Exploring ways teachers and students can use Pinterest

First day back at school term 2 is a curriculum day for us at Melbourne High School. The theme is ‘knowing highly able students and ourselves’. Apart from set keynotes we have the choice of running sessions and also selecting to attend others’ sessions. Mihaela Brysha (Head of the Visual and Performing Arts faculty) and I will be running a workshop about Pinterest. I’m sharing the presentation slides here.

I’ve been banging on about Pinterest for so long, you’d think I had shares in the company. For example, here, here, here, and here. Some of the earlier slides I’ve re-used from earlier presentations.

Pinterest is often overlooked by educators because it looks like a bit of fun with no substance. The power of Pinterest lies in the ability to find people who have curated the stuff you want. And then see who they are following. Although it’s an image-based platform – and that’s what makes it a preference for those who prefer visual collections – it’s also a good way to collect text-based things online as long as you can attach them to a picture. I use Pinterest and Diigo equally, sometimes saving the same thing to both. Diigo is more sophistocated in its options, allowing keyword searches, but also collaborative annotation. I just haven’t had much success selling it to teachers. When I want to share a collection of online resources with teachers, I often use Pinterest because it’s easy to see the contents at a glance. Of course, now everyone needs an account before they can even view what’s on Pinterest.
Meanwhile I find it difficult to comprehend that most teachers and students are happy either saving things to folders on their computers and therefore needing a USB, or going through their history. Come on people, there are much better ways to do that! And easier ways to share.

8 thoughts on “Exploring ways teachers and students can use Pinterest”

  1. Love the uses for Pinterest. Wondering what other wild uses might be made of it not intended by its creators, what re-purposes? Could we make a paper-style Pinterests for the classroom? in the hallway? for parents to create, too. Could Pinterest be like a seed packet? How about a mystery gift used one time and then discarded? Could we collect badges together? or pictures of weeds and wildflowers which we assign ours and others’ names to? I find myself looking at your blog’s background photo and thinking to myself, “That is a much more authentic Pinterest board than Pinterest could ever muster. So why can’t Pinterest be more like it?”
    Back to your post, I find all of these “annotation/curation” tools to be great for helping me to process the world, but I also ask myself, “Why?” You answer so ably here and I want to go …differently,too. I am not saying better, just saying further. There is a natural progression from collecting without comment to curating to creating. I think that creating is where I want to be. I want what Pinterest is and what Pinterest does to serve the Muse. That is what my paragraph above dithers about. Just thinking about how so much of what I do is secondary, indirect and adaptive. I get this powerful voice inside me that says, “Don’t just derive, make and thrive.” Of course, the irony is that I am replicating what you have started. For that I thank you, Tania.

    1. Oh! First of all to your reply, Terry. Always excited to get a response here – often a lonely place. And oh! also to the fact that you’ve jumped into my puddle and splashed out into all directions. I am going to have fun thinking about what you’ve said, and what it could mean to me. Relieved: was feeling like an old sales person who once believed in the product but lost the inspiration. Don’t get me wrong – I need Pinterest and use it daily. Not sure if it’s serving me or if I’m serving it though. A bit of compulsive collecting? And at the back of my mind the question: how many people are looking in and making it worthwhile? Of course, much of my role as teacher librarian is curation for teachers and students, so it serves me well in this regard. Yes, I am inwardly struggling with a role which renders me ‘secondary, indirect and adaptive’. I know that’s not what you meant to say (I think) but it fits. But that’s another story.
      Hmmm… ‘Don’t just derive, make and thrive’. This requires much thought. Thank you, Terry.

      1. You are an inspiration, Tania, and no critique intended from me. You are primary, direct, and a force of nature. 😉

  2. Agree completely re social bookmarking/sharing – whyever would you bookmark stuff privately? 🙂

    Thanks to Terry for bringing me here thru his blog. I might have missed this. You’ve renewed my interest in Pinterest – me not being naturally inclined to visual anything but knowing many other people are. I should go back to my account and think of ways of using it in my prof dev and teaching.

    I just recently impressed someone with the collab annotation features of Diigo, so I’ll see what happens when she implements this with her students.

    1. Hi Maha, i’m interested to see how you will use Pinterest. I’m ready to see it used in new ways. Bookmarking without sharing? Yeah, I’m with you. And it’s good to see people from all over finding your stuff useful even when your own school isn’t interested (on the whole). C’est la vie.

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