Upcoming funding deadline: Comic Relief Tech for Good 2018

Comic Relief Tech for Good 2018 funding stream has an upcoming deadline.  The fund is well worth looking at for youth work projects.

Deadline: 20 December 2017

Who can apply? Not-for-profit groups in the UK

How much? Between £15,000 and £47,000

What for?

This programme aims to provide the opportunity for not-for-profit organisations, who already have some technological capacity, to take their digital innovation projects forward. We are looking to fund teams to make a significant digital step forward within nine months.

A wide range of digital interventions will be considered and our aim is to fund projects that:

  • Are focused on specific user needs in their design, delivery and development
  • Make best use of web, mobile or internet based technologies
  • Can scale effectively and offer economies of scale
  • Disrupt and challenge existing ways of delivering services
  • Are sharable with other parts of the not-for-profit sector

We are looking to fund more than just good ideas. We want to fund projects that will deliver bigger, better and more ambitious services to users and beneficiaries. Applicants need to demonstrate that they understand how to manage a successful digital project, and that they have sound internal or external technical expertise in their management and delivery team. We would expect that some development work will already have taken place.

Projects must address one of our four programme areas:

  • Empowering Women and Girls,
  • Investing in Children and Young People,
  • Building Stronger Communities, or
  • Improving Health and Wellbeing. 

How to apply:   Apply online

Traffic lights in the ground help teenagers avoid traffic

In Germany they call them “smombies” – or smartphone zombies – people who are so caught up in their device they roam the streets oblivious to other people, traffic or rogue lamp posts.

Now this particular breed of tech junkie has been given special traffic lights — installed into the pavements — to help them avoid oncoming traffic.

Officials in Augsburg in the Bavaria region have built lights into the pavement at two tram stops in the city, The Local reports, which flash red when a tram is approaching or the normal lights turn red.

They’re designed to catch the eye of anyone craning their neck to get through that last Candy Crush level before they board and alert them when a relatively quiet trains approaching.

 

Tobias Harms from the city’s council told reporters:

“We realised that the normal traffic light isn’t in the line of sight of many pedestrians these days.  So we decided to have an additional set of lights — the more we have, the more people are likely to notice them.”

Several pedestrians are said to have been hit by the trains while looking at their phones recently, and a 15-year-old was reportedly hit and killed after being distracted by her device in Munich in March.

Marvel launches contest encouraging teen girls to pursue science & technology

Move over, male superheroes. A new contest initiative from Marvel Entertainment encourages high school girls to develop science and tech projects that they believe can change the world.

Emily VanCamp and Elizabeth Olsen just introduced the Captain America: Civil Warchallenge, an opportunity for girls between the ages of 15-18 to explore science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) projects that “have the potential of creating positive change in the world.”

Teen Girl Marvel STEM 1.png

Five finalists will win tickets to the red carpet premiere of Captain America: Civil War, while the grand prize winner will walk away with an internship at Marvel Studios.

Marvel launched the contest along with the National Academy of SciencesDolby LaboratoriesBroadcom and Synchrony Bank.

In the video, Olsen notes that even though Marvel’s heroes are divided in Civil War, “they remain united by the same goals: the commitment to safeguard humanity, protect the Earth at all costs, and make the world a better place for future generations.”

Through the Civil War Challenge, Marvel encourages young girls to do just that.

The Technology Tornado

Tornado

I loved The Technology Tornado post on the Simply Youth Ministry newsletter this last week:

This area has been a particular struggle in our own marriage, and one that we have by no means figured out. We’ve had many talks and constantly wrestle with what boundaries work for our relationship. In this day and age you can’t completely disconnect from the world, but nor should you be so distracted by constant email pings and texts that you’re not present for your family. This technology conversation has a lot of gray areas and so it takes a fair amount of effort and communication to hash out.

Here’s the main goal: Don’t allow screen time to replace face time.

People need attention. They need you to be focused on them, listening, alert, and engaged. There is no formula or set of rules that you can follow to guarantee you’ll be great at paying attention. And chances are that as the capabilities of technology expand and integrate more and more into our daily lives, this will be an area you’ll have to work on a lot.

As you talk with your spouse and family about technology, be sure to listen to each other’s opinions and work together to create boundaries that fit your unique needs.

Here are some things we’ve enacted in our own marriage and family life:

1) No technology at meal times. Phones are off or on vibrate, they are not sitting on the dinner table. Computers and iPads are closed and put away.

 2) No charging devices in the bedroom. It’s really hard to have quality time when things keep buzzing, dinging, and drawing our attention away from each other. Plug in and charge the electronics in another room.

3) Work email goes to a work computer. For us it helped to not have ministry emails dinging into Jake’s phone. It kept him constantly “at work” even though he was home.

 4) The freedom to say no. We each have the freedom to express frustration if we feel the other one is being sucked too much into the technology tornado.

5) One Sabbath day. Technology is turned off and totally ignored one day a week. (In theory! We admit, this one is hard to do.)

Have fun using these new ways to limit the control technology has on your life!

Thank you for loving students,

Jake and Melissa Kircher

@jakekircher      @MKircher83

Digital Children: From Clay Tablets to iPads

Dave Roberts  carried on the Digital Children conference with Clay Tablets to iPads:

Watching a programme about impressionist paintings was like watching paint dry, but was surprised and became hooked to the four programmes in the series.  The presenter spoke about howthe artists wanted to paint the ordinary things.

They were aided by several things

  • Tube technology for storing paint came into being
  • Someone invented an easel that you could fold up and take with you
  • The railways were invented so people could travel to do the Normandy scenes
  • The brushes changed allowing the daubing to take place.

What is the core of who we are?  God the Father, Jesus the Son, work and nature of the Holy Spirit.  But John 1 with the word becoming flesh is pivotal.  Words capture faith – who we are and what we believe.

  • How has culture dealt with words, how have Christians dealt with words?
  • Are we early adopters of technology with words.

Clay Tablets

Or tablets of stone, the 10 Commandments were handed down on tablets and still guide us now.  Lots of storytelling was done in hieroglyphics and picture form on clay tablets – much of which we morally wouldn’t agree with; recorded debt – each bit scratched off and then the tablet is broken when the debt is paid is a legitimate purpose but often turned out to be illegitimate; literacy related to the devout who formed schools for children to learn – honey on lips – honey on the tablets for the letters which they picked out with hteir fingers.

Scrolls

The medium for the scene was Jesus picking up a scroll and reading Isaiah saying this is what he had come to do.  This suggests Jesus had literacy skills.  The children were taught to read so they could read the scrolls – but in reality they were asked to memorise the first five books of the Bible.  The oral tradition was very strong – some countries the Christians learn scripture by memory in case they have their Bibles taken off them by persecuting governments.

Paul writes epistles on the scrolls and uses them to help believers.

Mass Teaching Needs

The reformation was important as it allowed dissent from one theological view – John Wesley was key for this and was influenced by Zinserzolf.  But Zinserzolf was in rebellion against monastic scholasticism, and wanted ordinary people to meet in homes and begin to understand the Bible.  Out of this comes a push for mass literacy.  In pietistic communities they start to educate the girls as well as the boys.  In general literature we see references to blackboards enabling teachers to communicate on a highly visible surface.

The move to mass literacy needs equipment

Then something happened coming from Wesley based around the Clapham Sect who said they would help Wilberforce to abolish slavery, then led to the formation of the NSPCC and the RSPCA, the Religious Tract Society and the Bible Society.  We saw a tension between the Bible, Pilgrims Progress etc., against books on the Occult, witch craft.  All of the big publishers came from Christian movements, e.g. Harper Collins, Hodder & Stoughton, Mills & Boons.

Mass literacy through organisations such as the London City Mission breaks the hegemony of a particular view point bringing democracy and equality.  This needs tools – clay was discovered to develop pencils.

Tell me a story

Mass literacy is an important aspect in the story telling.  Telling the story through pictures came through television and flannelgraph.

There must be an alternative

The CUBE project of the 1950s was The Eagle, started by a Anglican Vicar who believed children’s minds were being poisoned by comics and felt that the church had an inadequate response.   The first print run had 900,000 with Dan Dare being a manly vicar or parson.  The back page had a story linked to the Apostle Paul.

Tell me the story with moving pictures

Christians got involved in moving pictures telling great stories with good skills, leading to Veggietales in the Charts and films in the Cinema.

Conclusion

The Word is the Word is the Word.  Sometimes used for desperately hurtful purposes but equally for building up.  We’ve been in the business of using technology from forever.  Taking information away from elite groups and onto the wider population.

iPad vs Paper

iPad paper

You can draw on paper. You can draw on an iPad.

You can type on paper. You can type on an iPad.

You can make notes on paper. You can make notes on an iPad.

You can … well … take a look:

[youtube id=”UR4mlLiyjYo” width=”580″ height=”337″]

Franciscan Friars want you to text your prayers

HOLY NAME PROVINCE TEXT A PRAYER

Just a month after Pope Benedict XVI launched his official Twitter account, other representatives of the Catholic faith are giving new meaning to the term, “religious text.”

The Holy Name Province, self-described as the largest group of friars in the USA, announced that they are now accepting prayer intentions via text.

Called “Text a Prayer Intention to a Franciscan Friar,” the program encourages participants to text the word “PRAYER” to 306-44, according to a release. Senders will then receive a welcome message inviting them to submit their prayer intentions. After they are sent in, participants will receive another text confirming that their prayer has been received and will be prayed for.

Father David Convertino, executive director of development for the Franciscan Friars of Holy Name Province, said in a statement:

“With technology changing the way we communicate, we needed to offer people an updated way to ask for prayers for special intentions and needs either for themselves or others”

I see this as a great use of technology, an organisation which has existed for years, which many would see as irrelevant offering a connection in a thoroughly credible manner. Do you think text messaging is a good way for religious bodies to connect with their followers? Discuss in the comments below.