Our youth live in a world of extreme media consumption. Many of us today are never phased by the amount of time we spend staring at a screen or the amount of screens we have in front of us any given time of the day. It is unmistakable that our American culture is over-saturated with technology. As the world changes, our catechetical ministry and approach must adapt.
Pope Paul VI called the Second Vatican Council the great catechetical event of our time. This was because of convening a council to fight a heresy, it was called to bring the Church into the world discussion and find ways to clarify her teachings and how she presents them to modern man. It’s important to note that while presentation changes, the Truth remains the same.
As Christians, we are all called to daily live the vocation as teachers and examples for the world. First, we are to teach about Jesus through our lives. Vatican II serves as a reminder to all of us that we have to read the signs of the times in order to communicate the Gospel more clearly and effectively.
The contemporary cultures requires that we reach out to youth through their language of communication and technology. It demands that we exceed their expectations, or else we risk being ignored and considered as irrelevant as a cassette tape.
They are used to being fed content of no sustenance, wrapped in shiny paper. We have the best product to sell to them. Our faith has been implemented and thrived in every culture time, and location on Earth. It’s so amazing we take it for granted, and we often forget that we have to sell it to them.
Catechesis is important to make abstract concepts concrete and relatable. Once a relationship is formed with Our Lord, it cannot take root without an intimate knowledge about Jesus and his bride, the Church.
When teaching about the faith, every point should revolve around what, how, and why? Because we all have different combinations of learning styles, the more senses we can involve, the better the message is communicated. We just have to look at the example of the mass to see that the Church has this set, we just need to implement those same tactics outside of the liturgy.
Visual, audio, and kinesthetic learning styles each have their own place in teaching, but the best success in learning comes through a combination packaged into every lesson.
Most of the time, our first recallable memories are images, but it’s also important to use good quality images.
- Use images – dramatic photos are powerful, clipart is dangerous
- Bright and vivid colors
- Text – with creative fonts
Movies and videos and most powerful form of communication because they stimulate two sense at once. It is also the most consumed form of media today.
- 2-5 minutes are most effective
- Fast changing angles works better than static shots
- Funny gets attention, relevant teaches lessons
- 1-2 videos per lesson works great
Templated PowerPoints are old school – presentations should be visually dynamic.
PowerPoint can work if you add nice, subtle transitions and adjust the look appropriately
Avoid transition sounds
- Prezi (web based, free)
- Keynote (Mac)
- Pro Presenter (Mac)
- Google Docs ( web based, free)
- Whiteboard – Fulton Sheen style
It’s important to get people involved. There are a myriad of ways to do interactive teaching that there is no time to discuss here.
One way to involve cell phones is by using group polling by text messaging. There are a variety of services like polleverywhere.com
This is only a part of ways to incorporate technology into catechetics, but the biggest step is willing to learn and try new things. The most important thing is that we have a desire for the world to encounter our Lord. Through prayer, the Holy Spirit will empower us to use whatever means necessary to preach the Gospel.