Edu-pinning: Pinterest in Education

My name is Erin Paynter and I am addicted to Pinterest.

Pinterest has been named over and over as the hottest new website for 2012, with the rate of new users rising every week at a seemingly exponential rate. Some of what is driving the huge rate of growth is its “viral” nature, meaning re-pins account for most of the activity on the site (MarktetingProfs article: Social Media: What’s Driving Pinterest’s Amazing Growth).  My husband was at first fascinated by my fascination, but now he looks at me quizzically and asks, “Seriously, what’s it for?”.   I found Courtney Lowery Cowgill’s article on MediaShift to be a great explanation:  it’s part social networking (kind of),  part bookmarking, part curating, part blogging.

In the past few weeks, the uses of Pinterest in the field of education have come zooming to the forefront of the online edu-chatter (see this post by Eric Sheninger).  After checking it out and watching for a while, I began pinning and following other pinners and/or their boards.  I have seen teachers use it to display ideas regarding classroom organization and management, lesson plan ideas and assessment tools.  Lately I’ve begun following fellow administrators as they share everything from inspirational leadership quotes, to videos, to web 2.0 tools for educators, social media and infographics. What I like most about Pinterest is that you can follow individual boards rather than everything a pinner posts.  This is great because many pinners are combining professional resources with personal ones.  In other words, I can follow a colleague’s board on leadership in education, but not the one they’ve created for remodeling their kitchen or their upcoming wedding.

These are six pinners from the field of education and leadership that I think have boards worth following:

Vicki Davis (coolcatteacher)

Vicki has created boards on:  “Being a Social Media Maven”, “Teaching Ideas and Apps” and “Collaborative Writing”, and my favourite “Global Collaboration in Education”.

Eric Sheninger (esheninger)

One of the movers and shakers in the field of social media in education, Eric is using his boards to organize resources in the areas of educational videos, Google chrome extensions, Twitter apps and resources, Web 2.0 tools for educators and his personal learning network (PLN). He was the first educator I followed and I repinned his stuff like mad in my beginnings.

Karen Steffensen (kstef2)

Karen is an educator with the Ontario Ministry of Education’s Literacy and Numeracy Secretariat.  She has created boards on “Transforming Education”, “Great PD Links” and boards with resources in the areas of science, the arts, literacy and numeracy.

Debbie Fucoloro (debbiefuco)

An ICT specialist in Missouri, Debbie has curated her resources on social media and web 2.0, ideas in education, infographics and her work as a PhD grad student.

Shannon Smith (shannoninottawa)

Shannon’s boards run the gamut of teaching from kinder to language arts, and includes a great board on edtech essentials.

Shelly Terrell (shellyterrell)

By far the busiest pinner of the list, Shelly has amassed an extensive set of resources in everything from digital storytelling and graphic organizers, to collaboration tools and word cloud tools.

After a week or so of pinning, my thoughts are now looking to the classroom.  Pinterest has shown itself to be highly engaging with many potential uses for teachers, but what about the students? Has anyone begun using it with students? in what capacity? What has the feedback to you been? I would love to get a discussion going…

Our Moral Obligation

I was on a search for videos on YouTube that I could share with my staff and came across Sheryl Nussbaum-Beach’s 2008 talk in Christchurch,  New Zealand. While it is not new to say that teachers have the moral obligation to prepare students for their future in the job world, it is provocative (at least with some) to throw down the gauntlet and fuse this obligation with the use of social media and other technologies within the safety nets of our classrooms. We are doing students a huge disservice if we ignore, criticize and/or fuel the fear-mongering that surrounds the use of SM and tech in our schools.