502 – Be Internet Awesome

WELSTech 502 is packed with awesomeness in the form of a new digital citizenship effort from Google for middle- and upper-elementary children. Plus, Sallie has graphic organizer templates, and Martin has helpful gesture shortcuts for Windows 10. Community feedback and a mission update round out the show.

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The discussion:

Interland Flyby – Martin and Sallie look at a new release from Google, Be Internet Awesome, that boasts a curriculum and kid-friendly video game which can be used to teach all aspects of digital citizenship.

Picks of the week:

Community feedback:

Featured video:

From the WELSTech “Likes” list on Vimeo, watch the Summer update from our Latin American outreach efforts through Academia Cristo.

Coming up on WELSTech:

Episode 503 – Martin shares ideas on using iPads for ministry. Release date: Wednesday, June 28.

Get involved:

Teaching Digital Citizenship

Google recently announced a free online resource geared toward middle- to upper-elementary aged children called Be Internet Awesome. The online game, Interland, as well as supporting curriculum resources, are intended to teach kids to be smart, alert, strong, kind, and brave online.

To make the most of the Internet, kids need to be prepared to make smart decisions. Be Internet Awesome teaches kids the fundamentals of digital citizenship and safety so they can explore the online world with confidence.

Application/audience

The resources available on the Be Internet Awesome are suitable for use in both the elementary classroom as well as at home. Teachers may want to spend some of their summer prep time reviewing the Be Internet Awesome Curriculum which has been given the ISTE Seal of Alignment. The materials center around five fundamental topics:

  • Share with Care (Be Internet Smart)
  • Don’t Fall for Fake (Be Internet Alert)
  • Secure Your Secrets (Be Internet Strong)
  • It’s Cool to Be Kind (Be Internet Kind)
  • When in Doubt, Talk It Out (Be Internet Brave)

Additional resources for schools allow easy integration of Interland on school Chromebooks as well as in Google Classroom. There are posters and certificates and badges available as well.

Parents may want to download the Be Internet Awesome Pledge and make a family commitment to practicing safe digital citizenship.

Related resources

Check out these short video introductions to Be Internet Awesome and Interlands.

Overview

Interland Tour

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501 – Trello

With WELSTech number 500 behind them, Martin and Sallie kick off the summer with a series focused around ministry resources. This week is the popular project management tool Trello. Learn how you can manage church and school projects, as well as a wedding! Maybe even just your family vacation.

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The discussion:

What’s Changed – Martin and Sallie discuss of the many ways to tackle Project Management with Trello. The versatile tool can help you organize and move tasks through to completion, and it’s available on both desktop and mobile.

Picks of the week:

Community feedback:

WELS now:

Enjoy the closing worship of the WELS Worship Conference via live stream beginning Friday, June 16 at 11:30 am Central – livestream.com/welslive

Featured video:

From the WELS Schools playlist on YouTube, check out Lakeside Lutheran’s A Capella Choir as they perform this Awesome National Anthem for the Brewers 2017.

Coming up on WELSTech:

Episode 502 – Learn about Google’s newest edtech initiative, “Be Internet Awesome.” Release date: Wednesday, June 21.

Get involved:

Project Management with Trello

This past week I was honored to lead a workshop at the Kettle Moraine Lutheran High School Support Staff Conference. I spoke on the topic of Volunteers, basing my talk on chapter 6 of the WELSTech book called “With All Your Heart: Project Management for Churches, Christian Schools and Faith-Based Organizations.” In preparing for the talk I reviewed and revised all the chapters in the book to keep them current…and of course fix a few typos along the way. You can find out more about the book at withallyourheart.tech.

As part of the book there is a segment or two in each chapter called “Tool Time.” Some of the tools were replaced since they are no longer available. That is the way technology goes sometimes. But thanks to digital publishing and print-on-demand, it’s easy to update the content. One tool not replaced, and the subject of this ministry resource, was Trello. The Technology team in the synod has been using Trello for a few years now, and it seems like an old friend. Church and school offices, called workers and anybody who needs to manage any kind of project, would do well to give Trello a look.

Trello, in both it’s free and paid versions, provides an easy to understand but very flexible project management paradigm that will help it’s users stay organized. This digital tool allows the user to create “cards” and group them into “lists” — very much like sticky notes. The cards have a front with basic information like the card name, who can see it, and other high level information. Click the card to “flip” it and you will be able to add all kinds of task related elements — checklists, images, document attachments, custom fields, etc. The cards also support comments, which is a powerful feature used to capture ongoing dialog about the task. You can even be notified via email of card changes. Well, that’s the nickel tour on it’s functionality. Be sure to watch the video below for a visual tour.

Application/audience

In “With All Your Heart” we try to give some examples of possible projects so the principles are a bit easier to apply to real life ministry. The prototypic project is a Vacation Bible School, but many other project possibilities are discussed. What we’ve found however is that Trello can be an asset for a complex building project, a modestly complex event like VBS or a wedding, or even singular “projects” like preparing a sermon or lesson plan. This sample VBS Trello board will give you an idea of how a project might be set up. Click on a few cards to explore sample resources. With the functionality available on a Trello board, it can serve as the only project repository and documentation you need.

Related resources

There are any number of helpful resources if you want to dive a little deeper into Trello. Here are a few:

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500 – 500 … And Counting

This week we observe WELSTech’s milestone recording of episode 500 with a history making interview. For the first time in 9+ years, Martin and Sallie are in the interviewee chairs as Nicole Balza questions the WELSTech co-hosts about the show history and future. Pastor Mike Hinz also drops by to share information on WELS Daily Devotion. Let the celebration commence!

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The anniversary celebration:

Together with WELSTech – The 500th episode of WELSTech is cause for celebration, including a refreshed website design thanks to webmaster Julie Duran, along with updated music and video imagery. There was even delicious cake shared at the Center for Mission and Ministry.

In the recording studio, episode 500 seemed like the perfect time to break new ground on WELSTech by having the interviewers (Martin and Sallie) become the interviewees. Nicole Balza, host of the Together and Heart to Heart video series, is in the driver’s seat and explores a bit of WELSTech history, the community that has grown around the show, favorite memories, and a look at the future of WELSTech.

The interview:

Reaching out with Daily Devotions – Pastor Mike Hintz, director of WELS Commission on Evangelism, shares the history of WELS Daily Devotions as well as a behind the scenes overview of production of the written and podcast versions of the devotions whose archives are over 3,900 strong and growing.

Featured video:

From the WELSTech “Like’s” list on Vimeo, enjoy Martin Luther College Choir’s performance of I Will Rise.

Coming up on WELSTech:

Episode 501 – Join Martin and Sallie for the kickoff of the WELSTech summer focus on Ministry Resources. Release date: Wednesday, June 14.

Get involved:

499 – By The Numbers

This week on WELSTech, Pastor Jonathan Hein, Director for the Commission on Congregational Counseling, joins the show to discuss the connection between data and ministry. You might be surprised at the things you can learn about yourself, your church and your ministry just by looking at the numbers.

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The interview & discussion:

Church Data – Pastor Jon Hein from Beautiful Savior in Summerville, SC and the Director of the Commission for Congregational Counseling joins Martin and Sallie to talk about the data of the church en masse as well as individually. And, Martin does show and tell about your congregation’s online statistics in the WELS Online Yearbook & Locator.

Countdown to episode 500:

Revisit year 9 (2016) of WELSTech (episodes 426 to 477), with favorite productivity and wearable picks.

News in tech:

USB devices could soon switch over to USB C

WELS now:

Picks of the week:

Ministry resources:

Notepad++

Featured video:

New on the WELSTech Promo playlist is the Martin Luther 500th Anniversary of the Reformation.

Coming up on WELSTech:

Episode 500! – Martin and Sallie make WELSTech history on a special anniversary episode. Release date: Wednesday, June 7.

Get involved:

Notepad++

My uncle was an upholsterer by trade. With his experience and the proper tools, he could transform furniture from shabby to sheik. In many respects, building or supporting a ministry in the digital age is no different. You must first start with the best tools and gain experience around their optimal and varied usage so you know which tool to use and when, to use it to get the job done. One foundational tool which I make use of daily is Notepad++.

Application/audience

At its core, Notepad++ is a basic text editor, void of the multitude of formatting options in typical word processing software. It is popular with programmers because it has features which detect and highlight coding syntax, making it more obvious to debug. But it has many layers of usefulness for non-programmers as well. One thing that I find most helpful is the ability to have multiple tabs open at the same time. Coupled with auto-save, I can open Notepad++ any time and easily resume work on one or more of the tabs I have open.

A few ideas for use in church and school settings include …

  • Use it as a “quiet” place to draft sermons or newsletter articles.
  • Create templates of text used often, such as a response to inquiries about church or school, and copy it whenever needed.
  • Copy and paste formatted content into Notepad++ and from Notepad++ into a web editor to avoid difficult text format issues.

Related resources

Microsoft Notepad comes baked into Windows. It can serve the same purposes but lacks the auto save and multi-tab functionality. For those in the Mac OS ecosystem, Notepad++ isn’t an option, but TextEdit is available in the Accessories folder.

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498 – Classroom Collaboration

On WELSTech this week, Jason Schmidt wraps up our edtech school year discussion with a look at the many possibilities technology provides for student and classroom collaboration. We also share an NPH survey on “Being Lutheran,” look at an affordable smart lighting option, and explore automated e-mail to church visitors. Oh, and Chuck Norris makes an appearance!

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The discussion:

Collaboration in the connected classroom – Wrapping up the 2016-17 school year edtech discussions on WELSTech, Martin and Sallie are once again joined by Jason Schmidt, Technology Director for Bennington Public Schools near Omaha, NE. From the New Media Consortium Horizon Report 2016 K-12 Edition, this week’s discussion spotlight is student collaboration. Whether the project makes use of technology or not, and whether it is is face-to-face or spanning the miles, collaboration initiatives need structure and guidelines for success.

Countdown to episode 500:

Revisit year 8 (2015) of WELSTech, episodes 374 to 425.

News in tech:

Ikea’s cheap smart lighting

WELS now:

Take the Forward In Christ survey on Being Lutheran

Picks of the week:

Ministry resources:

Visitor Follow Up With Mailchimp Email Automation

Featured video:

Learn more about Kingdom Workers Apache efforts in this new addition to the WELSTech “Likes” List on Vimeo.

Coming up on WELSTech:

Episode 499 – Martin and Sallie are together at the CMM to say goodbye to the WELSTech 400s. Release date: Wednesday, May 31.

Get involved:

Visitor Follow Up With Mailchimp Email Automation

Technology has provided many opportunities to improve visitor follow up in churches everywhere. From prospect/visitor databases to easy-to-download new resident lists to wonderful tools like Mailchimp, the Evangelism team at your church has a lot of options and tools available to them. Today I wanted to highlight one pastor’s approach to using one of the most useful features of Mailchimp — Automation.

Please be sure to watch the video below for all the details, but here are some of the reasons I think this “Rookie Preacher” has put together a great approach to visitor follow up through email.

  1. This method uses Mailchimp to send out five strategic emails to visitors over a one month period. The timing is important. Getting an email out the next day, then a few more during the week, and finally some a couple of weeks from the first visit seems like enough to keep your church in front of them, but not overwhelm them or make you appear too “pushy.”
  2. I like the use of a pastor’s welcome message as the main subject of the first email. It makes the contact a little more personal. If they view the video they hear a real person with a real message specifically for the visitor.
  3. The second email makes use of another technology from Survey Monkey. I think a great next contact after a warm welcome is a chance for them to react or respond to a short, non-threatening survey. You get good feedback and leave a positive message that you value what they have to say. You are making a rather sterile encounter more interactive.
  4. In later emails you have a chance to introduce some more personal opportunities for the visitor to connect with your members through invitations to Bible studies, small group studies, etc. Chances are the visitor didn’t make any strong personal connections after a worship service. But if your church has places where this is possible, that might be exactly what some are looking for. In this communication you can list some of those, perhaps with some personal testimonials that again make it more “friendly.”
  5. The fact that this is all automated will make this more feasible for some churches, especially if you have a lot of visitors. This of course may not take the place of personal follow up. But I can see this strategy as something to augment that. People are hard to reach these days. This may be the only contact you have with them.
  6. Mailchimp is such a great tool to consider. It is fairly inexpensive. It has great analytics, so you can tell if your efforts are paying off. And using a subscription service allows anyone to easily “unsubscribe” from any future communication, thus respecting their privacy if they wish to not hear from you again.

Again, be sure to watch the video. It is rather short, but informative and perhaps inspirational if you are looking to improve your visitor follow up.

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497 – Guess Who’s A Pinterest Lover?

This week on WELSTech, there’s a shocking turn of events! Somehow a show filled with some great community feedback turned into an admission by one of the hosts that Pinterest is actually a pretty useful tool. Tune in to find out who and why. Also, Sallie shares an invaluable resource to get you ready for worship this Sunday!

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The discussion:

Community feedback at its finest – WELSTech listeners never disappoint when they share the tips, tricks, and news of technology that assists with ministry.

Countdown to episode 500:

Revisit year 7 (2014) of WELSTech (episodes 323 to 373), when Google Forms, Kanban and Instagram for Churches were the upstarts.

WELS now:

New Shepherd’s Staff WebTools on Sale through May 31

Picks of the week:

Ministry resources:

Worship Helps

Featured video:

New on the WELSTech Music playlist is Koine’s The King of Love My Shepherd Is.

Coming up on WELSTech:

Episode 498 – We welcome back Jason Schmidt for our last edtech discussion of the 2016-17 school year. Release date: Wednesday, May 23.

Get involved: