The latest version of the diocese’s technology conference will be released August 18 at Our Lady of Sorrows in Vestal and organizers say the updates are game-changers.
Presented by the Offices of Information Technology and Communications, the day of talks and workshops is geared toward giving attendees the digital know-how they need to become effective 21st-century evangelists.

Last year’s inaugural conference drew more than 100 representatives from diocesan parishes, schools and ministries. Sessions covered social media best practices, developing mobile apps, emerging technologies in education and lessons learned from developing and launching an enhanced website and social media presence. The overwhelming response to the first conference had organizers almost immediately planning version 2.0.

Here’s what attendees have to look forward to this year:

• A new venue. Moving the conference out of Syracuse was the biggest request after last year, said Kory Hopkins, IT director. This year, Our Lady of Sorrows Parish has graciously offered to host in their “fantastic venue,” Hopkins said.

• More experts. A copyright lawyer will talk usage rights for images and content shared online, in bulletins and in classrooms; a Microsoft rep will speak about a new camp-style program being offered to schools; and diocesan staff experts will explore distance learning opportunities for faith formation, enhancing a parish’s online presence, using Google apps, and more. Father Chris Ballard, newly installed administrator of St. James Church in Syracuse and Twitter aficionado, will offer the keynote address.

• There’s an app. Right on your smartphone or tablet, all the speakers, the full schedule, a make-your-own-schedule function, updates from organizers, a photo album, and the contact info of the other attendees.

• Tangible takeaways and IRL networking. In addition to the app, there will be handouts and materials from speakers, ministries and diocese-affiliated groups. Department reps will be on hand to connect directly with attendees. Conference-goers will also spend the lunch session with attendees who share their tech interests — a great opportunity for discussion and new connections.

The conference will be held Aug. 18, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., at Our Lady of Sorrows Church, 801 Main St., Vestal. It is free and open to any diocesan, parish or Catholic school employee. Volunteers who are officially designated representatives of a particular ministry may also attend. Lunch will be served.

To register, visit

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