Teaching with Technology: Pinterest

Screen Shot 2017-05-08 at 6.30.51 PMDoes Pinterest have a place in the classroom?

I feel like I spend a lot of time penalizing students for inappropriate use of technology in my classes. You see, I was under the impression that learning and social media had to be kept completely separate. However, I realized I was fighting a losing battle. My student USE social media and are constantly connected to their social media accounts. They check-in and sometimes I am not completely sure that they are consciously aware that they are doing it. It is ingrained in who they are. A very hard habit to break! They have been inundated with technology their entire lives.

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So….rather than continuing to fight this losing battle, I decided to adapt my thinking and my teaching style to meet the needs and preferences of my students. I began to brainstorm how to incorporate social media into topics and lessons I was teaching. I was still not completely convinced that social media could enhance the learning experience.!.!

Pinterest is a social media site that I use on a regular basis. I love that it provides the opportunity to access information for current use or to refer to at a later date. For example, I pin recipes that I want to use later that day, and then when I decide to make the recipe again weeks or months later, it is easy to access, because it is saved to my “Favorite Recipes” board. What if students could pin useful information on topics we are studying in class applying those topics to their lives, based upon what they pin. And, they can return to the information at a later date if they choose to. Students can create boards on any topic and can pin all types of information, videos, articles, blogs, publications, info graphs..… This allows them to locate the resources on a topic and save them in one place.

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Organization is another benefit! Boards can be created to organize information on a topic. Students can create boards related to specific course content. They could also create boards to help them with writing or conducting research or on topics related to studying or note taking. By saving information to specific boards, it is easier to locate the information to refer back to at a later date.

Pinterest has an edit feature. This feature allows student to add a description to the pins they save. They can provide a brief description that helps them to remember the purpose of the pin and how it relates to the topic they are currently studying. A sentence or a few sentences can be added. In addition to adding a brief description to each pin, a brief description of the board as a whole can also be added. These descriptions can serve as a reminder to the student and can demonstrate understanding and application to an instructor who is reviewing the link to a particular board.

Links to specific boards can be sent to the instructor to review. The instructor can add comments to the descriptions that students add providing feedback on the content saved.

Boards can be shared with other students in the class. This allows for group work and collaboration. A few students can share a board and collaborate on a topic, synchronously or asynchronously. This enhances group projects and is a great collaboration tool! Who knew social media could be so useful in the classroom?!?!?!

Once class ends, student can return to their boards, later in the semester, or months or even years after the class ends and use the information they saved. They can use the information – perhaps in a future class or in a professional setting.

The benefits from using Pinterest are amazing. And you will be incorporating something most student like. However, there is a need for an alternative assignment or modification of this type of assignment for those who don’t have a Pinterest account or who don’t wish to create an account. But, I find that most of my students are up for a new challenge – those who don’t have an account are often willing to create one or work with a classmate who has one to complete these projects.

Are there topics that you are considering using Pinterest to help students in your classes to explore? Post them below….

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