Posts

Announcement screen photo courtesy of Joshua Schoeneck, Kettle Moraine Lutheran High School

Digital Signage + Google

Announcement screen photo courtesy of Joshua Schoeneck, Kettle Moraine Lutheran High School

Announcement screen photo courtesy of Joshua Schoeneck, Kettle Moraine Lutheran High School

Digital signage provides many communication benefits in church and school settings, displaying traditional paper-based announcements on scrolling screens with visually appealing graphics. Google hardware and software solutions now provide an affordable and easily manageable option for digital signage.

System requirements

Hardware required to implement the Google solution includes some type of video display with HDMI input. The video display could be a digital television or LCD monitor. You’ll also need a Chromebox or newer Chromebit. You can watch Martin unbox a Chromebit on WELSTech episode 499. Finally, to interface with the Chrome device you’ll need some type of wireless Keyboard and mouse device, such as the Logitech Illuminated Living-Room Keyboard K830 v.2.

On the software side, Google Apps Administrators will enroll and set up the Chrome device in the Google Administration panel using Chrome Sign Builder which is available in the Chrome Web Store. Watch the video below for a demonstration of the setup process, and reference this detailed help for Chrome Sign Builder.

Related resources

If you are looking for content to display on your digital sign, WELS Communication Services regularly updates a collection of images designed for digital signage display.

This half-hour webinar walks through the complete process of setting up the Chromebit in the Google Administration area as well as configuring a Google Slides file for display on the screen – Google Chrome Signage Webinar presented by Cloudbakers.

See All Ministry Resources

Print My Cal

Many churches and schools have adopted Google Calendar to maintain schedules for worship, events, team practice and games, parent teacher conferences, and much more. The web-based, user friendly calendaring tool is powerful enough to take on your most challenging recurring events. Plus it handles shared permissioning and calendar collaboration with ease. And it can be embedded on your web site so that calendar updates automatically display to website visitors.

There’s just one small shortcoming of Google Calendar – its print capabilities. Because churches and schools often want to share printed copies of the calendar in newsletters and on bulletin boards, the quality of the printed calendar is important.

From this need to print well formatted Google Calendars, Print My Cal was born. Print My Cal connects to your Google Calendar, allows you to format and save your print layout, and creates a downloadable PDF and/or RTF version of the calendar for editing and sharing. It does all this through your browser on any device – desktop, laptop, Chromebook, tablet, or smartphone. There’s no software to install.

If you are looking for a printing solution that lives up to all of the other great features of Google Calendar, check out the Print My Cal utility. The overview video below walks through the basics of using the site.

See All Ministry Resources

504 – I Remember Those Funny Codes

WELSTech’s summer series, featuring Ministry Resources, continues this week. Apple makes an interesting move which causes us to take another look at the QR Codes for church and school communication. We also bring you good news regarding sharing Google Photo libraries as well as repurposing sermon content in creative ways.

The discussion:

Point and shoot – The release of the latest version of Apple’s mobile operating system, iOS 11, includes a camera update to recognize QR (Quick Response) Codes natively. Perhaps it’s time to take a second look at Communicating with QR Codes.

Picks of the week:

Community feedback:

Featured video:

Enjoy Koine’s version of Lord, When Your Glory I Shall See, new on the WELSTech Music playlist on YouTube.

Coming up on WELSTech:

Episode 505 – Tune in for the latest installment of our summer ministry resources series. Release date: Wednesday, July 12.

Get involved:

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.

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:

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.

See All Ministry Resources

489 – Showered With Community Feedback

This week WELSTech hosts Martin and Sallie take time out from wedding showers to share some great community feedback. There’s lots to learn – from Google news to electronic giving to several sites for learning math. Apple’s latest announcement may have you seeing red, MLC invites you to tour Luther land, and Sallie shares a video gold mine.

The discussion:

Community chatter – This week Martin and Sallie share the latest news and discussions on the WELSTech social scene.

News in tech:

Apple’s iPad upgrades makes it cheaper and faster that the iPad Air 2

WELS now:

Celebrate Reformation 500 with Martin Luther CollegeConsider a 2018 Tour of Luther Lands

Picks of the week:

Ministry resources:

WELS Video On Vimeo

Featured video:

From the Google Plus Office 365 Schools discussion, we learn more about FluidMath, Tablet and Interactive Whiteboard Math Software, a new addition to the WELSTech Product Demo playlist.

Coming up on WELSTech:

Episode 490 – Jason Schmidt joins Sallie for what promises to be a lively edtech discussion. Release date: Wednesday, March 29.

Get involved:

437 – Lots of Things to Bookmark!

This week on WELSTech the community of viewers share links and ideas including open source resources for educators, using Google Keep for notetaking, several free conferences and webinars, and a great deal on Microsoft Office 2016 for school faculty and staff. Martin shares a method for granting emergency access to your LastPass account, plus the listener-contributed ministry resource may prove helpful for those developing materials for Bible and religion classes.

The discussion:

crownOfThorns145x125The community speaks – Martin and Sallie share all of the latest news and discussion from the various WELSTech channels.

WELS now:

Take the WELSTech Photo Challenge for March

Picks of the week:

Ministry resources:

A Helpful List of Short Apologetic Videos

Featured video:

Consider using this video as a discussion starter – Did Jesus Rise from the Dead? – new on the WELSTech Presentation & Teaching playlist on YouTube.

Coming up on WELSTech:

Episode 438 – Martin is away, but Jason Schmidt is a sunny stand-in as we discuss robotics and virtual reality in the classroom. Release date: Thursday, March 31

Get involved:

433 – Feedback and Skinny Snowmen

On WELSTech this week the community is front and center as we share feedback and explore new tech finds that can have a positive impact on church, school and personal ministry. Tech news includes a controversial customer letter from Apple, and this week’s picks leads to an “official” name for a new design element from Google.

The discussion:

skinnySnowman2 145x125From all the channels – Martin and Sallie share tips and tricks from the WELSTech audience via all our social channels. From printing the moon to church websites to digital media, there’s WELSTech goodness of all flavors represented!

News in tech:

Picks of the week:

Ministry resources:

On My Heart Lutheran Memory Work Program

Featured video:

New to the WELSTech “Like’s” list on Vimeo is a promotional video tour of Divine Savior Lutheran Academy in Doral, FL.

Coming up on WELSTech:

Episode 434 – Gail Potratz is in the {virtual} house for what promises to be a lively discussion of the edtech horizon. Don’t miss it! Release date: Wednesday, March 2

Get involved:

431 – Our Digital Habitats

This week’s WELSTech features a discussion of the hardware, software, browser extensions and devices which Martin and Sallie use in their day-to-day digital work. We also take a look at the newly redesigned Martin Luther College web site, discuss open source church software and feature a video from Lakeside Lutheran High School’s uber popular YouTube channel.

The discussion:

mergedc145x79Information workers – Martin and Sallie share the tech that makes them smile {big monkey grins}!

Hardware

Desktop

Software

Browser & Extensions

Devices

News in tech:

Google for Education Presents – Content 2.0 Webinar

WELS now:

Ministry resources:

Open Source Church Software Roundup

Featured video:

This week we feature Lakeside Lutheran High School’s Soaring to New Heights video on the WELSTech Promo YouTube Playlist.

Coming up on WELSTech:

Episode 432 – Chapter 6 of With All Your Heart, the WELSTech book project, is on the docket. The focus will be volunteers, and we’ll talk with folks from the Member Ministry team at St. Paul’s Lutheran in New Ulm, MN. Release date: Wednesday, February 17

Get involved:

423 – You Can’t Forget Bob Ross!

WELSTech wraps up 2015’s community feedback with a lengthy list of notable sites, mobile apps and videos covering all types of ministry applications. There are special tech deals, news of a new STEM classroom, and church history resources shared as well. Let’s make some happy little clouds in our world!

The discussion:

Bob RossSpotlight the community – As we often say on WELSTech, we learn and grow our use of technology in ministry when listeners share their first-hand experience “with the class.” This episode is dedicated to just that as we share recent community feedback we’ve received from across our many WELSTech channels. And there’s a happy little waterfall happening over here!

News in tech:

WELS now:

Take the December WELSTech Photo Challenge! We’re looking for photos of Advent, Christmas and John 1:9. Submit your entries at welstech.wels.net/photochallenge, and don’t forget to browse our public domain image album at bit.ly/wtchallengealbumIn life you need colors!

Picks of the week:

Ministry resources:

Featured video:

Enjoy the Advent music of WELS artist Mike Westendorf as he sings In the Waiting – Oh Come, Oh Come Emmanuel from the WELSTech Music YouTube Playlist.

Coming up on WELSTech:

Episode 424 – Tune in for our special Christmas week interview with Pastor Paul Prange, Administrator of WELS Ministerial Education. Trees get lonely too, so we’ll give him a little friend! Release date: Wednesday, December 23

Get involved: