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Plugged-In & Left Out: Creating Meaningful & Engaging Virtual Connections with Individuals with Disabilities

Plugged-In & Left Out: Creating Meaningful & Engaging Virtual Connections with Individuals with Disabilities

About this Webinar:

Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, technology has been highly relied upon for work, school, and maintaining social connections. For individuals with disabilities, their families, and service providers, this has presented a new set of challenges. Among these challenges, the main experienced is that of creating meaningful and engaging virtual connections for individuals with disabilities. While there are many factors that contribute to this challenge, the main contributors are that of limited technology skills and knowledge/use of netiquette (the etiquette of the internet). This webinar presentation will consist of interactive case studies that address the challenge of creating meaningful and engaging virtual connections for individuals with disabilities as it applies to personal relationships, virtual learning, and working with service providers.

Learning Objectives:

By the end of this webinar presentation, attendees will be able to:

  1. Identify pandemic technology challenges specific to individuals with disabilities, their families, and service providers.
  2. Understand strategies for promoting the use of netiquette with individuals with disabilities.
  3. Understand strategies for promoting technology skills for individuals with disabilities.
  4. Understand strategies for engaging individuals with disabilities in meaningful virtual connections related to personal relationships, virtual learning, and working with service providers.


Mary Jo Krile, Ph.D, is a professor of special education at Eastern Kentucky University. Her education background includes a doctorate, master’s, and bachelor’s degree in special education. She has eight years of experience in teaching students with disabilities in the public and postsecondary education settings. The previous four years of this experience consisted of teaching digital literacy to young adults with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities (IDD) enrolled in a postsecondary education program. Dr. Krile’s research is dedicated to promoting social media use and safety, as well as digital literacy skills for young adults with IDD. She has presented on social media safety for young adults with IDD and digital literacy skills for individuals with disabilities at various local, state, and international conferences. Dr. Krile’s research interests include forming resources and strategies that can be used to promote safe social media and technology use for young adults with IDD.

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The Extension Foundation was formed in 2006 by Extension Directors and Administrators. Today, the Foundation partners with Cooperative Extension through liaison roles and a formal plan of work with the Extension Committee on Organization and Policy (ECOP) to increase system capacity while providing programmatic services, and helping Extension programs scale and investigate new methods and models for implementing programs. The Foundation provides professional development to Cooperative Extension professionals and offers exclusive services to its members. In 2020 and 2021, the Extension Foundation has awarded 85% of its direct funding back to the Cooperative Extension System, 100% of funds are used to support Cooperative Extension initiatives. 

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