Wednesday, August 28, 2013

4 Innovative ideas for using Pinterest to support learning

Guest post by Cathy Earle
People are “pinning,” “liking,” and “commenting” on recipes and fashions, wedding ideas and birthday party themes, innovative ways to display collections and cool DIY bookshelf projects on Pinterest, a gigantic virtual bulletin board where you can collect and sort all your favorite ideas and websites. You can follow other people's boards on topics that interest you, and you can “window shop” amongst others' offerings, pinning only the items that you want or need.
Innovative educators have also discovered that the platform is a valuable source for lesson ideas, classroom crafts, and other educational materials.
1)    Engage with and understand visual information -
Pinterest capitalizes on the ability to quickly engage with and understand information presented within a strong visual design. We don't have to skim text to find the topic we are looking for—instead, our eye quickly focuses on a visual of that topic. “Bam! Volcanoes—cool, just what I need!” “Dinosaurs! Yes!” “What's this fountain-looking thing? Oh, just what I was looking for: experiments using water!” I’ve used it to gather my favorite Infographic and collect Facebook and Internet pictures that feature inspirational quotes from well-known scientists and other famous people.


2)    Collect materials and resources -
Innovative educators will appreciate its usefulness when it comes to collecting learning materials and resources. For example, I have a collection of math tricks and manipulatives, math videos, and even silly math problems. Silly math problems can break the ice and loosen kids up before tackling the dreaded word problems. Some of the items I have pinned just make kids laugh, but some can also make kids think: “3 out of 2 people have problems with fractions. Are you one of them?”


3)    Create a visual index of your blog -
Have a blog? Pinterest boards can be used to create a visual index as I’ve done with my blog Every Day Is Special. The blog features four years’ worth of short articles about the days of the year, focusing on world holidays, historical anniversaries, and famous birthdays. Posts include captivating photos and links to cool videos, experiments, and other internet resources. The posts can serve as learning resources for teachers and parents to use with their children.


A few recent posts:
·         August 21 – Earth Overshoot Day
·         August 22 – Hopi Snake Dance
·         August 23 – Birthday of physicist William Eccles
·         August 24 – Birthday of deaf actress Marlee Matlin
4)    Plan for learning around the calendar -
I have collected such posts into boards for topics like National days of countries around the world and Birthdays of artists. Eventually these will be created for each month.


For September you can find boards in the following categories:
·         Holidays
·         Birthdays
·         Historical anniversaries
Collecting them into boards make it easier for teachers and parents to find and plan events around the calendar.
Check out Pinterest this school year. When you do, you’ll find everything from ways to jazz up your non-virtual bulletin boards to experiments, from learning games to educational worksheets. It's fun and easy and a little bit addicting!
– Cathy Earle is an education writer and teacher. She collects educational resources on Pinterest and writes a blog for students, parents, and teachers.

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