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532 – Sharpening Your Bible Study

If there is one skill you want sharp, it’s Bible Study. Today’s technology tools make that easier than ever with online bibles, bible studies, tools, and more. Today’s picks are “google-centric” and there’s a great interview with Pastor Brock Groth, the man behind understandchristianity.com.

The discussion:

Rooted and built up – The topic of “Sharpening Your Skills” naturally leads the Christian to consider ways to grow their knowledge of God’s Word. Martin and Sallie discuss digital Bible features, resources from WELS and Northwestern Publishing House (NPH) for being in the Word, and ways to incorporate Bible study into meetings, journaling and social media.

The interview:

Understand Christianity – Pastor Brock Groth from St. Mark’s Lutheran Church in Citrus Heights, CA shares the story behind his website, UnderstandChristianity.com. What started as a book effort is now an informative site, featuring notes from Pastor Groth’s Seminary studies transformed into informative posts on Bible teachings and popular Timelines.

WELS now:

Picks of the week:

Ministry resources:

Shepherd’s Staff 2018

Community feedback:

Featured video:

Minnesota District President Charles Degner’s sermon on 1 Peter 1:10-12 is a great encouragement study God’s Word, our great heritage! Watch the archived live stream of the MN District Reformation 500 service from the The Chapel of the Christ at Martin Luther College. The sermon begins at the 1:02:00 mark in the video.

 Coming up on WELSTech:

Episode 533 – Helping others sharpen their skills can be a challenge. Tune in for a WELSTech discussion on the topic. Release date: Wednesday, January 24.

Get involved:

506 – Robot Ministry

This week on WELSTech Sallie shares the details of a robotics camp she and Kevin ran last week. Chromebook tips and classroom screen sharing round out a show focused on education…and ministry.

The discussion:

iBot, uBot, mBot – Sallie shares her recent Robot Camp experience and how the format can be replicated in church or school settings.

Picks of the week:

Community feedback:

Featured video:

This week we feature one of the most popular videos ever from Your Time of Grace – 4 Tips For Reading Your Bible – on the WELSTech Instructional playlist on YouTube.

Coming up on WELSTech:

Episode 507 – Martin is up to bat in the summer ministry resources series. Tune in. It’s sure to be a tech home run for your ministry! Release date: Wednesday, July 26.

Get involved:

Robot Camp

Recently my husband and I hosted a Robot Camp – 5 nights and 8 young men entering 6-9 grade, each with an mBot robot building kit and a computer for programming the mBot. The kids who attended learned about the inner workings of robots – things like electromagnetism in motors and echolocation in distance sensors. They built their robots then spent the remainder of the week learning coding so their robots could do tricks. The concepts taught and methods used could be duplicated in school, after-school or camp settings throughout our synod.

The students arrived with varying degrees of programming knowledge and experience, so to get started, we used the free printable Coding a LEGO maze resource (without LEGOs) from the Research Parent site. It’s a great “unplugged” way to introduce coding concepts including if statements and loops.

After that warm-up, we moved on to coding in mBlock. mBlock is based on the popular graphical coding language Scratch. What differentiates mBlock from Scratch is the addition of Robot commands to control LED lights, sound, movement, distance sensing and line following. mBlock commands are transmitted to the robot via a USB cable included with the robot.

Visit the mBlock download page to install the free software. Besides using mBlock on PC, Mac and Linux computers, there is also a mobile app and a Chrome browser version of the software which is in beta. If you need help, check out the Getting Started with mBlock guide.

Coding concepts we covered during the week included ….

  • If-then-else statements
  • Loops
  • Variables
  • Random numbers
  • Custom blocks, a.k.a. subroutines

With those tools in their arsenal, the students were able to create all types of programs for their robots, including …

  • Sounds – police siren and ice cream truck
  • Songs – including Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star and the Star Wars Imperial March
  • Lights
  • Speed
  • Turns
  • Line sensor
  • Multiple programs with press of a button
  • Obstacle avoidance
  • Mazes – required precise speed, distance and turns
  • BattleBot arena – avoid collisions and stay in the arena the longest

We shopped around a bit and found the mBots at Monoprice.com for $69.99. At that price point, they proved to be a great option for teaching robotics basics as well as introducing coding concepts.

mBot Robot Kit – One Robot Per Child

See All Ministry Resources

478 – 2017: Focus on Ministry Resources

WELSTech starts the new year with a resolution — more and better ministry resources! We kick of the new year with a Bible reading plan and morning routine resources. Join us for 2017 as we find intersections between technology and ministry.

The discussion:

WELSTechversary – Martin and Sallie discuss the milestone 9th anniversary of the weekly WELSTech podcast and share plans for in-depth Ministry Resource posts in 2017.

The interview:

Sphero, my hero – Mark Meyer, Technology Director at Immanuel Lutheran Church and School in Greenvile, WI, shares his experience introducing coding at the grade school level using Code.org and Sphero, a small robot which lets students have a ball!

WELS now:

New Interactive Faith webcasts start February 1 at 6 pm and 8 pm CST

  • Led by Rev. Randy Hunter from St. Andrew Lutheran Church in Madison, WI
  • A study on enriching marriages. Couples will have the opportunity to build their marriage on the gospel of Jesus through the study entitled “Mysterious Marriage.” This study will examine how the gospel gives you the power to be married and how marriage gives you a way to show the gospel.

Picks of the week:

Ministry resources:

Featured video:

Watch Immanuel is a Thankful Church!, shared by Mark Meyer and the newest addition to the WELSTech “Likes” list on Vimeo.

Coming up on WELSTech:

Episode 479 – Martin and Sallie take a deep dive into using YouTube for ministry. Release date: Wednesday, December 11.

Get involved:

438 – Robotics in Education

This week on WELSTech Martin is away, but the show must go on! Sallie and guest host Jason Schmidt discuss robotics in education. The show also includes news of Latin American mission tech-enhanced outreach, a review of the best smartphone, and audio books for your listening pleasure.

The discussion:

First TeamStorming the castle – Sallie is joined by guest host Jason Schmidt, Tech Coordinator in the Bennington Public School District in the Omaha, NE area and the edtech discussion centers on a popular STEM topic, robotics. Jason recently returned from the Iowa Regional FIRST Robotics Competition (Team 5906), one of many regional high school robotics competitions sponsored by FIRST.

News in tech:

Samsung Galaxy S7 named top smartphone by Consumer Reports

WELS now:

Gospel Outreach With Media online conference

Picks of the week:

Ministry resources:

Watch the March 2016 Update from WELSTech friend, Missionary Mike Hartman, regarding online outreach efforts via Academia Cristo.

Featured video:

Learn more about FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC) in this new WELSTech Promo playlist video.

Coming up on WELSTech:

Episode 439 – Always in need of tweaking, tune in for tips to sharpen your personal productivity skills. Release date: Wednesday, April 6

Get involved: