Digital Discipleship: Transforming Ministry Through Technology

Posts tagged ‘iPhone’

An iPhone Advent!


I was just reading 9 Outstanding iPhone Photography Projects to Try With Your Students. Dian Schaffhause has figured out how to use these wonderful mobile tools in the classroom. As you read the article, notice that she:

  • promotes learning in the classroom through photography and video projects,
  • has set up a small bring-your-own-device program, in which the students write up agreements that their parents have to sign in order to participate,
  • covers basic photography skills, and
  • provides a variety of experiences to learn.

I would encourage you to figure out how you can repurpose what Dian has shared to your religion classroom during this wonderful Advent season.

She has provided the basic steps. Now how do we apply to your class during Advent?

Here’s a suggestion:

  •  Make sure that you are comfortable in using your phone to take photographs. If not, ask your children, grandchildren, or one of your students how to do this.
  • Go to your church during Advent and look around to see what is unique to the Advent season. Take as many photographs as you would like.
  • Invite them also to take photos at home that represent Advent. Perhaps as a family they make an Advent wreath that they use during the season, or they have an Advent calendar, or ?????
  •  Once you have photos, then –

o If using a computer, go to Animoto and open a FREE account, or
o If using an iPhone or an iPad, go to the iTunes store to download the FREE Animoto app.

  • If you do not know how to use this program, go to the Catechesis 2.0 overview at Animoto.
  • Prepare a short script using the photos that you just took.
  • Create your video
  • Then share your videos with one another. There are various ways you can do this: add your links to an email message and send to your students, they can look at the videos when they get home or any other creative way you can share these videos with one another via Twitter, Facebook, the parish webpage, or ?????

I would invite you to return to this blog to share a few of the Advent videos that were created by your students.

Blessings this Advent season!

Stations of the Cross and Virtual Journeys

If you have ever been in Jerusalem, you have probably experienced praying the Stations of the Cross winding your way through tight and narrow streets.  I experienced this prayer journey in May during a pilgrimage to the Holy Land.  The memory of the noise, people staring at us as they passed buy, and taking a turn at carrying the cross will not be forgotten.  This is the journey that the Lord once took as he was condemned to die for us.

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So, in a digital world, how can we pray the Stations of the Cross in a meaningful way? Saint Mary’s Press is providing a wonderful way to do this with their – Virtual Meditations: Stations of the Cross.

A young person today, using QR Codes, can:

  • Actively engage in prayer by using their cell phones, iPods, or iPads
  • Use videos to inspire their prayer
  • Use technology to help them understand and reflect on the Stations of the Cross

I just prayed the stations using my iPhone, what an incredible experience.  Sitting quietly in my living room, I was able to view the virtual stations that were created by Busted Halo.  In addition, a series of suggested videos were generated showing a title and a link became available. Imagine easily having access to a variety of clips related to the Stations of the Cross at your fingertips.

A Parish Youth Group Experience

While visiting Queen of Peace Catholic Community’s Pathfinders Youth Group, I experienced a parish comfortably using technology in prayer with their youth.  Amy Barber, Middle School Youth Minister often uses technology in her sessions.  I came to see for myself how she was doing this.  I was pleasantly surprised to see that she easily adapted what could be an individual prayer experience into a group prayer experience.  How? This parish has the vision of integrating technology into its worship space.

As you view the following slideshow, you will see how these students moved from station to station, first viewing the video and then praying together.  Later I had the opportunity to ask these students what this experience was like for them.  I heard comments like: “The video helps this prayer come alive for me.” “We’re media people, I love this prayer.” “I’ve done this prayer before and we used cards to read from, it was boring.” “I learned a lot today from the videos.”

What I learned from this experience of praying with this youth group, is that media makes sense to them.  It grabs their attention.  The visuals help them understand the story of the Passion and Death of Jesus and also relate it to today’s suffering world.

I witnessed these youth understanding and appreciating a traditional prayer experience offered with a contemporary method.  Of course, as Holy Week approaches, they were encouraged to return to church with their family and friends with their mobile devices, with a QR Reader installed.  I’d love to be a mouse in the corner of this church to see who returns to pray the Stations of the Cross using the Virtual Meditations.

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Of course, if you like this post, I’d love to hear from you.  Perhaps you have a comment or question.  Or, just click the “Like” button.

Photography: Caroline Cerveny (c) 2013

Advent Videos

How will you use videos during this Advent season?  I just checked the Digital Catechesis Video library and I discovered at least 10 Advent videos.  Here’s a sampling of three of the videos in the digital library:

Christ is Coming – This 5 minute advent meditation focuses on the coming of Christ into our world- not just as a child in a stable but as the bringer of justice and freedom.

Advent Conspiracy 2010 – This film uses popular Old Testament Scriptures juxtaposed with modern music and nativity silhouettes to help the audience to see Jesus in their hectic holiday lives.

Advent in Two Minutes – Check out Busted Halo’s two-minute video that describes why we celebrate Advent and wait to celebrate Christmas.

I love this wonderful digital age that we live in.  There are some wonderful resources that are FREE that we could use for our Advent Ministry.  How?  Here are three(3) suggestions:

  1. For the first week of Advent, and every week after that, add an Advent Video Link to your Facebook page/wall and add a reflective comment with a question.
  2. Engage in an Advent sharing with your friends. For example: If you “Tweet”, using 140 characters, tweet an Advent message related to the video and include the link.  Normally, Twitter will shorten the link.  If it does not, you can go to – to shorten your URL.  Here’s an example: Wondering why we celebrate Advent! (Link) Why do you do Advent?
  3. Using your iPad or iPhone with an LCD projector or TV connection, show one of the videos as a prayerful reflection before your class or adult meeting.  Remember to practice before your session to make sure that all is working.  Remember that you’ll need an audio connection.

For those who are not members of Digital Catechesis, you are invited to join (It’s FREE).  If you are a member, and you discover other Advent videos that you would recommend to us, please come and add them to our Digital Library.

If you like these suggestions, please click the “Like” button.  We’d also like to hear your suggestions for using Advent videos.  Do add your comments in the “comment” section of this blog.

Advent Blessings!

Copyright 2012 Caroline Cerveny, SSJ-TOSF


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


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