662 – From LEGOs to Email

WELSTech is back with LEGO news and a wrap up of the book discussion of A World Without Email. Martin shares a free tool for creating diagrams and flowcharts, and the community mail bag includes the ability to ride along with a raindrop. Did we mention LEGOs?

The discussion

Every techie loves LEGOs, so it’s appropriate we offer huge WELSTech congrats to Caleb and Jacob Schilling, WELS members recently featured on Season 2 of LEGO Masters.

Protocols & Specialization – Martin and Sallie conclude the discussion of A World Without Email by Cal Newport with practical suggestions for improving workflow and moving away from the hyperactive hive mind way of working.

Picks of the week

Community feedback

Coming next on WELSTech

A new season of WELSTech kicks off, loaded with all kinds of WELSTech goodness, of course! We welcome guest hosts Rachel Feld and Jason Schmidt as well as Paul Patterson from the Lutheran Schools Office who will preview the upcoming WELS Education Conference 2022. All that, and we’re adding video to the show too!

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661 – Adding Value to Information

This week on WELSTech, we resume the book discussion of A World Without Email by Cal Newport with chapters 4 & 5, all about knowledge work processes. Martin shares his first blog post in a “Getting Into Vlogging” series, and Sallie has news about free Bible verse motion video content for church screens.

Ford assembly line, 1913 – via Wikipedia

The discussion

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Manage the Workflow – Martin and Sallie share thoughts on chapters 4 & 5 of A World Without Email by Cal Newport, which begins to explore improved options for knowledge workers to offset the hyperactive hive mind.

Picks of the week

Community feedback

Coming next on WELSTech

The book discussion concludes with a discussion of chapters 6 & 7 and the conclusion of A World Without Email by Cal Newport.

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camera

Getting Into Vlogging – Part 1

Vlogging is the act of creating and adding content to a “vlog” or “video blog” (think YouTube). Vlogging a term often used by content creators on YouTube, or “YouTubers” when talking about their craft. The advent of good quality video cameras on phones, like the iPhone, has launched a generation of videographers eager to use the internet to get their message out there. At last count nearly 500 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube EVERY MINUTE!

Just for fun, here are few more fun facts about YouTube:

  • There are 2.3 billion YouTube users world-wide
  • 79% of all internet users say they have a YouTube account
  • YouTube viewers watch over 1 billion hours of video each day
  • 62% of US-based businesses use YouTube to post video content
  • 70% of YouTube views come on mobile devices
  • 90% of people say they discovered new products or brands on YouTube

It is a compelling platform that millions use either to consume video or the subject of this blog post — to create it.

Today it’s becoming very common to find those in ministry (pastors, teachers, staff ministers, lay leaders) using vlogs to deliver their content, whether that be a devotion, lesson or other ministry-related content. Pastors might want to “vlog” shorter devotions, mini Bible studies, congregational reports, sermon “extras”, topical counseling tips, flipped catechism lessons, and, well you get the idea. Teachers have just as many vlogging opportunities. The obvious application are flipped classroom lessons, but others include parent updates, educational or how-to videos for colleagues, individual instruction for virtual students or those with specific needs, and even recordings for assessments and personal growth.

There are many use cases for getting into vlogging. Just think of all the written content you produce and ask, “Would creating a video enhance this content in some way, or increase its likelihood of being “seen?” When it comes to communications, those are the two big questions: how to amplify it and how to increase its useful viewership.

For those of you who have decided to get started, you probably are starting with using your smart phone to capture audio and video, and then uploading to YouTube or your ministries web site. You try to find a pleasing background and a space without too much competing light or especially noise. Great. But this series of blog posts, and subsequent vlogs will outline how to up that game a little bit with techniques and equipment. Why? Mostly because we now are publishing content in a world full of high production quality video. We don’t want, nor could we match, them, but it is important to recognize the gap between what people watch on YouTube, and our stuff. So things we can reasonably do to improve quality will be worth it —  balancing cost, complexity and results of course.

Today I’ll start by sharing just a baseline camera setup for vlogging created by Brian Urbanek of GoldWing Productions LLC. This recommendation was created for WELS Special Ministries “Gospel Hands” — a video signing project for the deaf and hard of hearing. Here is part of the recommendation’s introduction:

Because the intent is for the equipment to be operated by volunteers, the highest consideration went into the ease of use for each piece of equipment, while still being able to achieve a certain level of quality. Ideally, all of the gear should be operable by a single person, should they need to carry this work out alone.

Camera Kit

Goal

To have a camera that can shoot 4K and have as professional of a look as possible, for the lowest cost possible. These cameras are all very popular among vloggers and YouTube content creators, as they have been created specifically for that demographic. They all feature a pop-out screen to be able to see yourself before and during filming.

Sony ZV-1 (my recommendation)

Cost: $778 @ Adorama

  • This kit comes with an included 64 GB SD card, extra battery, and battery charger
  • PRO: Digital bokeh (more of a mirrorless camera look)
  • PRO: 4K up to 30fps
  • PRO: f/1.8 lens
  • PRO: great out of focus background

Other options: Canon G7X II or III, Canon M50, Sony a6400

Note: If purchasing after August 31, 2021 you may want to consider the newer model (Sony ZV-E10)

Final camera recommendation

The Sony ZV-1 camera is a favorite among YouTube content creators. It shoots at 4K video and has great autofocus capabilities, allowing the subject to always be in focus. It’s capable of creating a slightly blurry background, mimicking a slightly more cinematic look compared to the other two Canons on the list.

– above recommendation by Brian Urbanek

If you are interested in this camera I recorded a brief review of it myself below using the actual unit.

As you can see it records clear and color accurate video. There is no distortion, and it truly is a dream to operate.

Next time we’ll address lighting and backdrop recommendations.


Credits: Featured image courtesy of Jonathan Cutrer

660 – Is Email Making Us Miserable?

The WELSTech book discussion of A World Without Email by Cal Newport continues this week with chapters 2 & 3. Martin is excited about a new bookmark manager that ends a multi-year search for a suitable tool. And Sallie is off in space maintaining the stations.

The discussion

A Mind of Its Own – Martin and Sallie dive into chapters 2 & 3 of A World Without Email by Cal Newport, which look at the genesis of email and similar technologies and how tech can take on its own, unexpected usage and consequences.

Picks of the week

Community feedback

Coming next on WELSTech

The book discussion continues as we look at chapters 4 & 5 of A World Without Email by Cal Newport.

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Book - A World without E-mail - welstech

659 – Are You Checking Your Email Again?

After a bit of a hiatus, WELSTech is back, and we’re kicking off a book discussion of A World Without Email by Cal Newport. Google goodness, more reading, and tech-in-ministry practical solutions for network management and video editing round out the rest of the show.

Book - A World without E-mail - welstechThe discussion

Martin and Sallie start a new book discussion of A World Without Email by Cal Newport. Pastor Peter Hagen shared the book idea after listening to an author interview on episode 403 of the Carey Nieuwhof podcast. Today we cover the Introduction and Chapter 1, and we learn about the “Hyperactive Hive Mind.”

Picks of the week

Community feedback

Coming next on WELSTech

The book discussion continues as we look at chapters 2 & 3 of A World Without Email by Cal Newport.

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658 – Dan Schmidt

On WELSTech this week we wrap up the summer “techy-Sem-theses” interview series with recent Sem graduate, Pastor Dan Schmidt, on today’s gospel ministry in a time of dramatically changing media. App and YouTube picks plus a full calendar of WELS events round out this episode.

The interview

Martin and Sallie talk with Pastor Dan Schmidt, a recent Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary (WLS) graduate assigned to Luther Preparatory School in Watertown, WI, about his senior thesis titled Changing Media and the Changeless Message: Sharing the Gospel Through New Media. You may read the essay in the WLS Digital Library (PDF).

Picks of the week

WELS now

Community feedback

A Google inside street view discussion from WELS Intersections

Coming next on WELSTech

We kick off a new book discussion of A World Without Email by Cal Newport. Pastor Peter Hagen shared the book idea after listening to an author interview on episode 403 of the Carey Nieuwhof podcast.

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657 – Caleb Schaewe

Our summer WELSTech interview series continues. This week we talk with recent Sem graduate, Pastor Caleb Schaewe, about the blessings and opportunities around a Christian’s use of social media and the pastor’s role in nurturing it.

The interview

A recent graduate of Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary (WLS), Pastor Caleb Schaewe was assigned to serve Shepherd of the Lakes Lutheran Church in Linden, MI. In this interview, Martin and Sallie discuss his  WLS senior thesis titled Shepherding Digital Sheep: Pastoral Responsibility Regarding Members’ Use of Social Media. You may read the essay in the WLS Digital Library (PDF).

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656 – Dominick Olson

On this episode of WELSTech we kick off a series of interviews with recent graduates of Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary on their tech-in-ministry related senior theses topics. First up, we look at the role virtual reality might play in future ministry efforts.

The interview

Pastor Dominick Olson recently graduated from Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary (WLS) and was assigned to Resurrection Lutheran Church in Rochester, MN. His senior thesis at WLS was titled Putting the Reality in Virtual Reality: A Look at the Viability of Virtual Reality for Applications in Ministry. You may read the essay in the WLS Digital Library (PDF). Martin and Sallie talk with him about the topic.

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655 – COVID In The Rearview Mirror

On this episode of WELSTech, we close out the school year with guest hosts Rachel and Jason by reflecting on lessons learned. The picks of the week cover everything from scheduling to audio books to texting tools, with a little gaming bonus as well. Rachel shares Bible lesson A/V resources she’s compiled and details about MLC’s free summer conference!

The discussion

Goodbye to school year 2020-21 – Martin and Sallie are joined once again by Prof. Rachel Feld from Martin Luther College and Jason Schmidt from the Oconto Falls School District, and we reflect on lessons learned during this school year and the importance of summer rest for our superhero teachers.

Picks of the week

Ministry resource

Bible Lesson Media Resources

Community feedback

WELS now

OpenLearning@MLC – a free virtual conference hosted by martin Luther College on June 15 & 16

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654 – More iDols

On this episode of WELSTech we feature the second half of our iDols interview with Pastor Christopher Ewings. There’s also discussion of a hardware solution for fast internet, great deals on the Microsoft suite of tools, using Facebook Groups for private church connections, stock imagery, and newsletters. And our synod schools are sharing graduation and assignment events happening in the coming week!

The interview

Know the end game – This week we share part 2 of Martin and Sallie’s discussion with Pastor Christopher Ewings from Faith Lutheran Church in Anchorage, AK on his recent iDols: Putting technology in its proper place Bible study. Listen to part 1 of the interview on episode 653.

Picks of the week

Ministry resource

The Sizeable Benefit of Creating Facebook Groups For Your Church

Community feedback

WELS now

Graduation and Assignments

  • Martin Luther College
    • Concert – May 14 at 4:00 pm & 7:30 pm
    • Graduation and assignments – May 15 at 10:00 am
  • Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary
    • Vicar assignments – May 19 at 7:00 pm
    • Pastor assignments – May 20 at 10:00 am
    • Concert – May 20 at 7:00 pm
    • Graduation – May 21 at 10:00 am

Next time

Jason Schmidt and Rachel Feld wrap up the school year edtech podcasts

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