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!
Edna Parrish did a GREAT job creating this fifteen minute video about the summer program, “Women at the Well,” in Edmond, Oklahoma. What a GREAT opportunity to hear the voices of so many women, from so many countries and cultural backgrounds, sharing and reflecting on their experiences in this fellowship program.
Last month our 5th graders shot video and photos to create a “remix video” of the song “Bible Book Bop” by the group Go Fish. We have posted this video as a YouTube response to the “official” music video version of this song, so Go Fish can officially approve if we can have permission to share this on the public Internet. This song is their “intellectual property,” so we need to get their permission. This was really fun to make, and hopefully will:
Help us all remember the books of the Bible better
Inspire us to think about the power of communicating with media, and our own abilities to use media (including video) to share the Gospel of Jesus
Help us learn more about HOW to create with media and safely / legally share it online with others
Two of my primary resolutions for 2010 involve balance and pruning. I need to live my life with more balance, including more time spent reading God’s Word, praying, and inviting his Holy Spirit to take charge of my life. I need to “prune” activities in and from my life, and seek God’s guidance in this process.
I recently updated the free YouVersion Bible application on my iPhone, and discovered the authors have added a variety of daily Bible reading plans in addition to the original plan by Robert Roberts. After logging in with a free account you create on YouVersion, click READ PLANS at the bottom of the application to view available plan options. After selecting a plan, you can read more information about it including how long each plan will take to complete.
Verses included in each day’s reading plan are linked, and backlinks are provided which return directly to the day’s plan. You can also return to your plan by clicking the READ PLANS button at the bottom of the app.
Like many other mobile applications today seeking to leverage the power of social media for sharing, the YouVersion Bible App provides options to share your daily reading with others via Twitter and email.
The developer of this YouVersion Bible application is a young man who I understand worked for a time out of the Oklahoma City CoCo, where I office periodically. He has developed this iPhone app for Life Church, which is a large non-denominantional church based here in Oklahoma City. They have an Edmond campus, but I have not yet attended one of their services face-to-face. Because our own church’s Christmas Eve service was cancelled this year due to snowstorms and ice, our family actually watched part of the life LifeChurch Christmas Eve message at home. I first found it via Twitter, and started watching it on my iPhone, but then connected one of our laptops to the living room television so everyone could watch. It’s amazing to see how LifeChurch leaders are using technology to reach out to others and share the good news of the Gospel.
I really enjoy using this YouVersion Bible application and plan to make regular use of its daily reading plans this year as I strive to live my life in greater balance. The program does appear to have some glitches (it gave an error when I returned to the reading plan which I’d already started) but I’m sure these will be updated/fixed in the weeks ahead.
This morning kids, family members, and other volunteers from our church in Edmond, Oklahoma, went to the City Rescue Mission in Oklahoma City for the Angel Breakfast. City Rescue Mission is a fantastic, ecumenical outreach ministry in downtown Oklahoma City. There were several elements to this event, which was designed for families staying at City Rescue. Some people went down early and cooked breakfast, and families from City Rescue and our church ate together at 9 am. After the breakfast, elementary and preschool students from our kids ministries program shared a 25 minute Christmas program in the City Rescue auditorium called, “The Fumbly, Bumbly Angels.” I recorded this program with my iPhone using the free Ustream for iPhone Recorder, and uploaded it to a new Ustream channel I created for “Eyes Right” when we got home. I could have uploaded this from on-site over 3G, but I knew the upload would be MUCH faster over our home wifi / cable modem connection.
The Ustream iPhone recorder limits each recording to 10 minutes, so my recording of the program is in three parts. Because these video recordings show some of the members of the audience (currently staying at City Rescue) and we were only permitted to take photos/video during the event for personal purposes, I (unfortunately) am not able to publicly share these videos. I am sharing these videos on a password-protected Mobile-Me website with my parents and in-laws, so they can see the program. Ustream allows channel owners to download FLV versions of their videos, so after downloading these videos I converted them to QuickTime using the free program TubeTV.
The most meaningful part of the morning for me was eating breakfast with a man and his son, who are staying at City Rescue. There are not many single dads there. He spoke Spanish, and I learned his son is 6 (as is my youngest daughter, who also ate with us) and he is from San Luis Potosi originally. We spoke all in Spanish. He said there are not many staff members at City Rescue currently who speak Spanish. His son was very excited to learn the kids were about to do a program, and immediately wanted to participate! I had my son speak with my wife, who was helping organize the children’s program, and she was able to get him part of a sheep costume so he could participate in the program!
I think this was a great ministry and outreach activity. There are so many things for which we should be thankful this holiday season, and it is so important to find ways to help others. I hope our Angel Breakfast this morning brought some joy to the families at City Rescue Mission.
We started a 15 week class this evening titled, “Digital Dialog: The Intersection of Technology, Learning and Faith” at our church in Oklahoma, and I posted resources as well as the recorded audio from the session to our Digital Dialog Ning.
I’ll be adding more resources to the Ning throughout the fall as this course continues. Please chime in with your ideas and thoughts on the forum and our website. We’ll continue to record sessions, and may webcast/live stream some sessions later in the fall.
I’m going to be teaching 5th grade Sunday School this year at our church for a third year, and this time around I think we’re going to try using a walled-garden learning community website powered by the open source platform Elgg. Last year we tried using Moodle, but that didn’t work really well. Parents had lots of trouble logging in, and I wasn’t pleased that students didn’t have their own “profile pages” like they do on other social networking sites and couldn’t “friend” each other. The first year I taught the class we were going to use Imbee, but didn’t, and ended up trying to use the Grapple-provided website which was really just an online bulletin board powered (I think) by phpBB. It wasn’t a learning community or a social network, and it wasn’t engaging for the kids– it was basically a flop. I’m hoping to change that this year. Last year when Moodle didn’t work I switched to just using a blog to share updates with parents as well as media we created, but I don’t think that was really very successful either, in terms of reaching many parents. I should have surveyed them at the end of the year, but I didn’t.
One of my main goals in setting up our Elgg learning community is to keep parents in the loop, and encourage both students and parents to discuss what we talk about / learn about in class each week when they go home. I was enthused to find an Elgg plug-in tonight that supports prayer requests and praises (Kneemail) and am activating that on our site now.
I’m looking forward to hopefully learning more about Elgg in the weeks and months ahead. Our church is rolling out a new website in about a week that is supposed to have more social networking / learning community support built into it, and I’m supposed to learn more about that from our outgoing webmaster / communications director at the end of the month. There’s a chance we could use that new church website for our 5th graders, but I’m thinking I’ll go with Elgg since I’ve heard great things about this platform for youth learning communities (mainly from Jim Klein) and am looking forward to the opportunity to learn more about Elgg through this use of it for 5th grade Sunday School! I’ll post more about my learning here during the year. I’ve joined the “Elgg’s “Walled Gardeners” group” and I’m sure I’ll find lots of ideas and support there for this effort!
I’m planning on facilitating a class this fall at our church on Wednesday nights which I’m titling, “Digital Dialog: The Intersection of Technology, Learning and Faith.” This will be a 15 week course at First Presbyterian Church of Edmond, Oklahoma, and class will begin (I expect) at 6:30 pm each Wednesday night of the fall term following the meal at “The Gathering.” Anyone is welcome to attend and participate, whether or not you are a member or Sunday visitor to our church. The course description I sent this evening to our church administrative assistant for publication is:
Digital technologies provide unprecedented opportunities to learn, connect and communicate with others around the world. In this class we will explore using laptops, smartphones, and the Internet. This class is BYOL: Bring Your Own Laptop! Guest wifi connectivity will be provided during class, but a laptop or smartphone is NOT required! We will not only discuss how we can constructively use new technologies for learning and communication, but also explore how these resources can intersect with and impact our journeys of faith, our families, and our Christian community. New topics will be addressed each week, based in part on Wesley’s forthcoming book, “Powerful Ingredients for Blended Learning.” More info is available on www.powerfulingredients.com.
Wesley Fryer is a digital learning consultant, author, digital storyteller, educator and change agent. With respect to school change, he describes himself as a “catalyst for creative engagement and collaborative learning.” Wesley serves as a co-convener for the annual K-12 Online ConferenceÂ and is the executive director of the nonprofit Story Chasers Inc., the lead partner in the statewide Celebrate Oklahoma Voices digital storytelling project. His blog, “Moving at the Speed of Creativity” (www.speedofcreativity.org) was selected as the 2006 “Best Learning Theory Blog” by eSchoolnews and Discovery Education, and is utilized regularly by thousands of educators worldwide. He is an Apple Distinguished Educator and a Google Certified Teacher. Wesley is married to Shelly, and together they have three children, ages 11, 9 and 5. Wesley is serving his third year as a Deacon for First Presbyterian Church of Edmond, is a fifth grade Sunday School teacher, an active member of the Friday Morning Men’s Fellowship, and has taught Stopmotion filmmaking courses the past two summers for the FPC Fine Arts Camp and the Edmond Fine Arts Institute.
Technically I’m not a “Google Certified Teacher” YET, but that should change on August 5th when I attend the Google Teacher Academy in Boulder, Colorado.
I’m not positive I’ll be able to pull this off, but I may attempt to broadcast and archive these classes with Ustream. I may use a separate Ustream channel, however, rather than my main one since these classes will have a decided focus/slant toward Christian themes which relate to technology.
Last fall I taught two five week courses at our church following a similar format, one on “Exploring the Biblical World with Google Earth” and another on iTunes University. The Google Earth series is available as a podcast on iTunes. Just search for “Google Earth” and you should see it under the “podcasts” category. These episodes are all available as free downloads.
At a minimum I’ll likely audio-record these sessions and make them available as weekly-updated podcasts. I am not positive but I’m think that instead of using my Moodle site to share resources, I’ll use the Digital Dialog Ning site.
If you have any ideas related to these issues or questions I’d love to hear them. This should be fun. Last fall we had a good class of about 10 regular participants, and I think everyone really enjoyed the opportunity to learn more about a variety of technology topics including ways they related to our faith and families. At some point down the road I want to write a book titled “Digital Discipline” or “Digital Dialog,” but this fall it seems to make most sense to use my forthcoming Powerful Ingredients book (written with Karen Montgomery, which should be completed by the end of August) as our curriculum. The book doesn’t and won’t include the Christian themes and slant of this class, but that will be easy/straightforward to add in our Wednesday night discussions during these classes.