Digital Discipleship: Transforming Ministry Through Technology

Posts tagged ‘Microsoft PowerPoint’

I Only Have ONE Computer for my Class!

The other day, I listened to a parish DRE share her story of receiving several “good” used computers from parishioners who recently bought newer equipment.  What does it mean to get a “good” computer.  Simply – It works when it is turned on.

To get some idea of what you want a good computer to be, you may want to read how others purchase used equipment.  These two articles may be helpful:

Buying a Second Hand PC

10-Step Guide to Buying a Used Laptop That Works

Once you have equipment to use, what can you do in a classroom with ONE-Computer?  Plenty!  I was recently reading Grace’s Post How to Manage a One-Computer Classroom and would like to adapt her tips to fit the religion classroom:

Tip #1: Having an agreement for using the computer in the classroom is important.  Check out several of the Acceptable Use Policies and then prepare a statement for your class or program.  Here are a few models to review:

Internet Acceptable Use Policy Template

Sample Letter To Parents

Other models can be located by doing an Internet Search.

Tip#2: Place the computer in an accessible and easily supervised place.  Easy access to assist students is important as well as seeing what is being done on the computer is important.

Tip #3: Have a faith project for the student to work on.  Some examples of projects are:

Word Clouds and Prayer

A Scripture Digital Storytelling Prayer Experience

Thinking Creatively – A Lenten Challenge

Using VoiceThread for Advent Prayer

Tip #4:  Check out the videos other catechists are using in their classrooms in the Digital Catechesis Video Library (A Free Registration).  Project the computer screen so the entire class can see a video you may want to use for prayer at the beginning or end of class.  Or you may simply want to engage your students with vivid images, sound, or music that has a wonderful message and fits into your lesson objectives through a short video.

Tip #5: Use an auto response system.  A great way catechists can engage students is to include lessons designed for group participation.  With an auto response system, students can further contribute from their seats.  Mouse Mischief, a FREE response system that uses multiple wireless mice, allows teachers to integrate surveys, polls, questions, and drawing activity slides into PowerPoint.  (Grace)

Tip #6:  Give some thought and planning to what can we done with ONE computer in your classroom.  Do a Google Search using “one computer classroom,” “one computer classroom ideas,” or “one computer classroom activities”  will provide a wealth of resources to explore, like – One Computer Classroom.

If you have found yourself saying, “We’ll never have a computer in the classroom – it’s just beyond our budget.”  Now challenge yourself with, “If we had just ONE computer in our classroom, what could we possibly do to engage our students to learn more about their faith by using technology as a supportive part of our teaching?

I would love to hear your stories of how you are engaging your students with just ONE computer in your classroom.  You are invited to share your stories here!

If you like this post, please remember to click the “Like” button!

©2012, Caroline Cerveny

Using VoiceThread for Advent Prayer

What is VoiceThread?

In the VoiceThread Workshop handout, it is described —

A VoiceThread is an online media album that can hold essentially any type of media (images, documents and videos) and allows people to make comments in 5 different ways – using voice (with a microphone or telephone), text, audio file, or video (with a webcam) – and share them with anyone they wish. A VoiceThread allows group conversations to be collected and shared in one place, from anywhere in the world.

One of the best examples I’ve seen is Weather: Art and Poetry by students in Mrs. Mattson’s 3rd Grade class.

Now imagine how you could use this tool for Advent Prayer.

I would encourage you to do the following:

  1. Explain the season of Advent to your students.
  2. Break the class into 4 groups.  Group 1 students will work on prayers for the first week of Advent, Group 2 the second week in Advent, etc.
  3. Guide them in creating an Advent Prayer for their assigned week.
  4. If you do not have computers in the classroom you can —
  • Invite students to write and create their Advent prayer on an 8 1/2 x 11″ sheet of paper. Later, you can scan  this image to use in the class Voice Thread.
  • Or, assign the students to work on their prayer at home on their computers, tablets or any other digital tools that can be used to create a JPEG file.  You could use a variety of tools: MS Paint, MS PowerPoint – saving in a JPEG format, or Google Docs – Presentations, or any other tool that allows the student to create a text and graphic file that can be easily saved in a JPEG format.

If you have access to computers during your session, you can create the Advent Prayer during your class.

  1. Where students have an electronic file, guide them how you want to receive this file – via a thumb disk, email you, add to a Dropbox sharing file or any other way that you can easily receive the file from a student.
  2. Once you have the electronic files, you can add these images in the order of Week 1 through Week 4 on the VoiceThread tool.  (Remember you will need to sign-up for an account).  Here is also an opportunity to invite a high school student to work with you on the project.  You can briefly introduce them to VoiceThread and this blog article to become acquainted with the project.
  3. Once you have the Advent VoiceThread set-up, you can add it to your website, class blog, write a short article for your parish bulletin and invite members of your parish and families of your students to come to the Advent VoiceThread to add their comments and/or Advent prayer.

When you have your class Advent VoiceThread online, do come back here to share with us what your class did.  We all would love to hear about this project with your students.

Visit the VoiceThread website to learn more about this wonderful tool.

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Copyright ©2011 Caroline Cerveny

Word Clouds and Prayer

At the 2011 Catechetical Ministry Day for the Diocese of St. Augustine, I was invited to do a workshop titled “Praying with Technology.”  I must admit that as I began to develop the workshop, I was not sure what I would include in the presentation.

The insight I gained is that tools have always been used in prayer.  Tools like parchment to record our Sacred Scriptures with the psalms and words of Jesus as he prayed and more.  The printing press allowed us to create a variety of prayer resources.  We often use a pen or a pencil to record the prayers that we want to share with others.

In today’s digital culture, we now have different tools to use.  To name a few: laptop or desktop computers, iPads and tablets, iPods and MP3 Players, a Blog, a Wiki and more Web 2.0 tools than you may be aware of.

In this post I want to focus on Word Clouds.  There are several web   services that allow you to create a word cloud.  My three favorites are:

Let’s just take the words of the Our Father and create a word cloud with them.

Our Father Wordle Cloud

Our Father Wordle Cloud

ABCYD Word Cloud

ABCYD Our Father Word Cloud

Tagxedo Our Father Word Cloud

Tagxedo Our Father Word Cloud

You ask – So how could I use a “Word Cloud” with my students?  Following are a couple of suggestions.   I encourage you to reflect on how you might use a “Word Cloud” with your class, RCIA members, youth groups, and any group you are involved with catechetical ministry.


  1. Create a word cloud with one of the word cloud tools.  These services usually allow you to embed the code into your blog, or forward a link to others via e-mail, or you just may want to save the graphic image of this word cloud to use in a PPT presentation.  You’ll notice in the graphics I’ve included that there are key words that stand out.   Perhaps the students could guess what prayer this word cloud represents.  Add the Our Father word cloud in a PowerPoint guided prayer at the point where you would say the Our Father.  When they see the prayer cloud, they would – in this case – say the Our Father together.
  2. Invite your students to go home and create a Word Cloud using the week’s assigned prayer that they are learning this week.  Then direct them to come to the Class Wiki.  They can “embed” the code of this graphic on their page and in 50 to 100 words, they can respond to the following:  When you pray (Name of Prayer), if you had the opportunity to rewrite this prayer in your own words, what would you say to God? Or, any other assigned task.
  3. Create a Wordle for 10 Different Prayers.  Then add these graphics to a PowerPoint.  As a brief quiz to see who is able to identify the prayer they represent, using a response system like Quizdom (or just plain cell phones and Poll EveryWhere invite the students to identify the prayers that the word clouds represent.

As you become comfortable with “word clouds”, and use this type of activity with your class, remember to come back to this blog post to share your story.  Your story is important!

Remember to click the LIKE button!

Copyright ©2011 Caroline Cerveny

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