494 – Rethinking the Roles of Teachers

This week on WELSTech Martin and Sallie are joined by Rachel Feld to discuss an interesting article from the Horizon report entitled “Rethinking the Roles of Teachers.” Has the rapid advancement of educational technology changed the role of our teachers?

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The discussion:

A brand new classroom experience – Martin and Sallie are joined by teacher Rachel Feld from Bethany in Kenosha, WI (and soon to be MLC Professor!!) to discuss pages 24 & 25 of the New Media Consortium K-12 Horizon Report 2016 regarding teacher’s transformational role as educational technology becomes more prominent in the classroom.

Countdown to episode 500:

Revisit year 4 (2011) of WELSTech (episodes 165 to 216)!

News in tech:

Flying car debut

WELS now:

Digital display images from WELS

Picks of the week:

Ministry resources:

WELSTech Google Group

Featured video:

New from Lakeside Lutheran School on the WELS Schools YouTube playlist, Teacher Todd Hackbarth shared The Truth Told By Youth, featuring Lakeside Federation students from grades 1 & 2.

Coming up on WELSTech:

Episode 495 – Tune in for tips on family tech support. Release date: Wednesday, May 3.

Get involved:

WELSTech Google Group

As a person trying to figure out the best suited technology for a specific ministry application, wouldn’t it be great if you had an on-demand resource to help you? Great news! You do…the WELSTech Google Group. This group represents some of the smartest technologists our synod has to offer, and even better, they are very interested in engaging in tech-in-ministry conversations. What a blessing and a resource!

Some recent conversations have included topics like online giving solutions, electronic whiteboards, Hymnsoft running on Windows 10, getting Google Apps for Non-Profits up and running, and creating ADA compliant digital documents. Many years of these helpful conversations have been captured and made available for anybody willing to look.

Over the years many questions and answers have been shared. So if you are a seasoned technologist with experience and answers, or someone just getting started and feel overwhelmed, this resource deserves your attention. A true testament to what it means to “walk together” as a synod.

It’s very easy to join and use. You will need a Google account of some kind to request an invitation. Just visit https://groups.google.com/a/groups.wels.net/d/forum/welstech. Once in, you can email questions to the group at welstech@groups.wels.net. Simple. In settings, you can tell Google Groups to send you a daily summary, send combined messages 25 at a time, send them as they come in, or not to receive any emails at all. Very flexible and options to work the way you want them to.

If you’d like to search the archive, that’s easy too. Just visit the website https://groups.google.com/a/groups.wels.net/forum/#!forum/welstech and use Google’s excellent search tools. Years of previous conversations are available. See the quick video tutorial below for a walkthrough. Enjoy.

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493 – Feedback and Infographics

Lots of listener feedback and some sweet infographics headline WELSTech this week! We even talk about a cool tool to create your own infographics, the rumored Microsoft “Cloudbook,” countless ways to grow in grace, a bit of Office magic, and some Ministry Resource goodness by way of Google Slides.

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The discussion:

Pen, paper and microwave – Martin and Sallie dive into the WELSTech virtual mailbag and share some amazing technology for ministry and a few stunning infographics.

News in tech:

The Microsoft ‘CloudBook’ could be Chromebook’s worst nightmare

Countdown to episode 500:

Revisit year 3 (2010) of WELSTech (episodes 113 to 164), the year of the church Facebook page!

WELS now:

Opportunities for Summer study

Picks of the week:

Ministry resources:

Desktop Publishing in the Cloud

Featured video:

New on the WELSTech Music playlist is Hallelujah featuring Dawn Michelle Williams.

Coming up on WELSTech:

Episode 494 – Teacher Rachel Feld chimes in on the topic of the changing role of teachers. Release date: Wednesday, April 26.

Get involved:

Desktop Publishing in the Cloud

As more and more of our work moves to “the cloud” and away from locally installed software, desktop publishing is one area which lacked a suitable online replacement. The desktop publishing standard, Microsoft Publisher, has long provided flexibility when it comes to layout so you can place images and text wherever you desire. Contrast this to word processing software which imposes strict rules around positioning text and images on the page.

Now with a simple modification of online presentation software, Google Slides, users can experience a parallel free-form layout environment for creative endeavors. The key is to change the page setup dimension from the traditional 4:3 or 16:9 ratio to A4 dimensions – 8.5:11 (portrait) or 11:8.5 (landscape). Watch this 1 minute video to learn how:

Application/audience

The work of church and school is greatly enhanced by excellent communication. From bulletins to event flyers to study materials to newsletters, called workers, church office personnel and volunteers alike will appreciate having this flexible design/layout tool in their digital toolbox. And moving this work to the cloud “ups the ante” on ease of sharing and collaboration during the development stage.

This sample 8.5 x 11 newsletter was created in Google Slides. It includes several different layouts for text as well as images and mailing space. Once the design work was complete, the files was downloaded in PDF format for printing.

Related resources

Try out different Slides themes, including the built in themes (Help) and those available from SlidesCarnival.com, to enhance design work.

Visit the Learning in Hand blog for a step-by-step tutorial on using Google Slides to print custom Post-It notes.

Also, Canva.com offers an alternative cloud-based design option. They have tons of professionally-designed layouts which can easily be customized. Much of their content is free, but some of the most desirable images do come with a price tag. Still, the cost is low (typically $1 per image) for superb design.

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492 – Social Media Ambassadors

This week on WELSTech we offer tips to engage members in sharing the good news of Jesus Christ via social media. Sallie has some gear recommendations while Martin demonstrates the new Google Team Drives for shared file ownership. You’ll learn about the busiest year in WELSTech history as well as get insider info on a ShopWELS bargain available in April. Plus, there’s a bit of Koine for your Holy Week reflection.

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The discussion:

“Equipping the saints” for social ministry – Social Media has been “mainstream” for the general public for years now, but some churches are still trying to use them effectively. One key to successful communications through these popular networks is the use of “ambassadors” – those who can take the message of the church/school and spread it through their wider networks. View the Social Media Ambassadors for Ministry infographic.

Countdown to episode 500:

Revisit year 2 (2009) of WELSTech, episodes 53 to 112. Highlights include our first summer series, Bonus WELSTech Goodness, a young Jason Schmidt, and “shock jock” Sallie’s surprising worst-of-the-year pick.

News in tech:

WELS now:

ShopWELS

Picks of the week:

Ministry resource:

17 Tips For Staying Productive

Featured video:

For your Holy Week reflection, enjoy Koine’s version of He Stood Before the Court, a new addition to the WELSTech Music playlist.

Coming up on WELSTech:

Episode 493 – Community feedback is back, and you won’t want to miss the ultimate in pen, paper, and microwave geekery which was shared! Release date: Wednesday, April 19.

Get involved:

17 Tips for Staying Productive

Every so often I come across a blog post that is just worth a read and re-read on a regular basis. One of those for me is one called 17 Tips for Staying Productive in Ministry by Pastor Rick Warren. There is nothing genius about any of the tips. It’s not super in depth on any one point or provide neat step by steps on calendar management or anything like that. These tips are just that. Short, useful, common sense oriented, easy to remember tips that have helped me quite a bit, and I think they can help anybody who has a lot of things to do…especially related to ministry. I encourage you to read the whole article, but here are my top five:

  1. Put your plans on paper. Write out what you want to accomplish. Spell it out. Dawson Trotman said, ”Thoughts disentangle themselves when they pass through the lips and the fingertips.” If I can say it and I can write it down, then it’s clear. If I haven’t written it down, then it’s vague. A lot of us go around with anxiety which is this free-floating, vague fear that I’m not getting it all accomplished. Just the very fact of putting it down, a lot of times, gives credence and relief to your mind and you’re able to focus on it.
  2. Remind yourself of the benefits of completing the job. Jesus did this. The Bible says in Hebrews, that Jesus endured the cross because He looked to the joy beyond it. He looked beyond the cross and saw the result of it.
  3. Do a small part of it right now. In other words, Get started. Do a small part of it right now. Don’t stall. Take it a bite at a time and give it five minutes.
  4. Know your energy patterns and take advantage of peak times. Some of you are morning people. Some of you are night people. Have you learned that at some points in the day, you are brighter than at other times? You’re more alert, you have more energy. There are times when you’re habitually at your best. The only people who are at their best all the time are mediocre people.
  5. Enlist a partner. If you’ve got a big task and it’s up to you, you’ll probably procrastinate. But if you’ve got somebody else and can say, “We’re going to meet and get this thing going”, you’re more likely to get it done.

As I said, these are just a few of my favorites. I’ve found all 17 to be useful at one time or another.

Related resources

Over the years we’ve talked a lot about productivity resources on the WELSTech Podcast. So I won’t relist them here, but recently we discussed the “Bullet Journal” which fits nicely with these tips, as well as a series of reviews of the excellent book by Matt Perman entitled “What’s Best Next: How The Gospel Transforms the Way You Get Things Done.” Check those out as a good place to start on your productivity journey.

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491 – Bullet Journals

You won’t want to miss this week’s WELTech discussion of an analog system (a.k.a., Martin’s favorite medium – paper!) for managing tasks and lots more. We turn back time to look at the first year of WELSTech podcasting, and we feature news from LastPass, Holy Week devotions from MLC, great content on WhatAboutJesus.com and a special Easter video featuring the art of Jason Jaspersen.

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The interview and discussion:

BuJo for the analog win – Pastor Stephen Daley from St. Paul in South Haven, MI shares his bullet journaling experience with Martin and Sallie. Billed as the analog system for the digital age, Pastor Daley encourages those interested to try it for a month, and he says the key to success is regular review.

Countdown to episode 500:

On June 6, 2017, we plan to broadcast our 500th WELSTech episode. Look back at year 1, 2008, and episodes 1 to 52.

News in tech:

WELS now:

Picks of the week:

Ministry resources:

Top Reasons To Visit WhatAboutJesus.com

Featured video:

The newest addition on the WELSTech Artists YouTube playlist is The Good News of Christ from Motion Worship with artwork by Jason Jaspersen.

Coming up on WELSTech:

Episode 492 – The Social Media in Ministry series continues with tips on engaging online ambassadors.  Release date: Wednesday, April 12.

Get involved:

Top Ten Reasons to visit WhatAboutJesus.com

Perhaps one of the unsung heros of all the WELS internet properties is www.whataboutjesus.com. It’s primary purpose is to answer that very question that many people ask…what about Jesus? Who is he? Was he real? Why should I believe in him? How will he change my life? If you are not familiar with the site, I’ve put together a little “top ten” list of why you might want to tag this site as one of your “go to” digital evangelism tools.

#1: It addresses many of the common questions a person might have about Christianity in general, and Jesus in specific.

#2: It will provide even the seasoned Christian with a refresher on core theological topics and help them be even better prepared to “give the reason for the hope that they have.” (1 Peter 3:15)

#3: It provides daily devotions that can be read, emailed, or listened to via podcast. And then shared of course!

#4: It provides worship helps that will prepare new and old Christians for worship the following Sunday by listing the common readings and brief questions and answers on each.

#5: It provides “catechetical” aids that cover things like the Apostles Creed, Communion, the Lord’s Prayer, and other key topics that can sometimes be confusing.

#6: It provides an easy way to submit a prayer request. These requests are then passed along to people who have volunteered to pray for you and the requests you have. Everything is kept very confidential.

#7: It provides biblical answers to the relevant questions someone might have today concerning life, friends, and society. This site is not a stodgy set of “theological truths” that are hard to read, little lone understand. This is relevant content!

#8: It provides Bible studies that can be used in many contexts. They include studies on John, Colossians, Romans, Great Chapters of the Bible, and significant people of the Bible.

#9: It’s design is fresh and mobile friendly.

#10: It has a name that is easy to remember and share… What About Jesus? .com! (i.e. www.whataboutjesus.com)

As you can see it has a wealth of resources and many uses. Bookmark the site and remember to share it with your Christian friends as well as those who are just beginning to ask… “what about Jesus?”

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