A Cyberpilgrim's List of Web 2.0 Tools for Ministry

Archive for September, 2012

TEDEd: Catechetical Possibilities

Recently TED video created TED-Ed videos.  I’d encourage you to watch the introductory video to learn more about this service.

Then go to the Ted-Ed Tour

TEDed Tour

In the Subject Category section you will find “Philosophy & Religion”.  Right now there is only ONE video here – Jackie Jenkins: Greeting the World in Peace.  Take a moment to (1) Watch the Video, then (2) Respond to the Quick Quiz, and explore the Think and Dig Deeper Sections.

When you click on “Get Involved“, you’ll notice that you can nominate yourself or nominate another.  TED-Ed will review the request and get back to you.  I’d love to see some of our wonderful and talented religious educators create short lessons like these either for our children, RCIA Candidates, or even around the theme of New Evangelization.

Think for a moment – What could you create for your audience that would excite and interest them to learn more about their faith?  What presence could we bring as Catholics to this wonderful Internet world?  TED-Ed is here to assist you!

Jackie Jenkins: Meeting the World in Peace

Getting involved is fairly easy.  Just click on Get Involved.  Here you can nominate yourself or another.  Or you can suggest a lesson that you feel would be helpful in the catechetical area.

If you’re thinking of something and wondering if others may be interested, you may start the conversation here.  We’d love to hear about what you are considering or would like to see presented on TEDEd.

Finding and Following on Twitter

The power of Twitter is two-fold:  the people and the information.  First, you can find and connect with others who share your interests, developing appropriate online relationships with peers.  By contributing and “listening,”  you can become part of a professional or ministry network.  Second, through your newsfeed or by searching for specific #hashtags, you can stay on top of news and trends in any particular interest or industry.  This is especially true for niche interests, like Catholic ministry or catechesis! 

So the best way for beginners to leverage their Twitter account is in their list of who they are “following.”  The most recent tweets of people you follow will show up in your news feed.  The more people you follow, and the better their content, the more useful Twitter will be for you.  How do you find such folks? (more…)

Twitter Chats

Most of us have heard of Twitter, the social networking site where users post updates (called tweets) in 140 characters or less.  Professionals love to use Twitter for networking, celebrities for self-promotion, and ministers for evangelizing!  With the use of a shortened url, a tweet becomes a launching pad to send people to an image, a website or a blog post… there really is no limit.  A Twitter chat can build up your ministry by encouraging community among members, helping you identify areas to focus on teaching, or even promoting special events.

But what IS a twitter chat?  This is simply a way to have a conversation online, on a specific topic, gathering many varied folks together over a similar time period (generally a specific hour or over the course of one day).  These chats can be regularly reoccuring ones, or once and done (for a special event).  Tweets are linked, as usual, by the #hashtag, but because people are online at the same time, it encourages more interaction.  The sponsor or leader of the chat generally starts things off with a specific question or set of questions to which people respond.  As the tweets start flowing, the conversation begins with users asking or commenting on each other’s tweets.  A good place to learn is to follow the Tuesday night chat for the Church Social Media – learn more here.

Warning:  twitter chats do not flow as regular face to face conversation does!  If you’re logged into Twitter and following the #hashtag your newsfeed, a number of tweets will pop up – some replying to each other, others asking or commenting to the group.  It takes a little practice to follow along… but once you get the hang of it, you’ll have a lot of fun.

Besides being fun, what good could a twitter chat be for your ministry?  Imagine inviting parents online once a week to ask a faith-sharing question:  “who is Jesus to your children? #catholicparent.”  It’s another avenue to begin talking with each other… and as a bonus, it could help you see what they really understand, or not.

Or perhaps following up an RCIA session with a conversation about the topic of the week:  “how do you experience Jesus as another human? as God?  #stceciliaRCIA.”  This gives your participants a chance to reflect on the Church teaching within their daily prayer… and may surface additional insights or questions.

Or church leaders could survey general parishioners after a specific event, such as an Advent Taize prayer service:  “which Taize song means a lot to you?  #sun5pm.”

The goal, of course, is using a twitter chat as another method of networking, all to build up the face to face ministry that happens at Mass and Church.  If you haven’t tried it yet, where do you see it being successful?  If you have, what’s your favorite way to follow chats?

Audioboo

Audioboo is a podcasting tool you can use with your smartphone or iPad. Currently, iPhone, iPad, Android and Nokia support Audioboo. If you have ever wished you could record and share a student’s voice, a message, a lesson, an interview or even your own thoughts and reflections, you will find that those dreams can come true with Audioboo!

The Audioboo web site is the place to start.

Click here to go to Audioboo

 http://audioboo.fm/

Audioboo couldn’t be simpler. First, download the app to your phone. Make a recording. You can also associate a digital image on your phone with the recording. You have sharing options at that point, but one way to access this music file is to email the audioboo to yourself. When you link to the boo from your email on your home computer, you will be taken to the file on the Audioboo web site on your browser. From there, you have several options. You can Tweet the link, Like it on Facebook, email the link or embed the boo on your website. You can even import the file as a podcast into your iTunes account. Once in iTunes, you can copy the mp3 to your computer and, since it is your original work, you can then attach it and share it with others.

Audioboo is a great way to use smart phones in education. Drawing on the creativity and energy of your students, have them design a short podcast that shares their knowldge on a given topic. Students can also use their built-in smart phone cameras to take photos to go with each boo podcast. Once the whole class has created their boos, upload them to your class web site for visiting parents or other students to hear.

Here’s an example from Catholic Elements, a podcasting ministry, that demonstrates how effective even a short podcast can be.

Our faith is full of the sounds of bells calling the faithful, sung and spoken prayers, and lovely sacred music. The spoken witness of a believer is one of the most powerful tools of evangelization. Perhaps you have a gifted speaker in your parish and want to create podcasts for parishioners to hear them teaching. Recently, two of our choir soloists sang Panis Angelicus at Mass. My iPhone captured the moment with the help of Audioboo! I was able to share the music on our parish Facebook page and email the link to the soloists, who were delighted. Have a listen:

Take the time to learn Audioboo, and the possiblities for using this podcasting tool in your catechetical ministry will quickly become evident! How have you tried Audioboo? Leave a comment so we can hear about it.