Digital Discipleship: Transforming Ministry Through Technology

Posts tagged ‘Information technology’

What is FETC?

FETC-2015

This week I will be in Orlando attending the FETC Conference.  What is FETC?  Well, FETC is the acronym for the Florida Educational Technology Conference.  So why attend FETC?

There are three reasons why I attend:

  1. Outstanding Programming: 200 sessions and 80+ workshops focus on the latest resources and techniques-wikis, blogs, social networking, virtual learning, podcasting along with other hot topics.
  2. Learn from the Experts: K-12 Education technology leaders help you explore current and emerging technologies—and show you how you can apply them to your school challenges.
  3. The FETC 2015 Exhibit Hall and ed-tech marketplace, where you can meet face-to-face with the vendors carrying the technologies you need to know about!

In today’s digital environment, I need to keep developing my Digital Mind.  When I attend our regular conferences – NCCL, NPCD, NFCYM, and others – there are always wonderful technology workshops offered.

However, when I attend an educational technology conference, I am immersed (almost baptized!) in a digital world.  When I first attended an Ed Tech conference in Chicago, back in 1983, I froze at the very entrance of the Exhibit Hall.  I remember being frightened because I knew next to nothing about any type of technology.

Today, I am immersed in a digital world that covers three major areas:

  • Information Technology or IT– IT refers to anything related to computing technology, such as networking, hardware, software, the Internet, or the people that work with these technologies. Many companies now have IT departments for managing the computers, networks, and other technical areas of their businesses. IT jobs include computer programming, network administration, computer engineering, Web development, technical support, and many other related occupations. Since we live in the “information age,” information technology has become a part of our everyday lives.
  • Communications Technology – Refers to any communication device or application (e.g., Social Media – Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, etc.), encompassing: radio, television, cellular phones, computer and network hardware and software, satellite systems and so on, as well as the various services and applications associated with them, such as videoconferencing and distance learning.
  • Educational Technology or sometimes called Instructional Technology – The study and ethical practice of facilitating learning and improving performance by creating, using, and managing appropriate technological processes and resources. Read more here.

I’ve learned that I do not need to master all three areas.  However, I need to understand how these three areas fit into my world.  If I need my computer fixed or networked, I know I need to connect with an IT professional.  In Communications Technology – there are more areas than I need to know – so I pick and choose (e.g., Social Media, Radio, TV, etc.).

However, it is the Educational Technology World where I spend my time.  I have earned an MA in Educational Technology, which has helped me to engage in today’s rapidly changing, wired world.  Today, to become a better catechist requires a hands-on understanding of current technologies and the strategy and skills to integrate them into the learning experience and ministry training. How we teach and form others in their faith in a Digital World is different than when I began teaching or being involved in the parish world.

So, I go to FETC to stretch my mind to learn new methodologies, tools, and processes that include e-learning and more.  I’ve attended this conference on a regular basis since 2003! And if you look at the list of who is invited to attend –

  • Superintendents
  • Principals and Vice Principals
  • Technology-using Educators
  • District-level Leaders
  • Curriculum Designers
  • Media Specialists
  • Technology Directors/Technologists
  • Instructional Support Staff
  • Non-instructional Support Staff

Yes, it is geared for the school educator.  However, I go to learn what is happening in our schools.  These are the folks who come to our parish programs. And I ask – Can we “Walk their Walk and Talk Their Talk” when it comes to integrating technology into our ministries?

I plan to share more with you from the conference.  So, come back to learn what I’ve discovered.  If you have questions you would like to explore, please ask them in the Comments section of this post.  I look forward to hearing from you.

 

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.

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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

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