This post fits into the unique category, “Stuff that is pretty dark and I don’t know if I should even blog about it.” I found a tweet today about a Facebook app which people are using to connect with friends they want to have sex with. I’m not going to link directly to the app here or mention it by name, because I don’t want to amplify it by giving it whatever meager Google SEO points this blog can give. I first debated with myself whether to share this link at all, and secondly whether to share it on my main educational technology blog or not. I decided to just share it here on Eyes Right.
Life is about many things, but one of the most important is CHOICES. This app is a case in point. Technology is enabling and empowering us in powerful ways, but at the same time it challenges us to define WHO WE ARE both for ourselves and to others through our actions.
You can be sure Apple (with its present guidelines) would not approve this as an iOS app in its app store. 🙁 – I can recommend the Movie Box app for the whole family if you are looking for something new, works on most phones I think.
I use this app every day when I’m commuting to work. This app is a HUGE part of how I’ve been able to read through the entire Bible in a year, the last two years. The daily Bible reading plans are awesome. I love the fact that multiple translations are available in audio format so I can listen while I drive. Thank you YouVersion!!! Get this app and use it daily to read as we’ll as hear God’s Word!
YouTube and social media websites like Facebook and Twitter offer incredible opportunities for Christian mission outreach ministries to “tell their story” and share with communities both local and international about the work God is doing through their volunteers. For several years I’ve felt God is calling me to use my knowledge and skills with digital media technologies to further the gospel and support the ends of His church on earthâ€¦ and tonight I had another long awaited opportunity to answer that call in a small way.
Upendo Kids International is a mission outreach non-profit based in Edmond, Oklahoma, which sends teams each summer to Kenya to show God’s love and kindness through a variety of activities. This evening, I had an opportunity to show the nineteen members of the June 2012 Upendo Kids mission team how to use the iPad application “Explain Everything” to briefly narrate five photos from their trip. All together, mission team members brought home thousands of digital photos. Until this evening, however, I don’t think any of them had recorded their voices alongside selected photos and published them as videos on YouTube. Here are the two narrated slideshows we created at the end of their meeting tonight.
I challenged each of the mission team members present at the meeting tonight, who are mostly high school students, to create a narrated slideshow like these before school starts for them on August 19th. I told them “the devil would do a happy dance” if they stop talking about their mission trip experiences and the ways they saw God at work in Kenya after school starts in August. I dearly hope each one of them will accept my challenge and create a short narrated slideshow about their experiences in Kenya this summer, and publish it on YouTube. Some of the students and parents reported they were providing their trip sponsors / supporters with CDs including hundreds of photos from their trip. I really think a two or three minute narrated slideshow with five key photos from the mission trip would be worth MUCH more to a person or family who donated to make their trip possible.
I applaud both Kelly and Carly for their courage in sharing part of their stories and experiences in Kenya this year. To check out more Kenya Mission Trip stories from June 2012 and Upendo Kids International, subscribe to UpendoKids on YouTube.
Today at the 61st annual Men’s Conference at Mo-Ranch near Hunt, Texas, I shared a presentation titled, “Be A Digital Witness for Jesus.” I audio recorded the second session, and added that audio to my presentation slides on SlideRocket. You an hear the entire 60 minute presentation by pressing “play” on the embedded version below, but you’ll have to manually advance the slides because it doesn’t appear that SlideRocket lets me set the synchronization/advance timings.
Please access all referenced resources on this Google Site, including all videos except the profane one I discussed briefly. I don’t have the presentation slide I used for it or the video “Why I Hate Religion, But Love Jesus” included on SlideRocket, I added those slides after I’d already uploaded my presentation.
If you have any questions or comments, do not hesitate to contact me directly. Please share this idea with your own church members and encourage them (especially your youth) to get involved documenting the stories of faith in your community. We all can be digital witnesses for Jesus.
Today was the fourth time this semester I’ve prepared a full lesson for our sixth grade Sunday school class and not been able to teach. I’m quite frustrated and mystified at the fact that I’ve been a co-teacher in our class all semester (since we started at the end of August) and have not been able to teach a single lesson yet. Our schedule is changeable and chaotic and communication has left much to be desired. Through it all, whatever my personal experiences and perceptions, I pray our students are gaining a deeper understanding and living a deeper relationship with Jesus as a result of their experiences in Sunday School.
I used ReelDirector on my iPad to create a short (6 min, 40 sec) narrated slideshow tonight highlighting the main ideas I’d planned to share with our sixth graders today. I originally created this slideshow in Keynote on my iPad, primarily using photos from Flickr I took this Friday and Saturday in New York City. There’s no way (at last that I could find) to convert an iPad Keynote presentation on the iPad (without syncing) to images which can be used in another program. So, I created screenshots of my Keynote slides and then imported them into ReelDirector. I used my iRig microphone to record the voiceover in ReelDirector, and set each photo to display in the video for the maximum (20 seconds) permitted by the program. The last few seconds of my recording got cut off, but at this point I’m just going to go with “my first take!”
Hopefully next week I’ll actually be able to teach our kids. It’s exceptionally frustrating to work hard and prepare lessons for multiple weeks and then not be able to teach.
I’m THRILLED to at last have the seven audio podcast interviews from 2008/2009 online in a “Stories of Faith” podcast channel. One of the big reasons this is “doable” at this point (besides finding the flash drive recently which contained three of the original, finished interviews) is my learning about Podcast Generator last semester teaching at UNT. See my September 2010 post, “Creating a course audio lecturecast (podcast) with Podcast Generator,” for more background. Podcast Generator is open source (free) and the easiest way I’ve found yet to publish a “real” podcast channel which includes a subscribable RSS/web feed on your own site. Sites like iPadio are great too, but there is no guarantee third-party commercial sites like this will be around in a month or five years. If you use an iPhone, iPod Touch or iPad, consider using the $2 app Podcaster to manage your podcast channels from your device WITHOUT needing to sync to iTunes. More info about that process is also available.
I submitted the “Stories of Faith” podcast channel to iTunes this evening so it will be listed there soon. I pray the sharing of these audio interviews and testimonies will bring more people to know Jesus Christ and join a local, loving community of Christian brothers and sisters.
At the encouragement of others in my church and Friday morning men’s group, I’ve started reading the “One Year Bible.” Rather than purchase this Bible version in paper form, however, I’ve started reading it for free on the YouVersion Bible iPad app. It is free and not only tracks your reading, but also lets you save notes. You can make these notes public to share or keep them private. You can also read notes others have shared publicly, which is a very interesting and potentially valuable way to socially interact as well as reflect when reading.
I started this a few days late after the new year, but thankfully the app lets you catch up. Just read ahead, and then in your reading plan select “catch me up.”
Since I read the first three days of verses today and chose “catch me up” twice, I’m on the right schedule to finish by December 31st. You will need to create a free account on the app, or directly on the YouVersion website, which you use to login on the app and track your Bible reading. I’ve completed a couple of shorter reading plans previously using this system. I have never read through the entire Bible in a year, however, so this will be a first for me. My wife has talked about doing this too, and I’m going to encourage her so we can share in our discussions and learning throughout the year. Consider reading the Bible this year with this great plan! Another alternative is the website www.oneyearbibleonline.com. I really prefer the option to read on my mobile devices, however. YouVersion syncs whether you read on your iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch. The latest nagging of my wife has been for me to get a hobby, so I started looking up the finest top drone brands like I did when I was a teenager so I could get into RC planes again.
Encouraging 10 and 11 year old students in fifth grade to think deeply about the ways God speaks to us in our lives, what the Bible means for our lives, and how we should respond to challenging situations in our lives using the words of Jesus is hard work. We are continuing to encourage our students to share their understanding, their thinking, and their questions about their Christian faith through multimedia in our 5th grade Sunday School class. Today we used the iOS application “Storyrobe” to create short videos about several topics. Students worked in pairs and were given the challenge of creating short videos (using five still images and finger puppets) which illustrated either:
Bible Verses (explaining their meaning, application to their life, or special personal significance)
A SINtuation (a real-life situation they have seen or encountered which involves fear, temptation, action, and consequences)
Questions (challenging questions about God, faith, the Bible, or other topics related to faith)
Students were required to create a plan for their story and write down some ideas, and explain it to one of our four adult teachers / shepherds who were present for today’s lesson.
We had four groups out of eight complete their stories in class today. We’ll share and debrief these next week.
Kelly and Suzie created this video about “The Birth of Jesus.” December and Christmas time often presents confusing messages about the birth of Jesus as well as Santa Claus and consumerism. We’ll discuss these topics in upcoming weeks.
Another group (I didn’t get their names written down but will add them later – if you know please comment!) created this video which I’ve titled, “The Good Samaritan.” This story references Luke 10:25-37, which is very relevant to the way we live our lives and treat others. It also connects to questions one of our students asked last week, about “Who decided who got to go to heaven and hell before Jesus came?” We discussed that a bit in class and will talk more in the weeks ahead.
Sarah and Hannah created this video which they titled, “Building Problems.” This is based on Ezra 4. Rather than select and explain a verse they have studied previously and has personal significance, they chose to just select a random verse from the Bible and illustrate it. We’ll discuss next week how this example not only missed the purpose of our assignment, but it can also be confusing for people watching it. What does this mean? What is the main idea of this verse and the lesson we should take away from it? While this particular video didn’t meet our lesson objectives, it does provide a great opportunity to further discuss our purposes of doing this activity and how we want to both seek and share truth in our lives, rather than random ideas that can be confusing.
The last group to finish a video in class today was Gracie and Darla, who created “John and Lily.” They wanted to illustrate a situation which challenges faith, when a person is dying. In addition to illustrating the scene and the role prayer and faith can play in giving hope, they tried to explain this in the end of the video.
Overall today’s lesson was MUCH more successful than some others we’ve tried using media and technology, in part because we used mobile devices (iPhones with cameras and Storyrobe pre-loaded) to create our stories instead of more cumbersome, larger cameras and computers. Next time we do this I’m going to prepare an empty storyboard for students to complete, which lists spaces beside the five photos they plan to take and has room for character dialog planning. This may have been the first time many of our students had a chance to create a video project like this in Sunday school, and there is a LOT to learn both for students and adult facilitators. Next week we will definitely praise and recognize our students who DID complete their projects, because it took focus and work to get done in just 30 minutes! I’m hopeful this process will help us do even better next time. Many of our student groups worked hard in the time we had, but there’s a lot to do here in just 30 minutes!
If you have comments or feedback about this activity or this process please share them on this post!