A Cyberpilgrim's List of Web 2.0 Tools for Ministry

Archive for May, 2012

Blogger

Tool: Blogger

Blogger is for blogging, which is an art form in and of itself, deserving of a full exploration beyond the scope of a Web 2.0 primer.

However, Blogger can also be used as a simple learning platform. Instead of posting the diary/journal type entries, called posts, that a blogger would post, you can post prayers, reflection question, stories, content, and announcements. You can also easily embed graphic images, including photos, and video. Finally, you can post from a computer, or from your email. Each post can be its own lesson, tutorial, retreat or demonstration.

Readers, or participants can engage in simple conversation using the comment box under each post. You can also give the special email address connected with a blog (or lesson, or book-read, or reflection, whatever you want to call it) to others who can help author the content.

We used Blogger at the 2012 NCCL Tech Boot Camp, and many people posted using the email account. However, when folks tried to create their own accounts, we ran into an odd difficulty. Apparently Blogger (owned by Google), saw a lot of account creations coming from one location. We are guessing they thought we were hackers, and shut down the projects. This will not happen when you create your account, and follow the tutorial at http://nccltechbootcamp.blogspot.com (Blogspot is another domain name owned by Blogger). Learn Blogger, and dream of how you can easily create an online environment for collaborative learning!

Here is a screen snapshot of the tutorial on using Blogger as a learning environment, hosted by Blogger itself!

If you believe that you can now create a Blogger with Blogger, and use it for online reflections, learning or teaching – click the “Like” button.  Once you create something to engage your learners or colleagues, come back and tell us about it.  We’d love to hear from you.

Aviary

Tool: Aviary for iPad and other iOS devices

Aviary WAS an online toolset for editing, enhancing and creating online.

However, they have moved away from the Flash based toolset and created a free app for the iPad, iPod and iPhone. It seems that they are working on a version for the Android OS as well.

You can add text, stickers and choose from many free effects, or purchase additional effect sets in app. Here is an example of a photo with text, a crown, a little brightness adjustment and an effect. Imagine what you can do with photos you snap of your learners’ drawings… and a little graphical talent.

Cross before Aviary for the iPad

This is the original photo of a Cross

Cross reworked with Aviary for the iPad

Reworked with Aviary for the iPad – notice the crown and the text

More information is available at Aviary.com, including a demo.

If you believe that you can now enhance or edit graphics and photos – click the “Like” button.  Once you create something to engage your students, come back and tell us about it.  We’d love to hear from you.

Mixbook

Tool: Mixbook

There are various forms of digital storytelling to consider.  One that I like is the Digital Photo Book.  Have a sacramental moment you want to remember.  Mixbook provides you with a digital storybook to record and share the story of a Baptism, Confirmation, or Marriage.  Consider other events that you may wish to consider – Parish Anniversary, your parish mission service trips, and other parish or family events.

At the time of confirmation, you may want to have your students create a class book that focuses on Saints of those who are being confirmed.

Here is a Mixbook Tutorial –

If you’re wondering what others say about Mixbook, check out What Are People Saying About Mixbook?

If you like the storybook idea, remember to click on the “like” button.  Other ideas for using a digital storybook in your parish or class can be shared now in the comments section or come back later to share your story of how you engaged your students, RCIA candidates, or others in sharing their story.

Flickr

Tool: Flickr

Flickr Banner

Flickr is a popular tool for photo sharing. It allows users to keep images private or share them with the world. How do you upload your photos? By using either your computer or your cell phone.

If you are doing a class project, you get a personal Flickr e-mail address, where you can send pictures directly from any cell phone. This is wonderful for educators because teachers or catechists may want students to contribute to the same resource, and students can send pictures from any cell phone to the same Flickr account.

If you are looking for photos to use for projects or presentations, there are many photo’s with a Creative Commons License. This makes it easy for you to use creative materials and respect copyrighted materials. find and use images for class projects or presentations.

Liz Kolbe in Toys to Tools, suggests creating Digital Image Storybooks.

With the assistance of Flickr, students can take pictures and tell a story with their cell phones. The story can be a documentary about a personal experience outside of school (such as learning something new, researching a content-based topic, or getting over a fear), or it could be a fictional story that they make up and illustrate with images from everyday life. Using their cell phones, students take pictures for their digital image stories and send them immediately to their private Flickr account. Once they have their pictures in Flickr, they create a slide show and write a description for each photo that tells the story. When finished, students can post the links to their digital image stories on the school Web site or send them in e-mails. Parents, teachers, and other students can them provide feedback on the digital image stories. (79)

Begin to imagine your students being storytellers about their sacramental events – e.g., Confirmation. Or telling the story of their brother or sister’s Baptism, or any other special faith event that is a good story!

To learn more about this tool, I would encourage you to visit the following:

You will also find A guide To Using FlickR in Education a very helpful wiki. Robyn Jay, and education program manager from Sydney, Australia offers some very helpful information.

These two resources will provide you with background to help you learn more about this Web 2.0 tool. If you believe that you will take time to learn how to use Flickr in your ministry, click the “Like” button. Of course, we want to hear your stories of how you are using Flickr in what you do! Come back and share later if you like.

Poll Daddy

Tool: Poll Daddy

What is PollDaddy? AppAppeal says –

PollDaddy is a service that provides polling and survey widgets for blogs, websites and social networking sites. Users can create simple polls and surveys, and the Polldaddy site will generate the widget code for them to post the poll or survey on their site. Users can create single answer, multiple choice or user answered polls using a convenient poll editor on the Polldaddy site. Read more .

This is a handy tool that is part of the WordPress blog service.  It can be used to create polls, surveys, and quizzes.

How can we use this tool in our catechetical programs?

  • Create a poll to see how members of your parish feel about adult formation?  Is it of value to them?  If yes, why?
  • Use a survey to understand what your adults are looking for in their parish adult formation opportunities.
  • Develop a quiz, to see what your adults understand or do not understand about a theological topic that is currently being discussed in your parish.

Polldaddy support and video tutorials are listed here.

Looking for information about Polldaddy using your iPad, check out this video –

If you are interested in distributing links to the survey by email as well as using QR codes, imbedded web links and of course, using the iPad, view

For those who Twitter, you may be interested in the Twitter version for Poll Daddy.  To learn more about how to use Poll Daddy for Twitter and how you can make cool interactive polls that are easily posted to Twitter, go to:

If you feel like you’re going to explore using Polldaddy, please cllick the “Like” Button.  Of course, when you have used it for a poll, survey, or quiz we would love to hear about your experience.  Please come back to share.

Vuvox

Tool: Vuvox

Tim Lanahan, CEO of Vuvox, tells us about this Web 2.0 tool in the following video:

Richard Byrne reviews Vuvox in his blog – Free Technology for Teachers.  Here is what he says:

Vuvox is a multifaceted multimedia collage and slideshow creation tool. There are so many great tools including in Vuvox that it is tough to choose a feature with to start this review. The basic idea of Vuvox is to allow anyone to create a multimedia panoramic collage. At its most basic level you can use Vuvox to stitch together your photographs into a panorama. Vuvox offers great tools that you can use to edit your images so that they match up perfectly. You can also use the Vuvox editing tools to crop out sections of an image for re-use later in your collage or for use in a separate collage. You can upload images from your computer to Vuvox or import images from your Flickr, SmugMug, or Picasa account.  More

In brief, VuVox lets you do a lot, without needing a lot of high-tech know-how. Students and teachers, catechists, and other faith formation staff can generate impressive multimedia collages and panoramas of their work with this tool.

Applications for Catechesis

  • If you have been on a pilgrimage to the Holy Land, Rome, or any other spiritual location, friends are eager to hear your story.  Your story comes more alive when you share your photographs.  However, if not done wisely, you may bore your audience.  Consider adding your photos to a Vuvox collage that scrolls behind you, providing visuals as you share the story of your visit.  The combination of your sharing, with the panoramic VuVox canvas, creates a memorable and engaging presentation.
  • Involve teams of students to learn about a Church in their city (the cathedral, their parish, a neighboring parish).  Invite them to visit the church and to learn more about the history of this church.  Engage them in doing a presentation about the Church using Vuvox.
  • Invite students to create a photo collage for family sacramental events – Baptism, First Communion, Confirmation, or Weddings.
  • Create a timeline – perhaps of the life of Jesus from Birth through his Resurrection, or a timeline of Popes from a certain historical period.

To learn more about creating a collage, view How To Make a Vuvox Collage:

If you are interested in trying and  using Vuvox, please click the “Like” Button.  Of course, when you have used it for a collage we would love to hear about your experience.  Please come back to share.

Compfight

Tool: Compfight

A picture is worth 1,000 words!  Yes, we’ve often heard this.  And with tools like Compfight, you can find images on Flickr that have been released under a creative commons license .  You can quickly locate images without having to gain explicit permission from the image owner.

The following video is a tutorial about the Compfight tool – How to Use!

Dave Foord, takes the harvesting of photo’s a step further. He talks about using another service called ImageStamper which then records which images are used and when, and most importantly what the license agreement was at the time (in case someone on Flickr changes their license agreement at a later date).

Applications for Ministry:

  • When involving students in creating any of their digital projects, here is a tool to help them find images that are under a creative commons license.  Here is an opportunity for you to mentor them in being copyright savvy!
  • Once you have images that you like, you can use them for your presentations, blogs, websites and more.

If you are looking for additional information about this tool, visit Amy’s blog for – Image Finding Tool: Compfight.

If you like the idea of easily locating creative commons images, click the “Like” button.