Technology assignment - Catholic Social Teaching

About this article

If you are looking for a great social justice project using technology, Patrick Daniels has one here that includes different levels for student (and teacher) mastery of technology. Students explore Catholic Social Teaching online. Questions for reflection are provided.

Over ten years ago, I began using my home computer to file and create documents for my students. My high school, located in the heart of Silicon Valley, already had a very well-developed technological infrastructure. Internet searches, e-mail, PowerPoint presentations, and Web page development were all possible. I wanted to use the available technology to do more than create handouts with interesting graphics, but I couldn't find any software or specific suggestions for using technology in religious education. Frustrated, I found my own way to adapt the technology to my needs--and I discovered new ways to teach.

The following assignment makes use of the Internet to expose students to Catholic social teaching and works best if students work in groups. The four levels represent increasing degrees of sophistication in the use of technology.

Student Objectives

  • Use the Internet to identify the seven themes of Catholic social teaching.
  • Articulate an understanding of the themes.
  • Create a visual representation of the themes.
Level I

Teacher-Student Skills
  • Internet search skills and Web page navigation.
  • Computers with Internet access
  1. Go to and take notes on the seven key themes of Catholic social teaching (outlined in the 1998 pastoral letter, "Sharing Catholic Social Teaching").
  2. Find three key quotes for each theme.
  3. Choose one of the following documents to read and outline. (Use the everyday language version if available.)
    • A Call to Action--Moderately Challenging
    • On Human Work--Moderately Challenging
    • Peace on Earth--Challenging-- bonus of 10 points
    • Economic Justice for All--Very Challenging-- bonus of 15 points
  4. Evaluate the message of the document by briefly answering the following questions:
    • What was your overall reaction to the language and structure of the document?
    • Which key point did you strongly agree or disagree with? Why?
    • If you had never heard of the Catholic church, what impression would you have of it after reading this document?
  5. Submit an essay of at least 300 words, summarizing one of the themes of Catholic social teaching. Include in your essay three ways that the document you read applies or interprets the theme. Use at least three key quotes and three Scripture passages from the church document to augment your essay.
  6. Print one Web page that you found on your own that relates to Catholic teachings on justice or justice activities by Catholic agencies or affiliates.
  7. Create a mini-poster, using items from newspapers or magazines that represent each of the seven themes of Catholic social teaching.
  8. Be prepared to share the results of all your work in small groups or in a class discussion.

Level II

Teacher-Student Skills

  • Advanced Internet search skills and Web page navigation
  • Clip art placement in a word processing program
  • Graphic design and layout program, such as PageMaker Equipment
  • Computers with Internet access
  • Clip art, design program, scanner

Use the level 1 assignment with the following changes:
  1. Instead of providing a Web site for the students to use, provide examples of search engines like,, or, and explain how to do advanced searches.
  2. Instead of printing one page on social justice, students print one Web page relating to each of the seven themes.
  3. Instead of creating a mini-poster, the students use clip art or a graphic design program such as PageMaker to design a report cover that portrays all seven themes.

Level III

Teacher-Student Skills
  • Advanced Internet search skills and Web page navigation
  • PowerPoint or other electronic presentation program
  • E-mail attachments


  • Computers with Internet access
  • Clip art or scanner
  • Equipment to run and show presentation on TV or computer screen
Use the Level II assignment, but instead of writing an essay, students create a PowerPoint presentation using no more than seven slides to present their findings. Or each of seven groups creates a church document-based PowerPoint presentation around one of the key themes. Limiting the presentations in size would enable the students to turn in their work on a disk or send it to the teacher by e-mail.

Level IV

Teacher-Student Skills
  • Advanced Internet search skills and Web page development
  • Computers with access to Internet or school network
  • Web design program
  • Clip art or scanner
Take the best of the students' Level III work and create a Web page attached to the school's Web site, perhaps organized around the seven themes of social justice. This could also be the start of your school's own Catholic social teaching page, associated with the school's service program. An ongoing project could involve adding photographs of students doing service and providing suggestions for community service. This could be a great resource for the school and the wider community.


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Published January 1, 2001.