Poll Question: How Often Do You Use Technology?

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While the young people we teach are “digital natives” (They were born and raised on the “digital continent.”), many of us catechists can be considered “digital immigrants” (Technology is like a second language for us.). With that in mind, I thought it would be interesting to take a quick poll to see where catechists are when it comes to using technology in faith formation. More importantly, I look forward to reading your comments about your experiences (good, bad, beautiful, and ugly) incorporating technology into your faith formation sessions! Leave your comments in the “Leave a Reply” box below, and be sure to check back here for results to our poll.

About Joe Paprocki 2748 Articles
Joe Paprocki, DMin, is National Consultant for Faith Formation at Loyola Press, where, in addition to his traveling/speaking responsibilities, he works on the development team for faith formation curriculum resources including Finding God: Our Response to God’s Gifts and God’s Gift: Reconciliation and Eucharist. Joe has more than 35 years of experience in ministry and has presented keynotes, presentations, and workshops in more than 100 dioceses in North America. Joe is a frequent presenter at national conferences including the Los Angeles Religious Education Congress, the Mid-Atlantic Congress, and the National Conference for Catechetical Leadership. He is the author of numerous books, including the best seller The Catechist’s Toolbox, A Church on the Move, Under the Influence of Jesus, and Called to Be Catholic—a bilingual, foundational supplemental program that helps young people know their faith and grow in their relationship with God. Joe is also the series editor for the Effective Catechetical Leader and blogs about his experiences in faith formation at www.catechistsjourney.com.

18 Comments on Poll Question: How Often Do You Use Technology?

  1. Hi Joe,
    I use a white board with a lap top every class. I like to have my Faith Formation lesson planned using a powerpoint with links to YouTube for video’s, Wheel of Names for reviews, etc. It helps keep me on track teaching third graders ! If I run into a technical/equipment problem…believe it or not…my little ones usually help me correct it ! There are so many possibilities with the technology available today. I’d love for each student to have an iPad to use the textbook resources etc., but, it is cost prohibitive.

    • Thanks for sharing your experience, Marilyn. I’m sure your use of a whiteboard and laptop helps to engage your young learners very effectively. It is an unfortunate reality that it is cost prohibitive for each student to have an iPad.

  2. This is a challenging question. What constitutes “using technology?” Is playing music over a sound system using technology? A PowerPoint presentation with a projector or a connected TV or screen? A YouTube video similarly displayed? Online polling or a game involving cell phones (like Kahoot, for example) would be using technology, sure, but even just getting handouts from a website is an application of technology. I have used all of these with students ranging from
    elementary school to adult learners. Importantly, though, I fear questions like this – which call out “technology” without defining it – perpetuate the labeling and discomfort of “digital immigrants” rather than helping catechists see how we’re already using elements of technology.

    • Thanks for sharing David. The simple answer to all of your questions is, YES, so I’m not sure what you find so challenging about the poll. Most folks understand technology in education as the use of an electronic device (such as the ones you name) to aid the accessing or transmission of information. While I applaud you for using all of the examples you name, many volunteer catechists have not used any of the examples you mention and use nothing beyond a textbook and a chalkboard. In fact, the poll reveals that 50% of responders “rarely” or “occasionally” use technology in their learning space. “Digital immigrant” is not a derogatory term unless one considers the term “immigrant” somehow derogatory. An immigrant is simply someone who has “migrated” to a new environment. We use the term “digital continent” to refer to our present reality: a reality that not everyone was born into or is familiar/comfortable with. And I invite you to explore how, for years on this blog, I have been constantly drawing people’s attention to elements of technology that can and do assist us in faith formation: just do a search on this blog of the words “technology” and “digital” to see dozens of examples. This poll is not a “calling out” of technology, but simply a survey to gauge where catechists are at. Thanks for participating.

      • Thanks for your thoughtful reply, Joe. My discomfort is that I think many catechists do already use technology, in some form, without thinking of it as technology. My challenge (maybe more of a hope?) was to provide examples where they would see themselves! I fear that without a definition, some people who consider themselves less “savvy” would actually downplay the presence of technology in their classrooms. As an example, we built a name-that-hymn game that leveraged online music that I don’t thing most people involved considered a use of technology.

        My parish uses and values your materials! Please keep up the excellent work!

        • Thanks David! I hear what you’re saying. Obviously, if we were conducting a scholarly study for the purpose of publishing findings, it would require a specific definition. Our polls here at Catechist’s Journey are by nature unscientific and designed simply to “read the room” and stimulate thought and conversation. You keep up the excellent work as well!

  3. I find it is such a fine line. On one hand we want to speak the language of our students but then on the other we are called to engage and form the whole person which technology isn’t able to do effectively. Things like in personal conversation, empathy and relationship are key tools to sharing the faith which touches must grow in our hearts as well as minds. They were tools Jesus himself used. Unfortunately digital media often (though admittedly not always) stands in the way of building these skills. There is a value to learning somethings by heart and not just looking them up on google.

    • Thanks Maura and well-said. It is a balancing act for sure. I’m sure you would agree that our hearts can be touched by movies, songs, stories, and art that are delivered to us through technology…most of us have shed a tear in a movie theater! That is not to say that technology can or should replace the human “touch” needed for faith formation, but it does remind us that technology, when utilized effectively, can indeed help us touch hearts.

  4. I use the SmartBoards in every lesson. I use google slide decks of the content of the lesson (scripture stories, vocabulary) with embeded videos and images. I am very committed to multisensory learning and this helps. I originally learned how to make google slides out of necessity in 2020 when we had online faith formation. Since we have been given permission to use the SmartBoards in the parish classrooms and it has been a game changer. E.g., I can tell the story about a Saint, but also use the board to show pictures of the saint and a short video of their life. Also, the boards have helped me with using music in my lessons–the kids love the Christine in Action songs (multisensory, we sing and do motions with the songs). For review, I use online game platforms and the kids beg to ‘play a game’. I have folders full of laminated games that I no longer use much. Last week we began “Listening” chapter from God’s Gift Eucharist. I used slides with an image to highlight which part of the Mass, a series of slides from freebibleimages that illustrated the story of the sower and the different kinds of soil, a short wordless video of the scripture story and finally slides with an image of each part of the liturgy of the Eucharist, captioned with a 1 line description with the key vocabulary highlighted. Using technology has expanded the tools I have in my toolbox.

    • Thanks for sharing your impressive experience of utilizing technology in your faith formation, Cynthia! Your “toolbox” is indeed growing by leaps and bounds!

  5. I mostly use my iPad to tap into video lessons for my second graders. I also use Loyola press for scripture and other possible resources. My kids love the unit assessments which I call jeopardy but think it is called Fishers of Faith. I would love to do more. We just got new TVs which I am using as well.

    • Thanks for sharing Peg! Looks like you are successfully navigating the waters of the “digital sea” we find ourselves sailing in!

  6. I do use a Smart TV that has videos and some of the textbooks have online games…. we have to go where they are in order to catch them. I still do some hands on things to make them use their noodles some!

    • Thanks Laura! You are indeed “catching them” where they are at and effectively connecting with them. For sure, every technique we use should make them “use their noodles!” 😉

  7. i use technology each and every time – to REACH my readers, i must use the ‘puter to relate the things i want to relate… i really have a short attention span…

    BUT, i resort to the printed word for MY studies, attention span is NOT in my favour, and has NO business in my studies… it is meant to be overcome, not pandered to…

    • Thanks, granny dulaney, for sharing. It is laudable that you use technology to meet the needs of your students even though it is not a medium you rely on for your own needs.

  8. I use technology quite a bit to prep for class but once I am in the room with the children (6th grade), we are pretty much hands off technology. In my experience, the children need some down time from the screens, to purely be present to whom and what God has placed on their path. Each week we engage in many classroom discussions on next Sunday’s Gospel, our Saint of the Week and family stories of prayer, traditions and devotions. But by far what the children remind me to do each week, if somehow I have forgotten, is to have their names placed in our blessing bowl so that each of them can pull out a name and pray for that person that week.

    • Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts and experience, Bernie. Like you, many catechists use technology to prep for class, and find that to be a big help. I totally respect what you say about children needing some down time from screens. That is indeed true. At the same time, let’s not overlook the power that technology has to touch our hearts. As I mentioned in another comment, if you’ve ever shed a tear in a movie theater (or even watching a good story on TV), you know what I’m talking about. A video about the Saint of the Week or a song or video related to the next Sunday’s Gospel can go a long way toward powerfully proclaiming the Good News. BTW, I love your blessing bowl idea and the fact that the children never let you forget it!

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