RESource is a response by Catholic Education Melbourne to the challenge and opportunity offered by the Internet for learning both in and beyond the classroom.
Its aim is to help Catholic educators to use the extraordinary technological advances of our time to fulfil the gospel imperative: 'Go out to all of the world and tell the good news'.
A Vatican document, The Church and the Internet, reflects on the way in which communication as an expression of communion is at the heart of the Gospel. 'The Son is the Word, eternally 'spoken' by the Father; and in and through Jesus Christ, Son and Word made flesh, God communicates himself and his salvation to all men and women.'
The Church continues the presence and action of Christ in the world and is itself a communion of persons and communities 'arising from and mirroring the communion of the Trinity'. The Church is also a human society with a lively and vigorous spiritual, intellectual and social tradition and the Internet is an effective and immediate way of offering people access to this tradition.
However, the implications of the internet for Catholic educators go beyond simply this. As Pope John Paul II asserted, 'It is not enough to use the media simply to spread the Christian message and the Church’s authentic teaching. It is also necessary to integrate that message into the new culture created by modern communications'. RESource is an effort to do just that in the context of Australian educational environment.
RESource for Teachers
Mindful of the challenges and opportunities provided by the Internet and Information and Communication Technologies in general, Catholic Education Melbourne, has undertaken the development of RESource in the first instance to provide online educational support for teachers of Religious Education. Over the past three years, Catholic Education Melbourne, has supported the national strategic initiatives in the school education sector as set out in the document Learning in an Online World, School Education Action Plan for the Information Economy. The development of online content by The Le@rning Federation has been a major part of these strategic initiatives.
RESource contributes to these national initiatives by providing content and professional development. The first stage offers sequenced online materials to assist and engage teachers of Ethics in exploring in a systematic way various contemporary ethical issues. In doing this RESource uses a large range of Internet resources to guide teachers through the exploration of the specific issues. This is the most developed part of Resource at the present moment.
However modules in Scripture, Worship (including Sacraments), Church History and Beliefs are also online now and provide a variety of resources to help teachers and students explore many aspects of religious knowledge. Hopefully they will also be useful in other ways in the future including the online delivery of assessable units for accreditation and online provision of materials tailored to meet the needs of specific school groups.
RESource Professional Learning
The Catholic Identity Team offers a suite of professional learning opportunities for parish and school educators. Further details are available on the RESource website.
Establishing Learning Communities
In addition to the provision of content, it is intended that RESource will encourage the development of online professional learning groups. Teachers will be able to use both the RESource materials and online collaboration tools to explore and discuss the issues and questions that are raised. In this way, they will also be introduced to the possibilities for curriculum and classroom application of the facilities they are using in their own professional learning and collaboration.
Into the Future – Speaking to Students
Teachers are most interested in educational resources when they see them as supportive of their own classroom practice. At the same time, the ultimate goals of any educational initiative are the improvement of student learning and the engagement of students in the learning process to improve educational outcomes. It is hoped that as RESource develops it will contribute to this vision not only by supporting teachers to present the good news to their students but also by providing engaging online materials for their use. It is hoped that through this process, RESource will assist young people to use the new technologies both 'purposefully and critically and… to adapt and learn throughout their lives' and 'for their integral development and the benefit of others'.
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