Nearly two years since its launch, Pinterest – the online pinboard, is starting to make the ‘point’ that it is a ‘sharp’ competitor to some of the leading social networks. Pin related puns aside, as the Pinterest community steadily grows the applications for the virtual pinboard are becoming more and more impressive and the opportunity to digitize your school scrapbook is fast approaching.
Currently in open Beta, joining the network requires an invite, either forwarded from a current member or requested on the Pinterest site. If you’re invited by an existing member you can sign up straight away. If you don’t know anyone using the service, you will be looking at about a five day wait when requesting through the site.
So, you might already be on Pinterest, or waiting for an invite, but how can the growing network be used in the classroom? Let’s take a look at what Pinterest can do and how schools can make the most of their virtual school scrapbook.
Take Your School Scrapbook Digital
What Does It Look Like?
Pinterest feels like a cross between, Flickr, Diigo and Facebook. A mix of image sharing, social bookmarking and social networking, Pinterest creates the perfect environment for sharing the things you love online.
Very visual, the interface is focused around “pinning” images to your board and sharing them with the Pinterest community. Your followers can, re-pin (pin on their own board), like and comment your images.
How Does Pinterest Work?
As the name suggests, the whole network revolves around ‘pinning’ items to your board. There are two methods for adding a pin to your board:
“Add” from your Pintrest page – Once logged into Pinterest you will have an ‘Add +’ button in your menu-bar. This can be clicked at any stage to add a new pin, upload a pin, or create a board.
Pinterest bookmarklet – The Pinterest bookmarklet lets you pin any page you happen to be visiting. Install the bookmarklet, then, any time you feel the need to ‘Pin’, click it, select the image to pin, and ‘ta-da’ it’s on your board.
Who Is Using It?
The Pinterest community has grown very quickly and is broadening fast. Initial popularity of the site was through sharing online purchases, fashion, food and shopping. But, as more users join the site and more topics are explored, there are now all sorts of people ‘Pinning Their Interests’. Here are some of the top pinners to follow:
So Pinterest is certainly gaining popularity in the consumer space, but what are some of the applications for education? Can we really throw away the scissors and glue and go full digital on the school scrapbook?
Sharing project resources – Students and teachers can create boards to collect, share and collate resources. For example, an art teacher could create boards “Leonardo”, “Michaelangelo”, “Raphael” and “Donatello”. Whenever a student finds a relevant article, image or resource, they can pin it to the appropriate board. All resources are then in a single public place for students and teachers to view.
Research Tool – Focusing on a task at a time is important. Using pins, students can go on a research frenzy and pin items as they find them. Once they have collected enough resources, they can concentrate on reviewing their boards. The image-based nature of Pinterest makes this particularly useful as the images promote good visual cues to the material collected.
Present A Board – Rather than have students put together a poster or essay for your next class project, try getting them to create a board on Pinterest. The virtual pinboard is a very engaging and interesting way to present information and it may be a great way for students to share their work further than the classroom.
To-Read List – Keep a class board, where you post images, articles and resources you think are relevant to your class. Students can follow your boards and will see your new pins in their stream whenever they log on to the site.
Pursue Interests – Pinterest offers a number of ways to find pins and boards of particular interest. Whether students are trying to find information on a particular topic, or browse a hobby or passion, their are a number of ways to explore. Pinterest aggregates popular pins into subset categories such as Art, Design, Education, etc. This offers an organized way to find links relevant to you. Following pinners with similar interest is also a great way to find new resources on your particular passions.
Discover New Interests – Looking at pages of images you will find very quickly that it is easy to get distracted… But distraction has its upsides. It is a great way to find new things that you did not know you had an interest in. Try checking out the ‘Popular’ button on Pinterest to see what is getting the most attention on the site right now.
If you are interested in sharing your pins, follow the Fractus Learning school scrapbook and let’s see what we can pin together.
Do you think Pinterest can become the digital school scrapbook? And what are other ways you can see it being used in the classroom?