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.
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