Technology

Posts tagged ‘FETC’

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.

newsweek-3

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, America.org 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can learn anything I want about my faith anytime and anywhere – you must wait until you read the textbook which may be outdated.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?

Interactive Connections 2012 Reflections

By:  Guest Blogger – Rhonda Carrier

Rhonda Carrier

The following are some notes from the Interactive Connections Conference and from the Florida Educational Technology Conference. I have not had a chance to visit all of the websites but thought I would pass on those that were highly recommended.

The Interactive Connections conference organized by Sister Caroline was a wonderful gathering of Catholics learning about the use of and implementation of technology to develop and expand our Catholic faith communities.  Many of those attending the Interactive conference stayed to attend FETC but we gathered together each evening as a Catholic group for fellowship and to compare notes and ideas from the day.

Bishop Noonan’s Welcome on Sister Caroline Cerveny’s Cyberpilgrim’s Blog

Fr. Larry Rice’s Keynote and summary of the crises facing the Catholic Church: On the Catholic Couponer’s Blog. Although many of the comments on the blog focus on the use of technology during mass, Fr. Rice’s message included using technology to extend our Catholic communities.  He suggested that we put the bulletin online rather than printing so it can be accessed at any time; allow online discussions so there is two-way communication and not just a one-way push of information; use online databases to gather information; allow online donations and contributions without the need of a signed piece of paper; translate publications into appropriate languages and make them available online; etc. He recommended that we read the book from Gutenberg to Zuckerberg

You may wish to review the Media Timeline that Fr. Larry shared with us Monday evening

FETC

Keynote: Michael Wesh, Anthropologist, spoke about the need to move students past being knowledgeable to being knowledge-able which means we need to help them develop their knowledge-ability. We must find ways to inspire them and to bring them to wonder. He said, “A great teacher can bring life into anything. A great teacher can bring wonder into anything. A question inspires wonder and inspires ideas. A question is: a Quest for mastery, Embraces our vulnerability, Invites connections”

  • Wonder flourishes where there in inspiration and where they feel safe. 
  • Quest for mastery requires freedoms to learn
  • Vulnerability requires Freedom to fail
  • Connections require Freedom to love

Empathy is lower than in the past. We see birth and death and life intimately and daily because we live in a “capsular civilization ” with TV, phone, computer.  We are numbing ourselves, which also numbs ourselves to joy. But there is a solution, the media are not just tools, they’re a means of communication. They mediate how we relate. (This brought me back to Fr. Rice’s message to use technology to communicate and to build communities.)

View From Knowledgeable to Knowledge-able, an 18-minute video and a short version on TED, of the topic he presented at FETC.

Heidi Hayes Jacobs, President of Curriculum Designers, Inc, presented a keynote session and a breakout session. I attended a workshop of hers several years ago, so was delighted to have a chance to say “hello”. (I have used her curriculum map concepts to organize curriculum since then. The Curriculum by Design presentation that I did for ICS that referenced her work is available for viewing on Slideshare.)

At FETC she asked the following questions:

  • How can we prepare students for the future?
  • Who owns the learning? Do students?
  • 12% of the 21st century is over and students are time traveling. They have 21st century at home but 20th century at school. What year are we preparing student for?

We need to help students with the following:

  1. Social production – Example: Wikipedia
  2. Social networking – Example: Curriculum21.com
  3. Semantic web – At least once a teaching unit, it should be upgraded with a new resource. Have a faculty meeting that just allows teachers to experiment and share new technology. Examples: Tag Galaxy (Enter a word such as childhood, then click on a bubble to go deeper – Wordle.net (creates word clouds) – Zooburst (digital storytelling pop-up books) – Visual Thesaurus  
  4. Digital literacy – related to media literacy – related to global literacy. Examples: Check out Earth Pulse website on national geographic – Gap minder –  Museum Box to replace dioramas –
  5. Global literacy – Brazil has a huge growing economy and middle class. Also Russia and India and China. We don’t study geo enough, we must also study geo literature, geo politics, geo economics. Example: World Mapper (this one is a wow!) –

I was happy to finally meet Kathy Schrock, whose work I have followed and used for many years. Her website is the basis for a large portion of the research model that I use with our students. View Kathy Schrock’s Guide to Almost Everything.

A few other good website to check out are:

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!

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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