On April 3, 2012, Paths to Literacy launched our Internet presence with www.pathstoliteracy.org, the same resource bank, research clearinghouse, and social/academic community you are reading right now!
At that time, Project Manager Charlotte Cushman recalls, “we felt that there was a need for a comprehensive site on all aspects of literacy for children who are blind or visually impaired, including those with multiple disabilities and deafblindness. We wanted to create a site that offered practical strategies and information to anyone interested in the education of students with visual impairments, including teachers, families, and related services. Perkins and TSBVI were both talking about doing that at the same time, so we decided to pool our resources and create a site in collaboration.”
An online community encourages active participation from all, in preserving and collecting the resources we have found successful as teaching and learning strategies. Creative ideas can disappear so quickly; we wanted to put them together in one place that would be easy to find and to search. Members have earned dozens of continuing education credits for contributing their resources and strategies.
Over these past 12 months, we have expanded the website, and its community, to include technology reviews, upcoming events, and personal blogposts that have become some of our most popular pages. This month we welcome Dr. L. Penny Rosenblum and Diane Brauner to the team of Bloggers who regularly contribute their notes from the field: Faye Gonzalez, Katie Armstrong, Laurie Hudson, Marsha Bork, Megan Mogan, Jamie Brown, Charlotte Cushman, and a very special contributor we have come to know as "Liam's Mom." Outreach efforts through social media have brought the Paths to Literacy message worldwide. Through our Facebook community, Twitter feed, and heavily travelled Pinterest Boards, we have made so many new connections, and have been pleased to introduce leaders in the field of education of the visually impaired to new families.
On this Anniversary Day, we celebrate the more than 900 registered members of Paths to Literacy, who include teachers, parents, researchers and clinicians, therapists, service providers and paraprofessionals, associations, manufacturers, policy makers, and yes, quite a few consumers as well – all of whom are dedicated to the idea that literacy opens doors for a lifetime. We also celebrate more than 700 friends and followers on different social media platforms, making our online community ever more robust.
Did you know that only 54% of our membership is from the United States? We have colleagues in every region of the settled globe (and if they need alternate formats in Antarctica, we’ll get resources on the ground there as well – let us know). But 38% of you remain “Unknown” to us, and we’d like to change that.
As your Anniversary Gift to us, please visit your user profile and update your Location. Let us know your role in the world of literacy, and enter an email address. This helps us direct materials to the audience that needs them, and lets us know we are reaching all sections of our community. We’ll all be glad you did.