Sunday, September 21, 2014

Technology at Education Week

We were told we would receive technology training for our mission, but didn't know when or where. We then learned that Paul Scherbel (the person in charge of meetinghouse technology for the church) was giving a class at BYU Education Week along with other classes on technology. We decided to go and see what we could learn.

We went to Pleasant Grove on Monday, August 18th, and stayed the night with Steve & Lisa. We had an enjoyable evening visiting with them and catching up with life in the family.

We found out that we needed to leave early in the morning to find any parking. Our first class (8:30 am) was called "Technology in LDS Meetinghouses" presented by Paul Scherbel. The class on Tuesday was an overview of meetinghouse technology, in which he discussed import and new areas in meetinghouse technology, such as meetinghouse internet, remote printing, scanning to email, and Personal Video Conferencing (the Church's version of Skype). On Wednesday he discussed using digital media in lessons and training. This got technical about the standard equipment found in meetinghouses, various options for showing videos in the classroom and chapel, connection types found on TVs, and the adapters needed to connect to laptops, iPads, etc. Thursday was a presentation on how technology is blessing the worldwide church with examples from many countries. It included 1) Meetinghouses in Papua New Guinea without electricity or internet; 2) Security for family history centers in Russia; 3) Information Resource Centers (internet café in the meetinghouse) in Africa; 4) Personal Video Conferencing in Japan; 5) Webcasting stake conference in Albania; and 6) An ultra-modern meetinghouse in Abu Dhabi, UAE on land donated by the Saltan. Friday's topic was on a new, exciting missionary opportunity - Area Technology Specialist. Diane was given a few minutes to express her feelings about the subject.

Our second class on technology (9:50 am), presented by Ronald J. Schwendiman, was "Teaching the Gospel in a Digital World". He covered subjects like : 1) What technologies may help in the church classrooms; 2) Digital resources for Sunday teaching; 3) Using technology tools to teach children and teens; and 4) Digital resources for the home and sharing the gospel. This class discussed a lot of resources the Church provides for teaching, but emphasized that we can't let technology get in the way of the spirit. He suggested having a technology helper in the classroom so that the teacher can focus on the lesson rather than the technical delivery of the lesson.

Elder David A. Bednar gave the devotional address on Tuesday on using the social media to flood the world with truth. He gave several examples of the power of social media for good. He gave us guidelines to follow: 1) Be authentic and consistent in our message; 2) Have messages that edify and uplift rather that argumentative; 3) Be respectful of intellectual property; 4) Be wise and vigilant. It was interesting that on Thursday there was a water line break at the Marriot Center so they had to cancel classes there. I don't think this is the kind of flood he was talking about.
Marriott Center flood (the Digital Universe)
Our third class on technology (11:10 am) was "The Church's Electronic Outreach: Keeping You Informed, Active in Volunteer Service, and Connected with Others". Wow, what a title! Sure enough, it took three presenters to cover the topics. On Wednesday, Russell J. Hanning talked about how we can receive personalized messages from the church through email and text messaging. On Thursday, Jayson H. Seegmiller told us about the Church's New Volunteer Initiative that fits opportunities for service with our interests and talents. On Friday, Fernando V. Camilo went through a lot of the social media the Church is using - Facebook, Twitter, Google, Pinterest, YouTube, etc.

Since we didn't have time to leave campus for lunch we were pleased to find that there were several gluten-free options at the Cougar Eat, including Chick-Fil-A. It took a lot of pressure off of having to go and find something.

We filled in some time with a few non-technical classes. We were really tired when we attended a class on the Apocrypha so we both slept. On Thursday we attended a class "To Them of the Last Wagon" by Kevin Hinckley. He referred to the pioneers who trailed behind others because of several difficulties then he compared them to several groups in the Church today that may feel like they are left behind: Spouses whose husbands have become disillusioned with the church or vis versa,  missionaries who for one reason or another returned early from their missions, recently divorced, those dealing with same-gender attraction, or "broken vessels" from mental problems. It helps us to be aware of others who are not in the mainstream. His class the next day was about--can people change and how does it happen?

Our final technology class was "The Church's Digital Tools and Treasures, and What's New for You" given by Fernando V. Camilo, a Brazilian. On Tuesday and Wednesday he discussed as a digital church resource and the productivity tools it offers. On Thursday he discussed many of the mobile apps put out by the Church, such as Gospel Library, LDS Tools, Bible Videos, etc. Friday was a discussion about some of the resources that seem to be hidden, but are really treasures. These included the new Youth Activities website, new social media, and teaching videos.

This was a busy week without a lot of pictures to show for it. One evening Diane had a chance to actually meet her Portuguese tutor and have a language session at Amanda Knight Hall (where Paul ate many years ago while at the LTM - Language Training Mission). 
Diane with Douglas, her Portuguese tutor

We were also able to have gluten-free pizza at The Brick Oven where everyone was very friendly, especially our server. We took some time to go through the art museum where they had an exhibit on period costumes worn by famous actors in the movies. (Pictures not allowed)
It looks like he lost his head
In the evenings we attended musical performances. Tuesday was "Seven Brides for SevenBrothers" one of Diane's favorite musicals. Wednesday was "An Evening of Music and Inspiration" presented by five of the popular LDS performing artists. It was a good performance, but we didn't relate to the music as well as other performances. Thursday was "William Joseph in Concert". He is an LDS pianist and composer. We enjoyed it a lot more.

During education week they premiered "Meet the Mormons" a new movie coming out October 10th in the theaters. We thought we wouldn't be able to see it, but on Thursday evening we got in the standby line and actually were able to get in. It was an uplifting movie. We hope it does well when it's released. 
Meet the Mormons comes out October 10th

We had tickets for the Ogden Temple open house Friday evening so we left in the afternoon right after our last class. The traffic was horrendous on all roads. We decided not to get upset and just crawled toward Ogden. We arrived an hour late, but were able to go through. It was beautiful!
We were glad to be headed for Logan, but we had very slow traffic through the canyon. As we approached Mantua we saw that there was an accident and many emergency vehicles. With the rain some huge boulders fell off the mountain and onto the highway. We just missed it. We were very glad to finally arrive home safely.

We are glad it didn't hit us! (

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