There are many different ways to get information and to share ideas, and we want to be sure that users have a variety of options. Each vehicle has its own characteristics, and different people prefer different styles, search methods, and content. In an effort to increase our outreach, we have added some social networking sites to our Paths to Literacy family.
In August 2012, Paths to Literacy launched its Facebook presence with the organization page, networking with an array of schools for the blind, parent support groups, publishers and service providers, and other disabilities advocacy organizations. By the end of October, the Paths to Literacy Facebook community consisted of 148 individual followers. In September of this year, Paths to Literacy expanded its reach by creating a profile on Pinterest, the quickly growing website devoted to sharing bulletin boards of ideas and wish lists with people of like-minded interest.
Between these two efforts, there is some overlap of membership, but the sites have very different purposes for their members, and for Perkins as well.
Facebook's power is in its News Feed, the home page view of headlines and announcements of interest to our community. Through the News feed, Paths to Literacy alerts Followers to newly posted educational resources and strategies on our website. We are also able to pass along announcements from our contacts, such a call for braille readers to test a new refreshable braille version of a standardized state test. Messages on Facebook are similar to those we share through our various list serves and user groups, with the added benefit of direct web access. We can link people directly to the source of the news! Discussion threads stay with the topic at hand, and make for an easier read. We share items within our community to the people who need them most, and users can follow and "unfollow" threads as they choose.
Pinterest is the image-based idea-sharing site where members create bulletin boards to organize their ideas, and share ideas they see on others' boards. Pinterest gets Paths to Literacy's educational reach right to the audience who needs it most: educators in the classroom, on the road, and at home. We have been able to meet homeschooling parents in need of resources and support, itinerant teachers trying to meet unique educational needs, and graduate and certificate students looking to connect with professionals in the field.
In October, Paths to Literacy used our social networks to drive visitors to the Paths to Literacy website. In addition, we shared the following:
- celebrate Health Literacy Month
- honor Disability Awareness Month
- announce special events and learning opportunities sponsored by our colleagues at Glaucoma Foundation, Learning Ally, and National Braille Press
- spread the word about Oakmont Visual Aids Workshop
Through Pinterest and Facebook, Paths to Literacy broadens its reach nationally and internationally. At the same time, we gain real-time information on the breadth and depth of activity in the world of education for students with visual impairment. To share your favorite literacy learning tools, visit http://www.pathstoliteracy.org/strategies.
We also encourage users to share ideas from this site with others through the social networking tools on the site. The strategies, research, resources, and technology pages all have icons for sharing on Facebook, Twitter and via email.
We invite you to share ideas that you find here or bring ideas that you find elsewhere to share with the Paths to Literacy Community!