Tech Tip Tuesday: Taking Pinterest To the Next Level

pinterestToday’s guest blogger is Fran Evans, a blended Family Consumer Science Teacher at Downingtown High School East and West. After attending the ISTE 2015 conference in Philadelphia in June, she wanted to share what she learned about taking Pinterest to the next level.

by Fran Evans

If you’re not familiar with Pinterest, it works like an electronic bulletin board or a visual bookmarking system. You “pin” pictures from the web (or upload your own photos) to boards you create on the Pinterest site. You can share the contents of your boards with others or keep them secret. You may invite others to pin to your boards. Many retailers and websites have made it even easier to use Pinterest by including a “pin it” icon to allow you easily pin from the site to your board – click “pin it;” your Pinterest app opens and asks you where you would like to pin the image.

I’ve had the Pinterest App on my IPad for about a year now. I’ve used it intermittently – I have boards titled “Recipes to Try”, “House Ideas”, even “School Ideas.” All my boards are secret. They function as a warehouse of ideas for my very visual self.

At the June ISTE conference I had the opportunity to attend a session called The Power of Pinterest, presented by Noemi Rodriguez from the Pascack Valley Regional High School District. I attended with some reservations, thinking Pinterest was pretty simplistic for an hour presentation. But its inherent simplicity is what makes Pinterest so usable. The most common way to use Pinterest is a visual filing cabinet, as I had been using it.

But Pinterest can also be used to collaborate, to showcase student work, or to collect and share images with students. Pinterest is accessible (and free). Many students and parents are already Pinterest users, so there is little learning curve. Pinterest can enhance learning and bring a visual perspective to the classroom.

Participants in the session had some great ideas for using Pinterest:

  • A librarian was going to use it to showcase new books.
  • An elementary school teacher was going to invite students/parents to pin pictures of places they had traveled to over the summer.
  • Another participant suggested using it for lesson planning.
  • Throughout the session, we were invited to pin to a Virtual Field Trip to Philadelphia board. Within 5 minutes, there were 25 great ideas for what to see, do, or eat in Philly.

The Family and Consumer Science classes I teach are very visual. I take photos of student work but, admittedly, only a few make it off the camera.  Next year, I hope to use Pinterest to showcase and share what we create, to invite students to share ideas, and to collaborate with others in my department.

How would I sum up Pinterest? Simple, usable and accessible – three characteristics that together make Pinterest a classroom tool worth trying.

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