Digital Discipleship: Transforming Ministry Through Technology

Posts tagged ‘Online Communities’

Communicating With New Media Tools

Recently I was reading ” Leadership communication tools” by Nancy Caramanico.  I liked how she highlighted various tools for school educators.  Allow me to mirror her article and focus on Parish Catechetical Leader (PCL’s) Communication Tools.

I totally agree with Nancy when she says, “Communicating in today’s world requires both a new mindset and a new toolset. Like a maestro conducting a symphony, savvy leaders pay attention to the sound, the effect, and the instruments needed to strike just the right notes. ”

I would go further to advocate that as you move into this digital communications world, you will need to learn new skills, a new language and digital culture to be an effective church communicator.

As I look back at my beginnings, which go back to 1983, I realize that I have slowly learned new terminology, new skills, and have gradually immersed myself in a digital culture.  I encourage any pastoral  and catechetical leader today to take the needed steps so that you speak the language, engage in the culture, and learn the skills that you need to communicate effectively with your audiences.

So what do you need to be able to engage in today to communicate with others?

10 Tools for Pastoral Communication (Paraphrasing  Nancy’s 10 Tools):

  • Microblogging – Create an account on Twitter. Follow other catechetical and pastoral leaders.  Check out Brad West’s article Go Tweet It On The Mountain Top .Tweet out information about your parish.  Explore use of twitter for conferences or meetings for sharing ideas.
  • Blogging – Write frequent news updates for your parish blog. Follow other Catholics – see the Catholic Blog Directory. Who are the catechetical bloggers? Encourage and read comments. Use Google Blogger, Edublogs or create your own.
  • Podcasting – Create audio messages for playback on web and devices. Use tools such as Audioboo, Audacity
  • Electronic Surveys – Use Zoomerang or Survey Monkey for advanced functionality. Make quality surveys with Google Forms which is free
  • Email – Yes email. It is still a common tools used by many. Regular timely updates seek responses and give responses in a timely fashion. HTML newsletters can be pre-formatted with a consistent design to add appealing design.
  • Learning Management System – This may be the tool that will be a staple to our doing online learning with our students and adults in the near future.  Take time to learn more about Learning Management Systems.
  • Parish or Faith Formation Website – Consistently post updates that are both engaging and informational.  Ask yourself – what content are we sharing with our members online?
  • Facebook – Use Facebook to update parish community on latest faith formation news, photos and videos
  • Video – Use Youtube or other video sharing sites. Broadcast videos about parish events
  • Google alerts – Set up Google Alerts to stay on top of mentions of your parish and other topics of interests to the parish or faith formation community.

If you like this article, click on the “Like” button.  We would love to hear about your experience of using these leadership tools?  Come and Share!

Using Facebook During Advent

Many of us have Facebook accounts.  But the question is – How are we using them?  Most of us are using them in a wonderful casual way to stay connected to our family and friends.  That’s great!  That is one of the key reasons we have a Facebook account.

However, once you have a FB account, you can easily set-up a Group!  Yes, there are three types of Facebook Groups:

  • Public (Open): everyone can see the Group, find it in a search and make posts
  • Closed: everyone can see the Group, but only members can see (and make) posts
  • Secret: only members can see the Group, see and make posts

Any of the group styles will work!  It is your choice!  Let’s say you will use the “secret” group option.  To learn more about this type of group, read the Social Media Examiner Post about How to Use Secret Facebook Groups to Enhance Your Business  you’ll notice that a business group may utilize this type of function. As you read this post, allow your imagination to consider how a FB group could be used in your ministry setting with families this Advent season.

To begin the conversation, I’m going to suggest how I would engage families in a weekly reflection on the Sunday Advent Scripture readings using a FB Closed group.  I would:

  • Create a FB group and remember to describe your group and choose and image/photo that will represent the group. (Note – Let’s assume that our parish program registration forms asks for Cell Phone number, email address, FB information, and Twitter handle. )
Description of Faith Parents group.

Group Description

  • Two weeks before the First Week of Advent, using the family email addresses, I would send a “brief” email inviting the families of the children that are in my class to participate with all of us during the Advent Season by taking a few moments out of their busy schedules to read and reflect on the Sunday Scripture readings.  Tell them that there will be a link to the Sunday Readings for them each week.  When they are ready, they can share their comment or question on our special group FB wall. Or, send a flyer home to the parents via your students and include an announcement in your parish bulletin about the group.
  • One day after the email is sent, send a “tweet” and “text message” to invite your parents to read the  email message from you.
  • One Week Before Advent begins: Invite each family to the FB group.
  • Post the Sunday Scripture Readings for the 1st Sunday in Advent, using the link from the USCCB Readings website.
Advent FB Reading

Facebook Closed Group

To get the conversation going, you may have encouraged several of your parents to post their reflection early in the week.  Make sure you check the posts at least once daily and comment back.  Remember, this is a place for a simple online conversation and sharing about what these Scriptures mean to you.

  • At the end of the Advent Season, thank  your parents for their participation in the Advent Scripture sharing.  You may want to use a Zoomerang survey to get feedback about their experience with this online faith sharing activity.
  • I hope that this article has sparked a possibility or two in your imagination.  More importantly, I trust that you will share your story about how you are going to use (or thinking of using) a FB group in your ministry with families, or youth groups (13 and older), or RCIA ministry.  Looking forward to hearing from you!  Join in the conversation!

Remember to click on the “like” button if you like this post.  Or, forward this link to other catechists who would be interested in hosting an Advent online Scripture Reflection group with parents, young adults, and anyone who is interested in sharing online.

Copyright ©2011 Caroline Cerveny

Quizlet – a study service for your students!

Would you love to have a FREE study service for your students?  I would!  You can provide your students with a way to learn their basic facts with Quizlet.  Come and explore!

Quizlet

The best way is to start with a Quizlet tutorial

It is a tool that you can use in a variety of ways:

  • Teachers and catechists can develop a quiz for their students
  • Students can develop a quiz for an assignment that is then shared with the class.  Each week I would invite two or three students to create a quiz that is then shared with other class members.  Invite them to  work in teams.
  • You can use Quizlet websites created by others.

As I searched for Religion options on the Quizlet website, this is what I discovered:

Quizlet for Scripture Finalhttp://quizlet.com/997251/scripture-final-2010-flash-cards/

Quizlet - Apostles

 http://quizlet.com/1403900/the-12-apostles-flash-cards/

Quizlet for Church

http://quizlet.com/2192249/we-are-the-church-25-flash-cards

It is easy to SHARE your quizlet!  All you need to do is use the “share” section of the Quizlet website.

Quizlet Share

If your students are using any of the social media tools, you can forward directly to your class Facebook group page or share via Twitter.  Or embed on the class blog or email to your students.  Choose what is best for your class.

If you “LIKE” this post, remember to click on the LIKE button.  Know someone who would benefit from this post, click on the SHARE button and forward to them.

Copyright ©2011 Caroline Cerveny

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