General member technology training

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acochran
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General member technology training

Postby acochran » Tue Jan 21, 2014 5:00 pm

Greetings everyone.

I went to LDSTech last year with an expectation that I was going so that I could come back and report to our tech-forward stake presidency on how we could use technology to increase efficiency within the stake.

Although I did come away with a lot of new information, more importantly I came away with a sense of purpose.

I taught Seminary for about 10 years, both volunteer and as an OPT candidate (for those who are familiar with the system). I tried to get in through the backdoor by teaching where I was needed at the local seminaries in Colorado, rather than go through a preservice program at a Utah or Idaho school.

My assessments were excellent, the students loved me, I had outstanding recommendations from the local and area director, and I had a very solid understanding of the doctrine. In the end I was told that there simply weren't enough open slots and that, without the relationships that preservice students had with those making the hiring decisions, it simply wasn't going to happen. Rather than put my family and career on hold for a third attempt, I decided to stop trying to get hired by CES (now S&I).

I worked for a number of employers in the field of my major (Mass Communication/Public Relations) but I continued to teach seminary and institute as a volunteer whenever possible.

Gradually, I discovered that my talent for teaching combined well with an aptitude for computers that I never knew I had until after I graduated college.

I started a computer help business and it took off quickly. I spent my days doing technology house calls, setting up new computers, removing viruses, teaching people how to use their iPhones, etc. I was not a repairman as much as I was a trainer and troubleshooter. My technical aptitude was far less important than my interest in helping people use technology as a tool.

After seven years I sold my business, I struggled a lot trying to figure out why the Lord would rather have me help old ladies with computers than teach youth about the gospel. It didn't make any sense. I figured that teaching young people about the duties of the fourth estate (journalism not whatever comes after exaltation) was probably a better use for my talents and a place where I could do more good. I assumed that helping college kids develop career skills and a solid sense of the ethical standards of true journalism would be more fulfilling spiritually.

Soon after selling my business I was called to be the stake technology specialist. I accepted the calling but didn't feel that it was very inspired. It seemed more vocation than inspiration...Until LDSTech. Over the span of two days I realized that the Lord has been guiding me from the very beginning.

My experience as a seminary teacher helps me understand how technology resources can be used to supplement teaching without being a distraction from, or a replacement for, a well-prepared lesson. My experience as a computer help guy taught me how to assist those who have no clue how to use technology - and often no interest in anything beyond the ability to perform their given tasks. My experience as a college professor has taught me how to develop curriculum and assess improvement. And my journalism background has taught be how to keep track of what's happening on the bleeding edge of technology.

So, here I am. Trying to figure out what's next for me. I know that I am supposed to help others implement technology. I know that I have a unique grasp and vision of the role of technology in the future of the Lord's work.

But, I don't code, I don't enjoy building websites, I am not a geek. My talent is in helping people adopt and adapt to technology as a tool.

I guess I'm posting this because I'm a little lost. I feel this passion and call to move forward, but there's no clear path. An LDSTech mission is not an option right now. I have four kids, a full-time job and a lot of school and medical debt. My wife also works full time, but I would do anything to bring her home.

I am putting this out there in case there is a member technology training program in the works and the church is looking for the people who can make it happen.

I also know that this may all be in my imagination and teaching college kids how to use Facebook or write news stories in AP style may be the Lord's best use for my talents. But that's not what my heart keeps telling me.

If you are still reading, thank you for making it through the entire post.

alandd
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Re: General member technology training

Postby alandd » Sun Jan 26, 2014 6:33 pm

Nice story and post!

I'm currently seeking to assemble general member technology training materials and ideas for our ward. In particular, our ward has a significant number of members who do not use the technology tools available and/or expect to continue using paper for newsletters, directories and so on.

Have you pursued any work in this area already?

I know these forms have presentations and other materials scattered around. Have you already started compiling these or organizing?

I only ask not because I expect you to have done it but because I'm about to do some of this kind of work and don't want to duplicate what already exists.

acochran
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Re: General member technology training

Postby acochran » Wed Feb 12, 2014 1:47 pm

The best resources I know are the video that was presented on helping the lost sheep at last years' LDSTech conference. Here is a link to the materials that where presented there...

https://tech.lds.org/wiki/Technology_Tr ... roup_Files

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sbradshaw
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Re: General member technology training

Postby sbradshaw » Sat Feb 15, 2014 10:04 pm

Is there a wiki page for collecting and organizing materials that wards and stakes use for training? If not, can I suggest we create one?

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aebrown
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Re: General member technology training

Postby aebrown » Sun Feb 16, 2014 6:08 am

sbradshaw wrote:Is there a wiki page for collecting and organizing materials that wards and stakes use for training?

There once was (and still is) a wiki page that served this purpose. It's the Training page.

Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on your perspective), once the new RKATS system was in place, the ICS department created redirects for many of the community-created wiki pages to go to the corresponding RKATS page. You'll see that if you try to follow the link I included above.

Those redirects make it difficult to see the content of those earlier wiki pages. If you want to see the actual content, you can fake out the redirection by appending some irrelevant parameter, like this: https://tech.lds.org/wiki/Training?1

sbradshaw wrote:If not, can I suggest we create one?

It's a wiki, so any user is welcome to create a relevant page. However, to make sure that our community efforts are in line with the philosophy that led to the creation of the redirects I mentioned above, I'd recommend that the focus be as you suggested: sharing local efforts, and not any attempt to give general direction (which is the responsibility of the RKATS site).

alandd
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Re: General member technology training

Postby alandd » Sun Feb 16, 2014 7:50 pm

aebrown wrote:It's a wiki, so any user is welcome to create a relevant page. However, to make sure that our community efforts are in line with the philosophy that led to the creation of the redirects I mentioned above, I'd recommend that the focus be as you suggested: sharing local efforts, and not any attempt to give general direction (which is the responsibility of the RKATS site).


So, what is the approved way for me in Arizona to share things I create with clerks in Florida? If I am not to share or receive directly, what is the approval and sharing channel we should use?

Sharing training materials so that others don't have to start from scratch is not the same as giving general direction.

alandd
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Location: Gilbert, Arizona, USA

Re: General member technology training

Postby alandd » Sun Feb 16, 2014 7:52 pm

acochran wrote:The best resources I know are the video that was presented on helping the lost sheep at last years' LDSTech conference. Here is a link to the materials that where presented there...

https://tech.lds.org/wiki/Technology_Tr ... roup_Files


Thank you for this link! Looks like very useful sources to either use or as a jump-start to build something myself.

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aebrown
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Re: General member technology training

Postby aebrown » Sun Feb 16, 2014 9:55 pm

alandd wrote:
aebrown wrote:It's a wiki, so any user is welcome to create a relevant page. However, to make sure that our community efforts are in line with the philosophy that led to the creation of the redirects I mentioned above, I'd recommend that the focus be as you suggested: sharing local efforts, and not any attempt to give general direction (which is the responsibility of the RKATS site).


So, what is the approved way for me in Arizona to share things I create with clerks in Florida? If I am not to share or receive directly, what is the approval and sharing channel we should use?

Sharing training materials so that others don't have to start from scratch is not the same as giving general direction.

As I said, you're welcome to create a page on the wiki to share training materials. I hope I didn't give the impression that there was anything wrong with that. I certainly never said that you are "not to share or receive directly."

alandd
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Re: General member technology training

Postby alandd » Sun Feb 16, 2014 10:08 pm

Thank you, aebrown. I had misunderstood. Since I don't really know the particulars of "the philosophy that led to the creation of the redirects," I took your emphasis on "local" the wrong way.

I'll explore the wiki pages of the training group and see what would make sense to create.

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aebrown
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Re: General member technology training

Postby aebrown » Sun Feb 16, 2014 10:21 pm

alandd wrote:Thank you, aebrown. I had misunderstood. Since I don't really know the particulars of "the philosophy that led to the creation of the redirects," I took your emphasis on "local" the wrong way.

I don't know the particulars, but it's clear that when the RKATS site was created, the Church wanted to make sure that people seeking an authoritative source for policy and guidelines would look there, and not at the community-created wiki. At the time of the switch, search engines and bookmarks and other links were favoring the wiki pages over the authoritative RKATS pages.

That's why the redirects were created. It makes it rather awkward to do various things on the wiki, which I'm not particularly happy about, but I certainly understand why it's valuable to point people to the more authoritative source.


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