Posts Tagged pinterest

Using Pinterest as an ‘inspiration board’

I have been using Pinterest a fair bit this year to collect links and images of interest to me an my students. It’s a nifty platform for curating – it’s highly visual and has an app for both apple and android that I find myself using often when surfing my mobile devices in front of the telly.

When introducing Pinterest to newcomers, I am often asked the question: “how does this website full of pictures of cupcakes have anything to do with learning?”. It’s a good question! Pinterest at first glance presents as a space filled with links to homewares, fashion, craft and cooking. I know some people claim that Pinterest is therefore “for girls”, but plenty of people refute this.

One way that I have seen Pinterest used very powerfully in education is for the creation of ‘inspiration boards’.

Tania Sheko has provided an excellent account of examples from her school in a recent blog post. I’ve included her screenshot here to give you an idea of what is covered:

Pinterest screenshot by Tania Sheko

Pinterest screenshot by Tania Sheko

Working as a librarian in her school Tania was able to really boost the teaching/learning resources available in a visual arts unit by creating a range of boards with images to INSPIRE students in their project making.

What a great idea!

If I was teaching English right now, I could definitely apply this strategy. I would probably start by making inspirations boards for:

  • Shakespeare
  • journalism
  • poetry
  • different genres (a gothic board! a crime fiction board!)
  • characters for story writing
  • locations for story writing

So there you have it – INSPIRATION BOARDS. An excellent way to utilise the (wonderfully visual and digital) Pinterest in your teaching.

Thanks to Tania for sharing her ideas!

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Building up my Pinterest resources

I wrote a little while ago about my venturing into the world of Pinterest. My first board was a collection of images and links relating to ‘Indigenous Studies‘.

This post is just an update on what else I’ve been pinning that other teachers might like to check out.

English teaching - Pinterest board

English teaching – Pinterest board

On my board for English teaching I have links to professional associations, related groups and institutions, magazines and journals, classroom resources for English, and other stuff I think an English teacher might like.

Pinterest board - Learning

Pinterest board – Learning

When I started finding resources for learning in general that weren’t specifically about English, I created this board for pins about Learning. There are some especially good things up to re-pin from Edutopia and Edudemic.

Pinterest board - Brisbane

Pinterest board – Brisbane

Finally, so that this post isn’t ALL work and no play, here is a link to the board I use to collect links to cool things to see and do in Brisbane. This board is great for when people come up here to visit, it means we always have a good list of things to do and see :)

If you’ve never used Pinterest before…

  • Don’t stress out about missing out. I don’t see it as one of those “you absolutely GOTTA have an account!” tools. Anyone can go and browse my Pinterest boards, which I’ve invested time in because I like to curate, and also because I think my students enjoy the visual layout of  links they would otherwise ignore in a reading list.
  • My ‘addiction’ (read – compulsion to add pins!) to this tool waned after about four weeks, but I still find myself coming back to it and liking it five months after signing up.
  • If you do decide after reading this post to go and make some Pinterest pin boards, ENJOY! I’ve really dug finding new resources this way, as well as thinking more carefully about how an icon or image ‘pin’ can represent an idea, association or resource.

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My Pinterest Boards (and why I’m bothering to make some)

For the first half of this year it seemed like all anyone was asking me was ‘do you have Pinterest?’

All throughout semester one, when I asked students about Twitter or Facebook or Tumblr, I was guaranteed to get a few voices around the room crying ‘Pinterest!’

It sounded like a cool tool.  A virtual pinboard – just make a board on a topic or ‘interest’ (ahhhh… pin + interest = ‘pinterest’!), then add images and videos to it. Always a fan of putting posters on my bedroom wall, covering my school folder with pictures under contact paper, and putting stickers on random bits of stuff, this highly visual curation tool has always sounded promising to me.

I had made the decision in semester one, however, to steer clear of Pinterest. This choice was purely motivated by my fear of taking up another addictive web tool … the first semester of this year was just too busy already to attempt trying new things.

Some questions have also flown around over time about the ethics and copyright implications of re-pinning images without permission, and I confess this made me wary.

THIS SEMESTER, however, I am pinning!

My most promising board so far is the one I have made to collect links  for the unit ‘Culture studies: Indigenous education’ (EDB007):

http://pinterest.com/kmcg2375/indigenous-studies/

I hope to engage students in my two tutorials by sharing the board with them and inviting them to explore the links I’ve collected/curated.

Of course, I could have chosen to share my links in other ways, but they all have their drawbacks:

  • on a handout (which is not hyperlinked)
  • in a Blackboard/LMS post (students hate and avoid Blackboard)
  • using social bookmark sharing e.g. delicious (so far unsuccessful; students don’t use/engage)

My hope is that the visual nature of Pinterest, and the ability to browse it socially and on mobile devices, will entice a few students to explore the links I’ve found.

As far as the image copyright issue is concerned, I think I’ll just wait and see if any of these organisations complains, eh? I have done my best to attribute the images, that’s all I can say.

Last word:

This slide presentation by Joe Murphy (@libraryfuture) was really helpful for me:

Acrl webcast pinterest for academics

View more presentations from Joe Murphy

Joe makes this observation: 

“Pinterest succeeds at the juncture of the major online and content trends of:

  • self curation
  • image engagement and sharing
  • visual search/discovery
  • and social discovery”

In addition, points made in these slides about the potential of Pinterest to expand community engagement and open up services to diverse clients made me even more eager to try using this service as a teaching resource.

Here’s hoping my bid to invoke some ‘cool’ in my classroom pays off!

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