Ruminations on literature, film, life, and what-have-you.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Liturgy and Computer Science

My training prior to entering the Society of Jesus involves the sciences. I took Computer Science as my major in the Ateneo de Manila University where I concentrated on developing multimedia applications. After that, I worked for a company called Infinity Information Systems doing financial web applications research and development for Spectrasoft. I was invited to teach in the Ateneo, and I took my Masters in Computer Science while I was teaching.

The Society of Jesus is quite known for being much involved in the Sciences. The Information Systems and Computer Science Department is housed in a building named after Jesuit, Fr. Federico Faura, who founded Manila Observatory and invented the aneroid barometer.

I am currently writing my masteral thesis in computer science as a final step for my degree. For my area of concentration, I decided to focus on Human Computer Interaction, particularly, user-interface design. I initially wrote about developing user interfaces for online learning systems and its effects on user attrition. Because of my philosophy studies, I was not able to finish writing.

I then decided to write on a new topic. It is on Liturgy and Computer Science. There are a number of parishes in Metro Manila that utilize LCD projectors and Microsoft Powerpoint within the liturgy. I have experienced times when the slides do not necessarily help me to pray, but actually distracted me. I then realized, that in some way, this is a different sort of user interface, where a user (the parishioner) responds to stimuli, but he/she responds using liturgical actions. There must then be a way to use this technology, to improve liturgy, as regards pariticipation, as regards retention, as regards the entire user experience.

My mentor Neo Gonzales, has been very helpful supplying me information, especially on psychology, memory, and HCI. Hopefull I finish writing soon.


Blogger Sacha said...

Ooh, interesting.

Death by bullet points. Much has been written about the evils of Powerpoint, and I'm sad to say that most people have no idea how to effectively present things. Flashy graphics + boring speaker = disaster. Some priests know how to give homilies that enlighten people and deepen their faith. Others keyword-search for jokes and quotations and take the advice to tell-it-three-times to ridiculous or ineffective extents. -wry grin- They're already almost unbearable without Powerpoint. Now you can get them with bullet points!

Personally, I think everyone who has even a remote possibility of regularly presenting in public should go through lots of training in public speaking and exposure to great speakers. ^_^ I suspect this is part of the seminary's curriculum.

http://www.beyondbullets.com/ and http://presentationzen.blogs.com/presentationzen are great blogs for presentations. "Beyond Bullet Points" and "The Cognitive Style of Powerpoint" by Tufte are good dead-tree reads. Tufte also runs a great discussion site. http://www.edwardtufte.com/bboard/q-and-a-fetch-msg?msg_id=00001B&topic_id=1&topic=Ask+E%2eT%2e , for example.

11:37 PM  
Blogger Mark Mossa, SJ said...

Hope you're doing well!

Thanks for linking me!



1:44 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home