Episode 011 – The Gift of Media

011This month we’re featuring an interview with Dr. Eugene Gan, associate professor of communication arts at Franciscan University of Steubenville and author of Infinte Bandwidth: Encountering Christ in the Media. We discussed the Church’s teaching on media, where to find good media, and how parents and catechists have a hand in forming children’s understanding and use of media.

Here are the links mentioned in the podcast:

As always, tell us what you think about the interview — and how you’ve used media effectively in your catechetical programs — by leaving a comment.

Click to Play – 011 – The Gift of Media

Tweeting Institutionally

A few weeks back a colleague in NCCL asked about how I make decisions regarding social networking on behalf of NCCL and my diocese. This was my off-the-cuff reply:

Some quick background: My criteria for making these decisions when acting in an institutional capacity is different than my criteria for my personal accounts, especially re: Twitter; for my personal account I’m pretty indiscriminate about who I follow, since I believe the value of Twitter is in making connections and self-limiting those connections diminishes that value.


My decisions about whom to follow via the NCCL Twitter account are based on two criteria: 1) Who has information relevant to our members? and 2) Who has need of the type of information NCCL provides? These two categories are not mutually exclusive; for instance, Nick Senger, as a Catholic educator, both tweets information pertinent to our members and can be a conduit through which NCCL information can flow to people not directly associated with the organization. So it makes sense to follow him and hope that he follows us (which he does).

Pursuant to the second criteria, this means that I’ve tended to follow anyone in a catechetical ministry in the Church as a way of establishing a connection with NCCL. This includes DREs, self-identified catechists and Catholic school teachers.

The first criterion is a little trickier since it requires a judgment call about the needs and values of our membership. I’ve picked the major catechetical publishers with a Twitter presence as well as groups and individuals that are representative of the broadness of the Church without straying outside the folds, so to speak. Figures such as Sr. Helen Prejean, Fr. Robert Barron or Christopher West, while appealing to different constituencies within NCCL, nevertheless stand firmly (and without major controversy) within the Catholic Church. On the other hand, if Fr. Charles Curran or Fr. Alvaro Corcuera, LC, (General Director of the Legion of Christ) were to start tweeting, I would not follow them, even knowing their appeal to some members of NCCL, due to their controversy within the Church.

My final criterion for Twitter is that anyone associated in a direct way with NCCL (past or current leaders, members) gets an automatic follow. Of course, this assumes I can identify them as being associated with NCCL.


Linking fan pages on Facebook is not as integral to the experience as following someone on Twitter. Because of the terminology in use, I’m a little more selective about linking our Facebook fan page with other fan pages. Following someone on Twitter doesn’t have the same connotation as being a “fan” of someone on Facebook; the latter implies a level of approval that isn’t present in the former.

To give a better example of how I handle Facebook, for my diocese’s Facebook fan page I have linked us to groups with whom we have an established institutional relationship (CRS, Catholic Committee on Scouting, NCYC) and the schools and parishes of our diocese. This might be a model for how to handle future Facebook links and other relationships.

Catechizing Digital Natives – Footnotes and Further Reading

This week I am giving a webinar on catechizing the “digital generation.” The following are footnotes and suggestions for further reading from the webinar:


  • Born Digital: Understanding the First Generation of Digital Natives by John Palfrey & Urs Gasser
  • Grown Up Digital: How the Net Generation is Changing Your World by Don Tapscott
  • Teaching Digital Natives: Partnering for Real Learning by Marc Pensky
  • Articles

  • Digital Natives, Digital Immigrants by Marc Prensky (PDF)
  • Do They Really Think Differently? by Marc Pensky (PDF)
  • How Digital Technology Has Changed the Brain by Don Tapscott
  • Life Support: What Young People Need in a Digital Age (PDF)
  • Using Technology to Get Teens to Pray by Nick Senger
  • Prayer Tools for Netizens by Nick Senger
  • 8 Myths about Digital Natives by John Palfrey & Urs Gasser
  • Interactive Connections, Issue 1
  • The Future of Reading: Don’t worry. It might be better than you think by John Green
  • Tapscott: Digital natives need tech-rich education by Laura Devaney (free registration required)
  • Why no one cares about privacy anymore by Declan McCullagh
  • Blogs



    If you watched the webinar, please leave a comment with your thoughts and reactions!

    photo by Steve Woods/stock.xchng

    Upcoming Free Webinar: Catechizing Digital Natives

    Next month I will be offering another webinar on technology and catechesis:

    Today’s generation gap seems larger than ever. The students in our parishes and schools are comfortable with technologies that seemed like science fiction when many of us were growing up.

    Given the radically different way that “digital natives” use technology to take in and process knowledge, what are the implications for the catechetical ministry of the Church? How can we reach out to them without compromising the Gospel? And what do teachers and catechists need to know about this “brave new world?”

    This free webinar will seek to address these questions and help catechists, Catholic teachers, and youth ministers find ways to “bridge the gap.”

    To register for this free webinar, choose one of the two sessions and follow the URL.

    [Note: all times are Central Time]

    You can also watch a recording of my last webinar, Social Networking: A Primer for Catholic Teachers and Catechists, at MyCatholicVoice.com.

    photo by demi-brooke/flickrcc