A Cyberpilgrim's List of Web 2.0 Tools for Ministry

Posts tagged ‘Web 2.0’

What’s Smore?

No!  We’re not scouts making s’mores – Graham crackers with melted marshmallows and chocolate over an open fire.  We could be educators, ministers, catechists or any minister creating interesting and exciting electronic flyers that grab and catch others attention.

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How?  Check out a great web tool called SMORE.

See how easy it is to use by viewing the Smore Video.  Scroll down to the middle of the page and click on the “A Cupcake Story Video.”

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How could you use this tool in your ministry?

Having a Family Dinner, check this out:

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Announcing a Night of Worship, here is a creative invite:

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If you just want to see what others are doing, come to the website and scan through the variety of creations.  Here’s one about the Follet Digital Reader:

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Jeff Herb has said the following about the tool – Smore will let you quickly, easily, and efficiently create flyers using an incredibly simple drag and drop and WYSIWYG (What you see is what you get) editor.  The site gives you some pre-defined templates to work from (which are totally customizable, just a starting point). 

More importantly – your flyers will look great on any device.  Also, if you want to print your flyer and distribute the old fashioned way – that option is also available to you.

Would love to hear from you how you are using this wonderful tool.  Come back to share the link of your wonderful creation. If you found this post to be of interest to you, click the “Like” button.

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Dropbox

It’s Independence Day in the USA and I can’t think of a better Web 2.0 tool to celebrate freedom than Dropbox! Freedom from multiple file versions! Freedom from thumb drives! Freedom from disorganization! Dropbox is an online storage and file sharing application that can help simplify your life is so many ways and give you the freedom to maximize your productivity on the computer, especially when sharing files with others.

This brief introductory video will explain the basics:

Start by creating a Dropbox (cloud-based) account at  www.dropbox.com. It’s free and you receive 2 GB of storage just by joining. Be sure to also install the Dropbox Desktop Application. Any files you drag into the desktop application will be automatically synced with your cloud-based Dropbox account. If you install the app on any other device (iPad, your laptop, your iPhone, etc.), all your files will be accessible to you from any of those devices, too.

Once you have your folders and files in order in Dropbox, you can invite others to share the folders. For every person you invite and who installs Dropbox themselves, you will receive extra free storage.

If you work in committees, Dropbox allows all the committee members to share the same central document, spreadsheet or PowerPoint presentation without having to email the files back and forth. If you need to send large movie or photo files to others and want to bypass the hassle of being bounced back by the email server because the attachment is too big, Dropbox can help. Large files take a few minutes to load, but then are readily available to others who share the folder in which they reside.  Can’t find the minutes from the last church committee meeting? Put them in Dropbox and they will be there when you need them, accessible from any computer with Internet access.

Dropbox accepts nearly every type of file format and no formatting changes are made to your files when they are in Dropbox: a Word document remains a Word document; an Excel spreadsheet remains an Excel Spreadsheet.

Finally, Dropbox is not ad suported as many Web 2.0 tools are. They have such a great product, and the Dropbox creators hope people who find it useful will upgrade to a paid account. However, 2 GB of storage is plenty to play around with and give you a feel for whether Dropbox can solve your storage and collaboration needs before you need to make that decision.

Here’s what a teacher says about Dropbox:

“Our students are either in the computer lab or using the netbook cart. They very rarely are able to get the same computer twice, so having access to “cloud computing” on school computers help immensely. Many of my students have lost flash drives or have had them go bad due to wear and tear. Unfortunately, several students have lost research papers because of their device or operator error. Drop Box will allow them to open their work regardless of which computer they have been assigned to use. Also, if they forget or lose their flash drive (today’s equivalent to the dog ate my homework), they will still have access to their work and be able to turn it in.” (Jeannie J.) http://teachweb2.wikispaces.com/Dropbox

Whether you use Dropbox with students, parish committee members, or for your own personal use, it’s a great tool and one that every catechist and parish minister should have in their personal technology toolbox! If you use Dropbox, tell us how you find it helpful by adding a comment to this blog post.

Geocaching

Tool: Geocaching

Geocaching is a world-wide treasure-hunting game played by five million people. If you are looking for a way to extend your catechetical curriculum outside of the classroom, this may be the tool for you. Players create a free online account and then participate in hiding, seeking and discovering one another’s caches using GPS enabled devices. Many smart phones now have GPS capability, or you can buy a hand-held GPS device for your students to share. A cache can be as simple as a notebook and pencil in a plastic bag or as complex as a fishing tackle box filled with “swag,” or collectable trading items. There are even “virtual caches” that are not physical objects, but a set of coordinates that lead to a place of interest.

There are a number of apps available for geocachers, all designed to make this family-friendly hobby more portable on whatever mobile device you prefer: iPhone or Android.

Education Idea: Geocaching utilizes collaboration and problem solving skills and can be applied to almost any curriculum area. Use it in conjuntion with a geography lesson. First, teach about latitude and longitude. Then take your students into the field with a GPS device to find a hidden cache. Use it as an extension of your social studies curriculum. Choose areas of the world in which significant events are happening. Engage students in setting up a virtual cache for these locations. Students will have to compose descriptions of that part of the world as part of the data entered when the cache is created.

Ministry Idea: Wondering how you can adapt geocaching for youth ministry or your catechetical classroom? Look at this example of a geocaching adventure lesson plan, visiting pilgrimage sites in the Diocese of St. Petersburg. Our faith is connected to real people and real places all over the world. Use geocaching to help your students discover these connections can enliven their faith in a way that speaks a language they understand – the language of technology! Geocaching is definitely an “outside the box” Web 2.0 tool, but one that has the potential to engage students and families in hands-on discovery and catechesis.

Animoto

Tool: Animoto

What is Animoto?  A wonderful Web 2.0 tool that assists you in producing a video from selected photos, video clips and music.  Educators can open a free Animoto Plus account which allows unlimited use of the website.

You can create a variety of videos.  Here are a few examples:

Animoto is a very easy tool to use.  Three simple steps.  Here is a short tutorial to learn how to use Animoto (no background music):

If you believe that you can now create a stunning video for your class, program announcement, or any other project – click the “Like” button.  Once you create a video or engage your students in creating a video, come back and tell us about it.  We’d love to hear from you.