Digital and Media Literacy for Blended Learning and Practice by Baptist Pastors

DIGITAL AND MEDIA LITERACY FOR BLENDED
LEARNING AND PRACTICE

PRESENTED AT THE 2020 FRESH STUDENTS’ ORIENTATION PROGRAMME  OF BAPTIST COLLEGE OF THEOLOGY, OYO

BY S. B. OMOTOSO
(
sbomotoso@gmail.com)
08034710699

PART ONE

BACKGROUND

The emergent of COVID-19 and its multidimensional implications on our educational system has clearly revealed that we either need an alternative or complementary Content Management and Delivery System.  Similarly, it is also evident that whatever new system we come up with, the place of practical digital literacy on the part of all actors (Management, all categories of staff and students at all levels) is imperative.

To approach the above issues, I intend to simplify this write up by giving some conceptual clarification of terms to facilitate ease of understanding and subsequent implementation of recommendations.

We will all agree that the COVID-19 Pandemic did not give us adequate notice to prepare.  Even if adequate notice was given, available structures and systems are inadequate to withstand the effect of COVID-19 on the educational system.

Predominantly, majority of our teaching and learning systems are onsite.  We believe in it and not until we were greatly challenged by COVID-19, we did not appreciate distance education as alternate to onsite education.

As a result of survival instinct and the need to solve the problem of teaching, learning and assessment, there appears to be some sort of challenges on what next to do.

In realization of the above challenges and by way of proffering solutions, I wish to recommend the adoption or adaptation of Blended Learningj.

Just as we will continued to live with COVID-19 and its numerous effects for some time to come, so also, is the need to integrate digital and media instruction into our curriculum in order to benefit significantly from the emerging blended learning system. The earlier we re-orientate ourselves to accept these new realities, the better.

WHAT IS BLENDED LEARNING?

Currently, we are primarily use to classroom training as a means of training.  Definitely, this method is no longer adequate, given the dynamic changes introduced by COVID-19.   What do we need to do to make the classroom training adequate?

We need to explore the integration of Digital Learning Solution into our current Classroom Training.

Relevant Questions that must be answered in this wise include:

How do we determine the mix of in-person classroom learning and the online learning that would form a new body of knowledge?

There is no general mode to guide in the course of determining the above mix.  As a guide, reference could be made to Edgar Dale, Audio-visual Methods in Teaching (3rd Edition), Holt, ReinLart, and Winston (1989) 

COMPONENTS OF BLENDED LEARNING

For simplicity, let us see Blended Learning from the following table.

BLENDED LEARNING

Classroom Training E-Learning
Face to face interaction between the  students and the lecturer(s) E-Courses, in any or combination of the following formats – Video, Audio, PDF documents, graphics, etc
 Encourages  networking,  personal relationship Easy to manage and offers feedbacks and reports
Easy to adopt and modify instructional methods Aid multilingual presentation
Appropriate mix of Classroom Training + E-Leaning = Blended Learning
Blended Learning Requires the Deployment of Appropriate Learning Management

System

 Factors to bear in mind in decision making on classroom and online mix

  • The performance outcome from students in a particular course.
  • The delivery method of training e.g classroom
  • The formats of the delivery VARK – (Video, Audio, Read and Kinnetics)

The right policies, compliance and cooperation by all stakeholders still require the deployment of appropriate Learning Management Systems.

Blended Learning is ideal  When there is   

  1. Lot to share but time constraints. It saves time
  2. The need to teach multiple stakeholders and learners
  3. Need to teach geographically dispersed students
  4. Need to train frequently
  5. There is need for sandwich, part-time and special students
  6. There is need to introduce distance education 7. Fast track learning through online assessment.
  7. Intention to enhance the ratings of the institutions
  8. The need to fruitfully engage students outside the campus.
  9. The need to conduct automated assessment both within and outside the campus.

 STRENGHTS OF EACH LEARNING APPROACHES THAT FORMED THE BLENDED LEARNING SYSTEM  

Classroom Training (Strength) E-Learning (Strength)
The lecturers are available to attend to students’ needs and questions Learners have the freedom to proceed at their own pace. It is self-directed.
Mentoring, role modeling, demonstration, collaboration and formation of live groups for interaction are possible Available remotely for 24/7/365, flexible and convenient to use.

 

Hands-on-experience is possible.  Supports, practicals and physical operations of equipment and machinery. It is available to all the students the same time, the same format and content.
Learners benefit from freebies outside the course curriculum Consistent format and method of delivery
Operates on a timetable and students can not engage in something else at the scheduled time Easy to update learning resources.


PART TWO

PREREQUISITE OF BLENDED LEARNING SYSTEMS: A REVIEW OF RELEVANT LITERATURE

The use of information and communication technologies in

Nigerian Baptist churches

Ngozi Blessing Ossai-Ugbah

John Harris Library, University of Benin, Benin City. Edo State, Nigeria.

E-mail: Ngozichikaogu@yahoo.com.

Accepted 27 January, 2011

International Journal of Science and Technology Education Research Vol. 2(3), pp. 49 –

57, March 2011

Available online http://www.academicjournals.org/IJSTER 

  1. Information and communication technology or technologies (ICT) is an umbrella term that includes any communication device or application, encompassing  radio, television,cellular phones, computer and network, hardware and software, satellite systems and so on, as well as the various services and applications associated with them such as videoconferencingand distance learning, webinars, e-learning .
  2. The rapid rate at which ICT have evolved since mid 20th century, the convergence phenomenon in which all existing technologies have been harmonized by ICT, in addition to their pervasiveness and intensiveness in all areas of human activities, gives ICT a leading edge in development and globalization.
  3. The phenomenal developments with regard to ICTs are having significant impact on all areas of human activity (Brakel and Chisengas, 2003). Economic, political, social, education communication and other areas of our lives have been greatly affected by ICT.
  4. Therefore, since churches are part of the information community, it is necessary to investigate how information communication technologies are used in a church.
  5. The advent of the computer and the other attendant compliment like internet has led congregations using computer technologies to enhance and promote traditional ministries Worship, fellowship, pastoral care, education, mission and community outreach, evangelism and communications. Its significant benefits make it fitting for ministry.
  6. Pautler (2010) noted that technology has played a huge part in the spread of Christianity through-out history.
  7. The first pews were introduced to churches in the 13th Century. The first organ was installed in 1361.  In 1436, Gutenberg invented the printing press, revolutionizing the spread of the Bible.  Microphones, electricity and speakers were all introduced in the 18th to 20th centuries.
  8. Only in the last 100 or so years were radios and TVs invented. John Brust cited by Paulter (2000)
  9. The Challenge is that most Baptist pastors learnt reading texts cover to cover.
  10. However, new technologies have great potential for enhancing the education of pastors, transmitting the gospel and creating Christian wisdom in the new information age.
  11. But significant challenges and dangers lie ahead.
  12. An astounding mass of material is already available on computer screens. Scholars are busily creating and digitizing resources for schools and churches: rosetta.atlacertr.org, eikon.divinity.yale.edu o ccel.org, wabashcenter.wabash.edu

FINDINGS

Some of the findings of this research are:

  1. Baptist pastors are ignorant in the use of ICT in congregational worship.
  2. Baptist pastors with higher educational degrees are more abreast with the use of ICT than those with lower academic degrees.
  3. Baptist churches whose pastors have higher academic qualification use ICT more for worship, administration, membership data and finance management.
  4. Ignorance is more a constraint than finance in the use of ICT in churches.
  5. More Baptist pastors do not see any advantage either in the use of PC for preaching and teaching and the use of ICT for congregational worship.

  RECOMMENDATION

  1. ICT training and education should become a core part of the curriculum in Baptist seminaries and colleges of theology where these pastors are trained.
  2. Baptist churches should seek to conduct in-house training on ICT for their pastors.
  3. Baptist church leadership should expose their pastors to the use of ICT and its benefits like in secular organizations and enterprises.
  4. Baptist pastors should be encouraged to buy personal computers and use it in their studies and teaching through provision of finances.
  5. Churches should make purchase of ICT infrastructure and its development a deliberate policy for ICT use in the churches

SCOPE OF DIGITAL AND MEDIA LITERACY FOR LEARNING AND MINISTERIAL PRACTICE

1. Language and Communication Literacies

Ability to read, understand and write texts in both print and multimedia format through the use of Computer and Mobile devices.

2. Information Literacy

Use of search Engines, for general and ministry purposes, Knowledge and ability to use Google and other, webapps such as gsuites (Gmail Google Sheets docs, Slides drawing, Classroom, Meet suites, translate drive etc.uploading and downloading.  etc

3.     Literacy Connection

Instagram, Whatsapp, Linkedln for collaboration, support reputation and influence, explore social media for corporate promotion and advertising etc

4.     Literacy Tools: basic hardware and software

Laptops – with or without Modem

Tablets or Phablets

Smart Phones with data

USB lights,

Headset/Ear piece

Cloud Storage: drop box, Mega,

Coversion: I love pdf

Password Manager:  last pass, dashlane, Bifwarden

Whatsapp Desktop extension,  Grammarly

Multimedia: Video: YouTube, Vimeo, Wistia, Audio (podcast), Graphics:                         Picture Manager, Canva, Websites/Blogs

PART THREE

LEARNING MANAGEMENT SYSTEM

  • Curriculum Design for Blended Learning
  • Policy Direction

DEPLOYMENT OF LMS SOFTWARE

Consider the advantages and disadvantages of:

Rent a space System from LMS Organizations. This has a lot of implications and should only be considered in rare cases

or

Build your in-house LMS on

(a)      Campus Server

(b)      Cloud Server (Recommended) which could be on either of  (i) Shared  (ii) VPS  or (iii) Dedicated.

Meanwhile, my recommendation is build your own LMS in-house in view of the numerous benefits over other methods.

Details on LMS structure and implementation could be obtained on requested.


PART FOUR

CASE STUDY OF DEPLOYMENT OF DIGITAL LITERACY AND MEDIA AS POST-COVID RECOVERY MECHANISM OF PHILADELPHIA BAPTIST CHURCH APETE IBADAN

Humans from the beginning are social being and created to relate with one another. Being able to stay in contact, by any means possible, with the rest of the world is one of his desires regardless of position or belief. Communication is as much a part of our daily living as breathing. Communication within the church keeps people informed, supports people and programmes, provides publicity, sensitizes people, provides a forum for expression and concern about issues, and builds a sense of community.

The Church as a community of believers in the 21st century, saddled with the responsibility to reach out, require digital literacy to be able to carry out this responsibility effectively and with a wider coverage. Social networking websites, for example, Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp, Telegram, Google+, Instagram, YouTube, Blogs, Email, Zoom, Skype, etc. have become an object of consideration in the task of information dissemination in this dispensation. It is then  necessary for the church to harness her effort towards where people would most always be found and to use the most demanding tool, digital technology, to reach out to them.
In Philadelphia Baptist Church Apete Ibadan (PBC), the Media Unit has been functional prior the emergence of COVID-19 pandemic where volunteers under the leadership of Pastor Awopetu Mayowa, come together to work as a team in the following areas:

  • Projection of Scriptures and hymns during worship service
  • Recording of audio messages for posting on church social platform
  • Video recording of praise and prayer session for posting on church social platform

The above listed have been the areas where the Media Unit of the Church worked on with the use of PowerPoint and Easy Worship as projection software before the emergence of the pandemic.

The pandemic period has brought some positive effect as it exposes many people to the use of social media especially Facebook. This can be marked as the period of message flush or rush on this platform, a period when places of worship were locked and many churches were forced to do online service in order to carry their members along. This period in PBC is the time that the Church began livestreaming both on YouTube and Facebook. Other task of the unit since this period till date includes;

  • Recording and posting of early Monday prayer (Hour of Mercy) on WhatsApp, Facebook, and Telegram
  • Recording and posting of the weekly Bible Study on Wednesdays
  • Recording and posting of the Covenant Children Activities for each Sunday
  • Projection of Scriptures and Hymns in a new dimension, with the use of more advanced projection software (OBS Studio, VideoPsalm etc.)
  • Distribution of the softcopy of Church’s Bulletin on our social platform
  • Extension of viewing for congregants at the Church’s gallery
  • Printing of Church Bulletin
  • Daily posting of “Word for the Day” on Facebook
  • Periodic uploading of pictures on Facebook

All these were put in place to enable all members, home and abroad, friends and families of the  Church, and every other person to have access to undiluted Word of God and to enhance smooth  worship session. Our primary purpose of using social networking is to establish and maintain relationships, to connect with and stay connected with members of the congregation. The added feature is the possibility of attracting someone who is searching for new spiritual affiliation.

The Church, under the leadership of Reverend S. Ade Ayoola has expended and still expending a lot to make the unit what it is today and has given an enabling environment for the smooth running of this digital unit. The Church’s media unit has other Sub-units who works together, these are:

  • Audio (handles the sound)
  • Videography (handles video camera)
  • Photography (handles photo camera)
  • Graphics (works on designs, printing, etc)
  • Technical (handles connections, faults, etc)
  • Operations (works on projections, livestreams, postings, etc)

Presently, the emergence of Internet has given interactive, faster, virtual, and easily accessible medium of communication. The gap between the user of information and the means of acquiring such information needed has been bridge. Therefore, the Church of God must embrace the use of communication and information technology for the propagation of the gospel in order to have a wider coverage and to make more impact in this global village via its tool (village’s), but this may not be achieved when we fail to tap into it through negligence.

 

Note:

Philadelphia Baptist Church Apete, Ibadan is ready and willing to render services to leading  

Baptist churches. For enquiries contact Reverend S. Ade Ayoola 08033529550, 08033637300.  

Further digital materials and training could be found at

https://training.tintolacademy.com/course-registration

 

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