One of my class assignments is to post about a recent learning experience – the what, how and depth of the experience.  Over the past three months, I’ve had lots of new opportunities to learn more about a couple of topics for which I was already familiar. (yes, my summer was all work and no play – well, there were the conferences in New Orleans and Virginia Beach). One related to writing a grant proposal about how states should support families of children with disabilities.  Part of our grant application involved proposing the development of a virtual community of practice among stakeholders across six states.  I found some really interesting articles on this topic, particularly from the education world and how teachers were using virtual CoPs to increase their effectiveness in classrooms.  How far wev’ve come in our ability to reach out instantaneously beyond our co-workers!  All of the learning for this experience was text based on the Internet which was okay as I am stuck in the middle of the digital divide.  I know enough about the lingo – apps, social media, wikis, RSS feeds, etc. – to sound cool, but really don’t know what I am doing!  In my continued search of virtual CoPs, I came across one for practitioners interested in person-centered thinking populated by people from at least 4 countries.  Very cool.  This seriously energized my interest as I learn best hands on – joining and jumping in…like this blogging experience!  So, whether we are funded or not (I’ll know in 2 weeks), my brain is perculating all kinds of ideas on how to start a virtual CoP using facebook, blogs, videos,, etc.


9 responses »

  1. wchalmers says:

    I’m curious…as a hands-on learner, do you find yourself getting frustrated with the amount of information on the internet or the online community? I learn best in a combination of ways (talking about something/dialoging, seeing, and interacting in tactile ways) – i guess i’m a kinesthetic learner. I sometimes find the interactive nature of internet communication and, more so, the information that is presented via internet (online magazines, books, etc.) a bit overwhelming. I often have to print out articles instead of read them online…there is something about physically holding the paper and writing notes or highlighting, that is more comforting for me. (Keep in mind, this is coming from someone who uses the computer ALL THE TIME and actually love to use the computer.) Curious if you ever feel that way.

  2. Dana Yarbrough says:

    I do get frustrated and overwhelmed. It also doesn’t help that I have a low attention span!!! It is funny you mention printing out articles — I just came into the office (yes, I know, it is a holiday weekend and I am at the office) because I had four 10 page articles to read and I couldn’t seem to retain the information as well on line and wanted to feel that paper and use my highlighter (which I know I can do on my ipad app for pdf, but I am still weaning myself!)…

    • wchalmers says:

      yes, i’ve done the ipad highlighting too…but it’s just not the same! I really feel for my students who take online tests, because I can understand that sometimes interacting with the paper is important!

  3. mcmahen says:

    I agree the internet can be very overwhelming at times, but very resourceful. I find it difficult at times when I am reading an article that does not allow for you to highlight it so then I have to print it out. I like to conserve wherever possible so this becomes frustrating to me.

    • Lois Moskowitz says:

      Me too! Sometimes you just need a paper copy and then I feel guilty that I used paper! I think because I am so comfortable with the paper shuffle (that was the only thing available when I was young) I fall back to old habits. Young people today seem so much more comfortable with obtaining the info from digital media because they have been doing it all along. I don’t think they struggle as much with this problem.

  4. Fran says:


    Welcome aboard. I’m impressed with your openness to explore these new digital tools. I also appreciate your trepidation. Your story points to an important part of the UDL conversation regarding engagement. Your learning experience clearly connected to your interests and your engagement. What followed was your connection to learning. Wonderful example and I suspect you’ll find some of the information around affective learning quite interesting as we delve deeper into learner variability in a few weeks. Nice to have you!

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