I mentioned in my post the other day that I used my laptop and LCD projector to invite my 6th graders to come forward and arrange images in chronological order to tell the Exodus/Passover story and that they did this for the parents who were visiting for Open House.
One of the parents attending had her 3rd grade son with her and he was transfixed by the images on the screen. As we were nearing the end of the activity, and there were only 2 images left on screen to place in the right order, I asked for another volunteer to come forward to select the next image. The 3rd grader leapt out of his chair, waving his hand, asking if he could do the next one! I invited him forward and he went to work, using the mouse to drag the correct image to the correct box!
This experience served as a good example of the lure of technology. I doubt that this young fellow would have been so eager to volunteer to read from a book, however, the opportunity to manipulate an image on a screen was something he was unable to resist. The medium, indeed, has much to do with the message!
[photo by Chris Smith via Compfight]
Marshall McLuhan, whatcha doin’! Joe, using current technology in catechesis is not just a “lure.” It is a validation to all of our “cyber natives” out there. And the “Medium is the massage” also. It sometimes can get beneath the words and into the experience. And we aim to go beyond information to the level of transformation, as Rev. Mark Link, S.J. taught us so many years ago.
Hi Joe –
I’m a 3rd grade lead catechist at St. Peter parish in Geneva, IL. I’m curious about the Open House. We desperately need to integrate an Open House into our activities to get parents more involved. Can you share with me what types of activities you offer during the Open House?
I’m working very hard to create an Intro to Being a Catechist training program for our parish. What kinds of things do you do for your volunteers to keep them coming back year after year?
So blessed by all your books.
Hi Tanya. Just a reminder that I am a catechist not the Director of the RE program where I teach. I was a DRE in a former life! The Open House is held typically in January and the parents are invited to the last 30 minutes of the 75 minute classes. Catechists are encouraged to do creative activities that will show the parents how their children are being engaged. Refreshments are served afterwards. It’s not really any more than that but there is usually a good show of parents especially for grades 1-6.
When I was a DRE, I devoted lots of attention to my catechists, making sure that they were supported and equipped to do what they were called to do. I offered lots of formation for them and I met with them individually at the beginning and end of every year in addition to catechist meetings throughout the year. In my experience, the more attention you pay to forming catechists, the higher the percentage of return. Make sure that these opportunities are presented, not as requirements to live up to or as hoops to jump through but as ways of giving them what they need to excel in their vocation.
Keep up the good work!