Designed to support Catholic religious educators in understanding how best to incorporate technology in religious education, Andrea Chavez-Kopp presented a 3-part Masterclass to explain the Church’s point of view on technology and help form students as digital disciples. With traditional catechetical programming suspended in Catholic schools and parishes, its a great time to dive deeper into what successful technology integration looks like in religious education!
If you missed the live Masterclass, it’s not too late to participate. You can now access the ON DEMAND Ministering to Catholic Kids in a Digital World Masterclass. Register and start Class 1 today!
With traditional catechetical programming suspended in Catholic schools and parishes, its a great time to dive deeper into what successful technology integration looks like in religious education!
Educational technology enthusiasts often point to the Triple E Framework as a means of assessing the quality of technology integration into a lesson or classroom environment. For those unfamiliar with this assessment tool, you can read more about it here.
The Triple E Framework is a way for you to assess if the integration of technology in a lesson meets 3 criteria. It must:
1. Extend the lesson
2. Engage the student
3. Enhance learning
In order for the Triple E Framework to work in religious education, we must add a fourth "E" to the criteria. The additional "E" in what I call the Quadruple E Framework stands for Encounter. Technology integration in Catholic faith formation won't benefit anyone if it doesn't help educators encounter students and families and if it doesn't help young persons encounter the person of Jesus Christ.
The Quadruple E Framework is a way for religious education programs to assess if integration of technology in a lesson meets 4 criteria. It must:
|1. Extend the lesson||2. Engage the student||3. Enhance learning||4. Encounter students|
Let’s break down what each of those might look like...
Technology is a tool that allows us to break beyond traditional barriers of time and location. Using technology in a way that will engage a learner’s prior knowledge, connect it to something relevant in their lives and extend its application outside of the classroom is evidence of a rich learning experience. We should be looking at how we can keep students thinking and interacting with content between our meetings with them in religious education classes or meetings.
Simply put, engagement is getting and keeping the attention of students. We have the privilege of being religious educators, so we have some pretty compelling content to share. Engagement, in this context, is parceling and presenting that content is a way that is easy to understand, accessible, and interesting. When choosing to implement technology, you will want to think about what students will like, but also how user friendly it is. Having clear goals for the lesson and thinking ahead about how you will define success will help you choose the right tool.
Download a simple rubric that will help you evaluate different technology tools, like apps or software, for your religious education setting or classroom? This Technology Evaluation Tool Rubric helps leaders, directors, catechists and teachers assess and determine the best ones for their particular setting and students!
When using technology, we want to move beyond just substituting a traditional experience to digital one. Sometimes when it comes to technology, we can get caught up in the bells and whistles of what we can do without always stopping to consider if it is any better than what we are replacing it with. Taking into account the of instructional design, the goal is to use technology to redefine learning, rather than just substitute, augment or modify a lesson. This of course takes time and practice and we move along the spectrum as we experiment with technology integration.
Of course we want to find authentic ways to encounter our students and families through our religious education programs. One of the hardest things to measure in any ministry is if you have somehow helped the young person encounter the person of Jesus Christ. Knowing how omnipresent technology is in the hands and lives of young people, this is a great opportunity to be present to them in new and exciting ways. In addition, we need to think about how we are helping teach our young people to express and share their moments of encounter with us and their peers. Sometimes the most powerful tool you can provide is student choice. They may be better at making a video, curating pictures, recording an audio clip or curating a playlist to express how they feel or what they experienced rather than writing a paragraph or raising their hand and sharing. Anytime we ask our students to be curators or creators of content related to their faith, we are inviting the Holy Spirit into their learning as well as being open to knowing and understanding them in a new way.
Technology is not magic. Nothing will ever replace the beauty of human encounter. If we learn to utilize technology as a means to communicate about our faith, we not only transform religious education, we empower young people as leaders in the New Evangelization. We have much to learn from them, but they need our help along the way. In the same way that faith can be realized in expressed in the written word and the arts, it can be expressed using technology as a medium. Be not afraid! You will be impressed with what your students will do!
Learn more about meaningful technology integration in my on-demand Masterclass! You’ll discover how to harness the benefits of using technology in Catholic faith formation and take away resources to form digital disciples for the modern world.
Andrea D. Chavez-Kopp currently serves as the Director of Advancement and Business Development for the National Catholic Educational Association. Prior to joining the staff of NCEA in 2015, Andrea spent 15 years as a parish youth minister and Catholic school teacher. She is a thought leader and national expert in the area of using technology for catechesis. Besides being a techie herself, she has two teenage boys who love their devices. Andrea writes and speaks around the country on topics related to ministry, educational technology and professional development.