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Bringing Education Online- Looking to the future of NAMI Programs

The internet went public in the early nineties, and in only ten years it has revolutionized how people communicate and learn.  Now a lifeline for those seeking information and personal connections, it is difficult for many people to imagine a day spent without it.  Want to know how to play the guitar?  Someone recorded that on YouTube.  Need a social or professional network?  Join Facebook or LinkedIn.  And, what about learning something about depression or schizophrenia while you are at it?  Google it, find NAMI, and visit our website of course!

More and more of us follow our fingers, not our feet, when we want to find out about something or connect with others.  What does this mean for NAMI programs?  It doesn’t mean putting an end to in-person courses or diminishing their impact.  Face-to-face courses and support groups save lives.  What it does mean is that there is a growing need for us to offer more online learning options in order to reach a thriving community forming on the web.  Next year the NAMI Education, Training and Peer Support Center has made a commitment to jump onto the leading edge of education by offering a series of online learning experiences.   Such options will be particularly valuable for those living in remote locations that can’t get to a class, or who are too burdened to attend a course at the time they need it.  Online education will never replace the rich in-person learning experience; however, by going virtual with some of our program offerings NAMI will offer hope, support, and education to people that need access to what we can offer online.

The entry point for our programs to online education will be in presenting interactive, online webinars.  We will not be using pre-loaded, dry-as-desert power point presentations followed by a few scarce opportunities to ask questions.  Instead, we will do the best we can to mimic a true NAMI classroom where interaction and the transmission of emotion rich content occurs.  Participants will interact with one another using live chat rooms.  They will be able to raise their virtual hands to ask questions, and will at times be able to see the presenter in real time through streaming video.  Excited?  So are we.

Read further to hear about some of our online accomplishments and plans for 2011.  Enjoy, and remember to check out all of the NAMI signature education and support programs on Facebook!


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