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WHAT WORKS IN EDUCATION The George Lucas Educational Foundation

After hearing about all the hoopla surrounding Pinterest, I decided to check it out and see if it had any value to me as an educator. Up until this point I really didn't have a clue as to what it was all about except that it was a social media tool that functioned like an electronic bulletin board. After requesting an invite, I was all set to go a day later and began to create my first pin board. The tutorial video that you are directed to upon signing up was short, to the point, and made it incredibly simple to dive in and start creating. I dragged the "pin it" bookmarklet into Google Chrome and off I went.

I quickly became fascinated with the idea of "pinning" together all of my professional interests. As I began to piece together resources on Personal Learning Networks(PLNs), I lost track of time and ended staying up well past my bedtime. The point here was that I was engaged. My excitement carried over to the next day as I created another board (Web 2.0 Tools). This led me to begin to brainstorm many ways in which educators could utilize this resource to enhance teaching and learning. Here is what I came up with:

Curating Content

The ability to pin together images, links, and videos in a visually engaging manner makes gathering and accessing information exciting. Teachers and administrators alike can create resource boards for themselves or students. Sharing these creative works are a breeze as each new board has a separate link, which can be easily accessed through one's profile.

Brainstorming

Collaborative boards can be set up so multiple users can pin together ideas and resources to create one huge visual.

Engaging Students

The possibilities here are intriguing. Teachers can have students set up collaborative boards for specific projects, portfolios, or to add an exciting dimension to a digital newspaper.

Conference Summaries/Notes

In my experiences at various conferences, presenters routinely share cool website links and images during their sessions. Pinterest provides a great platform to accumulate all of this information and then share with colleagues.

Teaching Copyright and Digital Citizenship

Pinterest provides educators with the ultimate tool to teach about copyright and Creative Commons. Some educators have decided to delete their accounts due to obvious issues with copyright. I see this as an opportunity to teach students that many images and photos are creative works, which need to be cited appropriately when "pinned". For the boards I have created I have given proper credit to any image/picture where I feel there might be a copyright issue. My personal advice though is to shy away from pinning professional photos unless you have written permission from the photographer.

These are just a few ideas off the top of my head. For a much more detailed list check out this post by Stephen Abram. For even more information on Pinterest head over to Larry Ferlazzo's Websites of the Day. I think in time Pinterest will evolve into a powerful component of educator's Personal Learning Networks. Are you using Pinterest? Do you think it has value as an educational tool? Please share your thoughts.

Here is a list of my other current boards:

Comments (14)Sign in or register to postSubscribe to comments via RSS

Judy Duffield's picture
Judy Duffield
Educational consultant

I've been using Pinterest to organize educational resources--articles, videos, blogs. It's been a great tool.

Cyndi Scheib's picture
Cyndi Scheib
Art teacher - High School from western suburbs of Chicago.

Pinterest has so much creative potential! While I am personally using it to gather visual images for ideas and inspirations, I'm considering a project where students will "pin" examples of composition they find inspiring or that can be used as a visual reference for their personal work. My students are constantly reminded that their work needs to be fresh and original, but that it's okay to look to others for inspiration. When students reflect on what they've created, they are required to cite where they drew their inspiration from. Pinterest boards they've created will give me a base to check those citations visually.

Kyle Peck's picture

Thanks, Eric, for raising this topic. I've been contemplating this for about a week or so, and I agree that there is great potential here. What I'd like to create with Pinterest is an individualized professional development system, based on some of the lessons we've learned from online shopping. Let me explain...

Amazon.com tells me what others who have bought what I'm buying have purchased in addition to the item I've just added to my cart. The Etsy store (etsy.com) tells me WHO else has "favorited" an item that is among my favorites. That lets me look at other things they have added to their favorites list, and I can find people with similar tastes.

What if we were to think of professional development opportunities (webinars, webshops, conference sessions, books, articles in professional journals, online courses, etc.) as items to "like" or "favorite" or pin in Pinterest? What if we chose to follow other teachers whose interests were similar to ours, and were therefore notified when they find other good sources of PD? What if we used Pinterest (or another platform like it) to collect experiences that look promising (look like they would help me reach my professional goals) into a board called "My Professional Development Plan?" We could then review our PD plans with the people responsible for PD in our districts and then move ahead, toward an individually-relevant goal, rather than following a one-size-fits-all district level plan for PD.

We've been experimenting with this on a collaboration involving NASA and NSTA. Let me know if you are interested in this idea, and I'll keep you posted as we move ahead.

Stephanie Dolce's picture
Stephanie Dolce
Pre-service special educator

I am a pre-service teacher studying special education. Since I have not been a "real teacher" you can view my opinion as you may. However, myself along with many, many classmates and teachers have found pintrest to be an extremely helpful and fun way to share ideas. As an early teacher, pintrest is a great way for me to get ideas rolling and form more creative lessons that may not otherwise come to us new folks. I have to admit, I have never participated in the sharing aspect myself so I have not worried about copyright laws and such. However, this is something that I will keep in mind for the future. I believe that Pintrest is a great way for teachers to collaborate on ideas and for students to share.

Ellie Hallquist's picture
Ellie Hallquist
Kindergarten Teacher from Otsego, Minnesota

I love Pinterest! I was also skeptical at first and discovered it sometimes takes my entire night because it leads to so many cool teacher blogs that have so many creative ideas I can use in my classroom immediately! I "pin" things for myself so that I can come back later and remind myself of the great ideas to use in my classroom in the future as well.

Katy Gartside's picture

I made an account and played around with it for a couple of days. I read some blogs about the copyright issue and decided to delete my account. I can see pros and cons of using it in education - not sure what the age requirement is though for students to have accounts. Also as a photographer I would be concerned about copyright as I'm sure many people don't give proper credit - I didn't see any in the boards I saw when I was exploring. I agree it could be a way to teach digital citizenship and giving credit to others for their work, and it could be a great way to collect ideas and resources - as long as the students were old enough to legally create an account.

Jessica Steffel's picture
Jessica Steffel
K/1 Multiage Teacher and Tech Queen in Grayling, MI

I was not an early adopter of pinterest, but I am an eager adopter. I feel it is revitalizing my yearsof doing similar projects by showing so many variations and ideas that others have shared....visually. I would much rather view pinboards of ideas than lists of links.
I have had to shy away from projects that follow "the philosophy of cute" as one of my coworkers puts it. There is a lot of great work encouraging us to teach to a deeper understanding or refine our practices, but there is also a lot that is just plain cute and not much more. Just one more way of sharing ideas and collaborating as the curriculum develops....i have found many great common core ideas that have inspired me!

Steve H's picture
Steve H
Teacher

Thanks Eric for the Pinterest perspective. I had thought this was only for girls as my wife and her friends are constantly talking about it but I never hear a guy talking about it. I can really see myself using this.

Sarah's picture
Sarah
Special Education Teacher

I have a Pinterest account too and I have found it to be veryhelpful. There are so many people on there sharing what things have worked for them, it is a great place to get ideas and gather information for my own classroom.I have gotten several lesson ideas and organizational tips for my classroom from various boards. I think it is a great tool for educators to use and I love it!

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