Digital Discipleship: Transforming Ministry Through Technology

Posts tagged ‘IPad’

What can you do with ONE iPad? ONE iPhone? Any mobile tool?

The other day I gave an iPad 102 workshop to a high school faculty!  Why? Because  next year ALL Saint Petersburg Catholic High School students will be receiving iPads to use for learning.  Incredible!

Well most religious education classrooms will NOT have this opportunity, unless your students will be bringing their own devices – that’s BYOD! And as more and more students receive these items as gifts or save their monies to use towards purchasing mobile tools like an iPad, tablet, smartphone and more, I wondered… – How will our catechists be ready to use these tools with their students? Will they invite their students to use these tools to share FAITH?

I was reading through my email recently and discovered this wonderful article The Positive Side of Social Media  by Lori Hadorn-Disselkamp.  I love the line – I truly believe if the apostles of Christ had access to Face Book, Tweeter, Emailing and Texting they would have utilized it so that they could have reached all corners of the globe to proclaim the Good News of Christ.

I agree, and today we need to become “Digital Disciples!”  If you have an iPad, iPhone, any tablet, any SmartPhone – these are mobile tools – start now!  How?  Here are 5 suggestions:

  1. Most mobile devices have a camera.  When a liturgical religious season is around the corner (e.g., Advent, Christmas, Lent or Easter), for an assignment, encourage your students to look around the church for images that they would like to photograph to represent this liturgical season.  When they return to the next class, invite them to talk about the images they have photographed.  Why does this image represent this liturgical season?  What does this liturgical season mean to them?  Then in a prayerful attitude, invite them to send this image with a text to a parent, grandparent, including an inspirational message to their family or friends about the season.
  2. Create a church “Treasure Hunt” where groups are competing to find objects and information. Members of the group can be in different places working on finding objects and information and they will talk to one-another via instant-messaging.  The individuals in the group update each other on their progress using mobile phones.
  3. During Lent, on your iPad or iPhone download the Stations of the Cross app.  If you are using an iPad you can project the graphics and prayer on a screen using an LCD projector. If you only have a TV in your classroom, you will find out how to how to connect an iPad, iPhone, or iPod Touch to your TV here. You may wish to lead your students in class prayer using several of the stations at the beginning or end of the class.  Invite students who have either an iPhone or an iPad to download the Stations of the Cross app to use throughout Lent for a meditation.
  4. Go to Digital Catechesis – Videos (Membership is FREE) and locate a video meditation. Plan to show it for prayer projecting it via an LCD Projector.  Remember to have audio speakers for the sound.
  5. Want to create a fun quiz for your group that provides instant feedback? Use Google Forms.  Put students in small groups and send the link to them via email or text the link to their smartphone.  You may wish to make it a contest to see which group finishes first and who has the most correct answers.  If you install the script Flubaroo, your quiz will be instantly graded.  Or, you may want to subscribe to Quia Web where you can create quizzes that will provide instant feedback if answered incorrectly.

I encourage you to be creative in sharing the faith with young people using mobile tools.  I’ve learned that when you are able to lead them using the tools that they love to use to learn their faith, they enjoy coming to your class!

If you are willing to TRY a mobile tool in your classroom, click on the “like” button.  Would love to hear how you are using these mobile tools with your students.  Come and share your story!

Caroline Cerveny, SSJ-TOSF (c) 2012


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

Engage Parents Through a Blog Site

One of my favorite training websites is hosted by SimpleK12Team!  Just recently they highlighted how a blog could be used to engage parents.

Does this sound familiar?  “Are you tired of the ‘bottomless backpack’ and the mysterious, vanishing handouts? You hand students papers to give to their parents, and they’re never seen again.”

Their suggestion – set up a class blog!

Find out how to engage parents through a blog here:

Of course, there are many ways you can use a blog in your religion classroom.  For example, parents love to see their child’s work that they do in your class.  With a blog, you have a great medium to display and show off students work for all their parents to see.  If you’re projects are created using traditional methods (e.g., paper and crayons), here’s where you can involve the youth group to help scan and prepare the class work so that it can be in a digital format.

Most children in the home environment, use a computer or a tablet (iPad, etc).  There are apps like Animoto (free), Drawing Pad, Screen Chomp and others that students can use to create a project.  When they have completed their task, they can email the link (or embed code) to you.  You can then add this information to the class special project page.  This assignment can be described on your blog and parents can direct their child to work on this project.

Would love to hear from you how YOU are using a blog to communicate with your parents!  I invite you to share your story here!

I have two examples to share with you.  One represents a music teacher –  The other represents another elementary educator in a regular classroom –  As you review these examples, note how each teacher provides brief and helpful information to their parents.

Remember to click the “Like” button, if you learned something today!

Trouble viewing on YouTube? Try viewing on Vimeo 

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

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