The Tech-Enhanced Ministry series continues with today’s episode of WELSTech, and Martin and Sallie share their favorite tech for being productive. Today’s show also includes discussion of photo albums for events or projects, smart bulbs, video production training, and media resources to support Bible lessons.
Personal Productivity – A common thread throughout WELSTech history is the discussion of personal productivity and the technology that supports it. Martin and Sallie tackle the topic again on this episode, breaking productivity down in terms of capture techniques and tools, storage, calendar and tasks, hardware, and consistent review practices.
WELSTech headlines with a discussion of tools to keep you productive, wherever you are. Also in this episode, learn about a great blog to follow for ministry tech topics, organizing passwords, taking smart notes, and live streaming devices.
WELSTech is back with the final installment of our Atomic Habits book discussion as well as an interview about cyber security training for children. Martin and Sallie make their last picks of 2020, and we learn about captioning video calls. The beautiful Christmas concert from Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary closes this last podcast before Christmas, and we send our best wishes to WELSTech listeners for a joyous celebration of our Savior’s birth.
Make It Satisfying – Just in time to apply to the new year, Martin and Sallie finish their book discussion of Atomic Habits by James Clear with a look at the 4th law and taking your habits from good to great.
Security education – MLC second-career staff ministry student Mike Tracy shares his experience in cyber security training, and, in particular, his thoughts on training children about information security.
Tune in to this week’s WELSTech for a great discussion of the 3rd Law of Atomic Habits. Stay tuned in for a little bit of Elon, Van Gogh, virtual team building, and hymn previews plus lots more WELSTech goodness to enhance your public and personal ministry efforts!
Reduce friction – Martin and Sallie return to the book discussion of James Clear’s Atomic Habits, this week focusing on the 3rd Law, Make It Easy (chapters 11-14). Sallie even has a (short) chat with the author!
This week on WELSTech we share the story of one school’s largely digital rebranding efforts that gave them community recognition and a large enrollment increase. We also have more from our Atomic Habits book discussion, a couple of great picks of the week, free early childhood education resources and more!
Rebranding for Outreach – Brian Polfer serves on the Board of Education at Carlsbad Christian Academy, the school ministry of Beautiful Saviour Lutheran Church, Carlsbad, CA. He joins Martin and Sallie to share details of the steps they took to more than quadruple their school enrollment this year – from changing the school name to Google and Facebook advertising to a mobile-friendly website and more.
https://welstech.wels.net/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/BrianPolfer1200x900.jpg9001200Sallie Draperhttps://welstech.wels.net/wp-content/uploads/2017/06/000welsTechLogoEnfoldnew.pngSallie Draper2020-11-03 15:00:532021-09-21 12:37:31641 – Make It Attractive
Tune in for 52 minutes of WELSTech goodness including great tips on habit forming as well as special guest insight into the tech behind world mission work. There’s also recycling tips for old devices, Bible commentary discounts, church WordPress themes, and the perfect YouTube channel for budding videographers.
Implementation and stacking – Martin and Sallie continue their book discussion of Atomic Habits by James Clear, looking at starting new habits, motivation, and the secret of self-control (chapters 4-7).
Pastor Paul Nitz recently returned from 25+ years of service as missionary to God’s people in Malawi and central Africa. Hear about his new role in World Missions and the tech that makes it all happen!
BONUS: Check out Pastor Nitz’s OneNote template for meetings for ideas on how templates can improve your work processes. Pastor Nitz writes, “I create the template in Excel and paste it in. I always choose to put in a page color to make the tables pop out. That, for me, takes care of the one thing about OneNote I really DON’T like, the huge colorless blank canvass effect.”
https://welstech.wels.net/wp-content/uploads/2020/10/PaulNitz3.jpg800800Sallie Draperhttps://welstech.wels.net/wp-content/uploads/2017/06/000welsTechLogoEnfoldnew.pngSallie Draper2020-10-06 15:16:582021-09-21 12:37:33639 – Make It Obvious
This week, WELSTech starts fresh for the 2020-21 podcast season with a revised show lineup, a great interview on 21st century catechism, a new book discussion, and a couple of hardware picks of the week. There’s also community discussions around Instagram for ministry, Google for Education application requirements, and document camera recommendations. We cap it off with a celebration of 100 years of Campus Ministry!
Back to the books – Martin and Sallie kickoff a new book discussion of Atomic Habits by James Clear with a look at the mathematics of compounding tiny changes over time to reach the tipping point and benefit from the exponential “power of latent potential.”
Catechism instruction – Pastor Paul Waldschmidt from Peace Lutheran Church in Hartford, WI recently taught a summer course at Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary titled Educational Technology for the Catechism Classroom. He chats with Martin and Sallie about the methods and tools he implemented in order to foster the 4Cs identified as 21st century skills – create, communicate, collaborate, and critical thinking – in his classroom.
WELSTech Summer has arrived with an abbreviated show format and a break from pandemic discussions this week. We’re talking productivity, including tips to stay productive long term. A new Googly podcast, wired internet solutions, progressive web apps, online lesson planning tools, and an awesome song are all part of the conversation. Press play now!
Productive summer ahead – Martin and Sallie kick off the WELSTech Summer with a discussion of a recent blog post titled 7 Rules for Staying Productive Long-Term. The conversation also includes ideas for cleaning up your digital footprint this summer.
It is no secret that Chromebooks rule the one-to-one computing space in classrooms across WELS. I don’t have exact numbers but anecdotal observations suggest that those schools who are committed to putting computers on classroom desks have gone the route of Chromebooks or have plans to do so. And it isn’t too hard to see why. They are fairly inexpensive, easy to configure with central management tools, and fast to load and operate. Yes, you still see “traditional” Windows computers and also iPads, but by volume the numbers aren’t even close.
But what about the church or school office. At least in my visits, I rarely see faculty and staff with Chromebooks as their primary computing device. The reasons for that are also obvious, or at least they used to be. Chromebooks have very little storage, they don’t allow the installation of “traditional” office type applications like Microsoft Word and Outlook, and they don’t function well if “offline” mode, so an internet connection is a must.
Those “we can’t use a Chromebook in the office because…” reasons have pretty much evaporated! Microsoft has made their Office apps web accessible. So if you get a Word doc or Excel spreadsheet from someone you can now open it, even on a Chromebook. On top of that, modern Chromebooks now allow the installation of Android apps, so you essentially get “apps” that provide Office, or many other installable programs, which improve their usability and offline capabilities.
OK. What about the storage thing? No longer an issue either. Chromebooks come with more and more storage, or SD/USB drives to do it as well. However, with the popularity of cloud storage, local storage is less and less an issue. I have a traditional computer with 500 gigabytes of storage. I hardly use any of it since the benefits of keeping things online outweigh having things “offline.”
What about connectivity requirements of Chromebooks? What if you are on a plane or someplace where the internet isn’t. While those internet dark spots are fewer and farther between, Chromebooks and their apps now do a much better job of allowing offline access to applications and files you deem important.
One other objection to Chromebooks in the office is that most of the available hardware just isn’t as well built and easy to use as “real” computers. I’m writing this on a Chromebook, a $299 Chromebook from Acer, the R11. I’m impressed. While an 11 inch screen wouldn’t be the first choice for this fifty-something eyes, it is actually pleasant to look at, a touch screen, flips over to use in tablet mode, and it’s resolution is more than sufficient for any tasks I’ve tried on it. In addition, it comes with a built in HDMI port for easy connection to an external monitor.
While this isn’t an article about the R11, I do have to say it is a very nice piece of computing hardware. It has two USB ports (one 2.0 and one 3.0), an SD card slot, and audio jack. But perhaps the best parts of the R11 are the input tools, the keyboard and trackpad. Awesome…especially for a device that is $299. The keyboard keys have nice “travel”, is full size, and have a nice texture to them. If I have one complaint, it’s that they aren’t backlit. The trackpad is a nice size, smooth and very responsive. There are a number of configurations available including Intel versions. I’m using the slower Celeron version, but find it perfectly usable.
I’m sold. I think in most office situations, Chromebooks are viable, and in some cases preferable. They are more secure, great battery life and of course, cheaper. There are of course certain use cases that might be more challenges. I can think of serious video editing, perhaps even page layout, although there are online options for both, plus the option for Android apps. Your mileage may vary, but I think it’s worth a try. The upsides are worth the look.
https://welstech.wels.net/wp-content/uploads/2017/12/AcerChromebookR11_CB5-132T_white-photogallery-01.png380420Martin Spriggshttps://welstech.wels.net/wp-content/uploads/2017/06/000welsTechLogoEnfoldnew.pngMartin Spriggs2017-12-05 07:20:112021-09-21 12:41:35The State of Chromebooks in the Office
Rarely do productivity tips have such an impact on my life as one I picked up years ago from reading David Allen’s excellent book “Getting Things Done.” And rarely do tips I implement stick with me this long. But the tip I call “waiting for” is one I think so highly of, that today I elevate to a ministry resource. It is one of the handiest time stewardship tools I have, and I have found it invaluable in getting projects unstuck, helping co-workers/volunteers and me stay “on task”, and in general one of the only tips I’ve ever found that improves my mental health. It’s easy. Here is how it works…
Every time you ask somebody to do something (answer a question, complete a task, provide feedback, you name it), note in some kind of capture system (electronic or analog):
what you asked/expect,
of whom you asked it, and
when you made the request.
So for instance, I ask one of my staff to email me their budget request for next year. I note the who, the what and the when of that encounter. Then at the end of each week, or more often as I have time, I review this “waiting for” list to clean up those “delegations” that have been completed, or take the opportunity to remind somebody of something I’m still waiting for.
My brain doesn’t have to try and remember the who, what and when. It just has to know I’ve captured it and will be able to review those things to circle back if necessary. One of my biggest sources of stress was always trying to remember not only when I made such a request, but even IF I had. I can’t tell you how many projects have become “unstuck” because I simply was able to return to a key moment that a request was made and others are in a holding pattern until something gets done. That “something” is now concrete, not just a fading memory that my brain churns and worries over unnecessarily.
The question I bet your asking, and perhaps the most enjoyable part of the tip, at least for me anyway is, where do you capture this stuff? Where is this magical “waiting for” list? Well that depends. For me, I’d say 90% of all the items on my list are captured within email. I like to use email because it is “in writing.” Perhaps more for my own sanity than anything else. I have to be clear, can use bulleted text, and can ultimately search it if necessary. What I’m “waiting for” isn’t always a return email, but that’s OK. I do have a record of the request at the very least, which, guess what…has the recipient, the time sent and the request itself in the body of the email. Perfect.
The mechanics of doing this in email is the point of my quick screencast below. But to whet your appetite, it’s super easy. By simply cc’ing yourself you can automate the tucking away of said email for future reference without you having to do anything more than hit send. See the video below for how to set this up in either Outlook or Gmail. It can easily be done in other email clients as well.
If it’s not an email, perhaps a verbal conversation (of all things!), a voicemail left, a post it note left on a desk, an instant message or text message, there are a myriad of options. If it’s digital at all, I use OneNote. I simply have a Notebook with a tab called “Waiting For”. I can take pictures with my phone, copy and paste text, even drag a voice mail. I can also jot down the relevant info with my finger on the phone app version. Sometimes I just leave a voice memo for myself right in OneNote. It is a super tool for this kind of stuff. As you can tell, I’m a big fan of OneNote, but any tool like this would serve you well (Apple Notes, Evernote, Google Keep, etc.). The key is to have as few “inboxes” as possible. For me I have my “waiting for” list in one email folder and one OneNote section. Anything beyond that would get a little complicated.
That is not to say that you couldn’t do this with pen and paper either. The trick is that it needs to be easy and always with you. For years, before I transitioned to the smartphone/OneNote approach, I used a wallet from David Allen called the TriFold Notetaker. Unfortunately it isn’t made anymore. However, for guys, any wallet with a small pad of paper and pen will do. Ladies, same thing. Just find a small notebook as your “capture” device. Then once you have those notes (remember who, what, when), you need a place to store those and then go through the contents each week to review all the week’s “waiting for” items. A file folder would work, but make sure it’s in plain site.
If you’d like to learn more about this “waiting for” list concept, just do a quick Google search on “getting things done waiting for list” and you’ll get hundreds of approaches as examples. You’ll find what works best for you. The important part of this “ministry resource” is to start capturing those “waiting for” items, keep stuff moving forward and comfort your brain that you’ve got things “under control!”
Click on the different category headings to find out more. You can also change some of your preferences. Note that blocking some types of cookies may impact your experience on our websites and the services we are able to offer.
Essential Website Cookies
These cookies are strictly necessary to provide you with services available through our website and to use some of its features.
We provide you with a list of stored cookies on your computer in our domain so you can check what we stored. Due to security reasons we are not able to show or modify cookies from other domains. You can check these in your browser security settings.
Other external services
We also use different external services like Google Webfonts, Google Maps, and external Video providers. Since these providers may collect personal data like your IP address we allow you to block them here. Please be aware that this might heavily reduce the functionality and appearance of our site. Changes will take effect once you reload the page.
Google Webfont Settings:
Google Map Settings:
Google reCaptcha Settings:
Vimeo and Youtube video embeds: