Spin That Wheel - Download
We’ve talked about Spin That Wheel before, and I think it’s one of the most fun media products to come along for a youth worker in awhile.  It’s a customizable prize wheel. It’s great for prizes or challenges. It can really help add some fun to your up front youth group games.

From the site:

Spin That Wheel is a rockin large group interactive game. As a stand alone application, the software allows you to add up to 15 custom prizes to the wheel, then spin it to see what you get! (Wow, I just won a bag of Pork Rinds*) It has a random winner every time. Find yourself a great host, a really bad outfit, and you are in for a great night. *Prizes not included.

It’s now available at Simply Youth Ministry and we are so excited about our friendship with Digital Stashe.  We also have a some of their other resources (Looped Vol. 1Looped Vol. 2, Color Flow Song Kit, Underwater Disco Song Kit, and more in the media category at Simply ) and will have more in the future.

Check it out Spin That Wheel, it’s definitely worth the price.

Today I’ve been working on finalizing the schedule for the tech room we are going to have at this year’s Simply Youth Ministry Conference.  We’ve got some great seminars lined up that should get any youth ministry geek excited.

Topics include: Using media in your programs, creative branding, free technologies for your ministry, working smart, making video magic, harnessing the power of social media, importance of design, and so much more.  We have enough tech workshops you could make it a tech ministry conference with everything else as a bonus.

Some of our tech speakers are: Tim Schmoyer, Brandon Early, Josh Griffin, Dave Harris, just to name a few.  (I guess I could have listed myself also).

Plus there will be time to drop in with your questions so you can come away better equipped.  All the speakers are around and available to talk with and ask questions of.  It’s really an interactive event.

I would love to have you join us, but the deadline for registration is coming up quick, and it’s almost sold out.  So don’t wait too long.

Visit: YouthMinistry.com/SYMC for more info.

Leave it to Improv Everywhere to make handbell choirs cool. I am going to try to sell our choir director on this!

Another Nativity Video: Mr Bean

Chris —  December 21, 2010 — Leave a comment

I love this video, I think it’s super funny.  I’ve posted it a few years back, but that version is no longer available, so here it is again, Merry Christmas.

Favorite iPhone Apps

Jeremy —  December 19, 2010 — Leave a comment

I use my iPhone almost as much as I use my hands. It is a key part of how a live in the world, and the following is a short list of my goto apps. Though many of the developers have their own site, all of the links below are the iTunes preview page for the sake of consistency.

MapQuest (free) – About four years ago we got a deal on a dash mounted GPS with audible turn by turn directions for about $400. This is free and the only issue I have is it does not have a good HUD for when I’m driving. The voices are a bit mechanical, but who cares IT’S FREE!

Kayak (free) – Amazing implementation of travel shopping/search on a mobile device.

Tripit (free) – This is magical. Whenever I get a confirmation email from a hotel, airfare site, rental car, etc. I forward it to [email protected] and it scrapes the important information from the emails and presents it all in one app organized by trips (automatically detected trips). There is a pay version, but it is hard to imagine what else it could do.

Vlingo (Free & $9.99 for email and SMS) – This is one of many voice recognition apps. It is accurate and will text message, update my facebook status and send emails.

Keynote Remote ($0.99) – I use keynote for all my presentations, and this controls them with a simple flick. Either portrait with notes at the bottom or landscape with the current slide and the upcoming slide side-by-side. It works over wifi, so it has a GIANT range.

PixelPipe (free) – This is probably the single most used app I have. I set up any imaginable storage/hosting platform from MobileMe to blogs to flicker to Facebook to youtube… you name it. After deciding which locations to send as a default, I simply upload the media once and it goes to all of the places. The best part is, it uploads full quality photos and video.

Color Splash ($0.99) – This app is just fun to play with. It takes a photo and allows you to paint (with incredible accuracy by zooming) which parts are color and which are black and white. It takes a good picture and makes it great.

Remember the Milk (Free & $24.99/yr Pro) – We use this to share todo lists which means when I ask someone to do something, I can put it on their todo list. It has really helped communication between staff as it helps us remember to do what we said we would do.

Geocaching ($9.99) – This app makes Geocaching even easier. Geocaching is a global scavenger hunt using GPS coordinates. There are definitely some close by you. I love geocaching because it gets me active without having to join a team or gym and love this app because it means I can geocache whenever wherever.

Flixster (Free) – Perfect app to help you decide which movie to go see where. Gives you percentage positive and negative of critics reviews and user reviews as well as showtimes, trailers, etc.

Tozzle ($1.99) – My 3 year old loves this game. It is basically a virtual puzzle with 35 puzzles of varying difficulty. You can try two puzzles for free.

Digital Story of the Nativity

Chris —  December 14, 2010 — 19 Comments

I loved this video.  Great way to image the birth of Jesus in our digital age.

I love the tech that comes out of the student and college/young adult ministries at Southeast Christian Church in Louisville, KY.  These guys have brought us some great blogs like steveostudios.tv fun and solid content in their podcast churchtechtalk, usable free resources at stufficanuse.com, now a few cool products at digitalstache.

Their latest resource for ministry, Spin That Wheel, is not free but is worth it weight in SPAM (SPAM is considered gourmet food in Hawaii).  We saw this game for the first time at the Simply Youth Ministry Conference last February (register for this years conference before they sell out again).

Here is a brief description from their product website… “Spin That Wheel is a rockin large group interactive game.  As a stand alone application, the software allows you to add up to 15 custom prizes to the wheel, then spin it to see what you get! (Wow, I just won a bag of Pork Rinds*)  It has a random winner every time.  Find yourself a great host, a really bad outfit, and you are in for a great night.”

*Prizes not included.

The students in our ministry love this game and I want to share a copy with one of you for your ministry. To get a chance at snagging a FREE copy, you must take the following TWO actions:
1. Leave a comment below. Tell us how you are PLAYING GAMES using TECHNOLOGY. (ie. Spin That Wheel, PowerPoint Games, Race This, etc…share your best idea with us).  Leave your twitter name in the comment.
2. Follow youthministrygeek on twitter.  We will send you a direct message if you are the winner.

On Friday December 17 we will pick the post with the best “tech game” idea and send a copy of Spin That Wheel for FREE!  If you don’t will you can always pick up your own copy at digitalstache.com.  Soon you’ll be able to pick it up at Simply Youth Ministry also.

I’m not sure how I missed this one, but my buddy Dave Harris showed me MyFav.es today.  It allows you to create a custom homepage for your browser with just the links you want.  Think your google homepage, but pretty.  They have a ton of sites to choose from or you can create your own links.

Here’s what mine looks like:

Best of all it’s free. I love it.  Give it a try.

Audio Podcasting 101 (Part 2)

Jeremy —  November 30, 2010 — Leave a comment

… Continued from Part One.  As I mentioned, I have been working on a youth ministry training podcast, 10-Minute Training, and after publishing about a dozen, feel ready to share the process here.  This post wil look at the recording process itself, and the final post in the series will cover editing and publishing.

Now that you’ve got your gear set and scheduled some recording time, you’re ready to go!  I am a mac guy, so I use the great multi-track recording software that comes bundled with every mac: GarageBand.  If you aren’t a mac fanboy, you can opt for a great free open source option:  Audacity.

The way it works with my setup is I open wiretap and select my inputs: Shure X2u to record my voice and Skype audio to record its audio.  It then creates a virtual audio card with four channels that can be selected in the audio preferences of GarageBand.  After doing that, I select which audio goes to which track and I’m ready to test the audio levels.  The one thing that I dislike about GarageBand is its audio meters.  They are small and not extremely accurate.  Instead of trusting them, I test record audio from both sources a couple of times until they are as loud as possible without distorting.

The reason for doing all this work to get the different audio sources on different tracks is simple.  Though I want to be able to get a podcast that is pretty much ready to chop into 10-minute pieces and publish, I want to be able to go back and fix problems like if the audio levels are too different, the guest wants to edit something out , or if a cell phone goes off in the guest’s office, etc.

A cheaper, but more time consuming, solution for this is to buy Call Recorder from Ecamm.  With this method, you record the skype call in one file and your audio in another.  After it’s all over you import the two files into the editor and move them around until they are synced (tip:  make a loud noise at the beginning that can be heard in both audio files… then you match those sounds together… much faster!)

I generally shoot for recording about 30-45 minutes of audio in each interview that I can then chop down into three episodes after it’s all over.  While doing the interview, I watch the clock and when we come to a stopping point at about ten minutes, I make a break and start over as if it was a new episode (which it will be).

After it’s recorded, I go through the effects to get a good sound on the voices, I generally use male narrator for both the Skype audio and my own.  I save the file, open another and get my next guest on the line.  Over and over again until they are all recorded and saved!

Top 3 News Apps on iPad

Chris —  November 29, 2010 — Leave a comment

I find myself reading a lot on the iPad.  It’s become my morning paper.  It took me awhile to find apps that made it an enjoyable experience. Here’s the 3 that I like best.

1. Flipboard-

I love the look and feel of Flipboard. It’s one of the nicest UI out there for the iPad.  The one thing that gives it the number 1 spot is the fact it will pull in my facebook and twitter feeds and turn them into a magazine like experience.  It’s the most enjoyable way I’ve found to keep up with all the info that flows through there everyday.  They also have a great curated group of feeds you can add, so you can keep up on other news topics also.  It’s also FREE, which is always a good thing.

2. The Early Edition-

The early Edition is at it’s heart a RSS feed reader, but it does it in a way that makes it look like a newspaper. It also comes with a nice set of suggested feeds for you, but you can also add any RSS feed you like and divide them up like sections of a newspaper.  I’ve been using it more and more.  It might not be free like Flipboard, but a few bucks isn’t bad to get all my reading in once place.

3. Pulse News Reader-

This one is more like honorable mention, but I thought I would add it in here.  It’s also got a real pretty look, but I don’t find it quite as nice as Flipboard.  It also allows you to add in any feed like Early Edition, but it’s much more linear in its presentation of the feeds.  The nice thing about Pulse is that it recently went free, and they also have an iPhone version also.

What’s your favorite?