This week I’ll begin a series on the digital classroom. In an age of digital technology the challenge for catechists is to incorporate contemporary learning methodologies for the sake of reaching a culture saturated with technology.
If we think about it, today’s youth has grown up with the Internet, smartphones and devices such as handheld games and tablets. So how do we transmit the faith to a generation used to texting, playing video games, watching videos, and viewing oversized flat screen TVs? In this series we will look at utilizing technology hardware and software to set up your own digital classroom. Our focus will include using LCD projectors and HDTVs, eBooks, smartphones and tablets. Today we’ll look at video projection and flat screen HDTV.
One way of reaching youth is by bringing visual technology into the classroom. LCD projectors allow for large presentation of anything digital. Most parishes and schools now have LCD projectors. LCD projectors can be connected to laptops, DVD players, smartphones and tablets. Images can be shown on interactive whiteboards, screens, or the wall. Some LCD projectors are mounted and connected to interactive whiteboards, but these are usually in the school setting. Many school classrooms these days have this type of technology. Other LCD projectors are portable and can be set up almost anywhere. Students are used to looking at images on the large screens, so really miss it if not in the catechetical classroom.
HDTVs are a more affordable solution for parish classrooms. The images aren’t typically as large as LCD projectors, but present very clear graphics. HDTVs offer portability so can be moved from room to room if mounted on a cart. Many parishes have invested in a few carts with mounted HDTVs. Along with portability, this type of equipment offers easy connection to laptops and other devices. HDTVs, however, can be wall-mounted and with the cost coming down provide an affordable solution to have in each classroom. Many times catechists will bring their own laptops, iPads, or smartphones to connect to flat screen TVs and LCD projectors. We’ll talk about what content each of these devices can offer digital classrooms in the next post.
As I travel to parishes and schools I see a variety of LCD and HDTV technology that is offered. What does your school or parish offer? What do you think the value of digital classrooms are for catechists and students?