At the heart of our work is designing compelling learning experiences for our students. Great lessons are engaging, develop skills, convey knowledge, and speak to the individual needs of each child. They are both challenging and achievable, while aligning to our curriculum and the academic standards our community embraces. They provide opportunities for our students to create, communicate, collaborate, and think critically, and they give students ownership of their learning by providing voice and choice.
Building 180 of these lessons each year is a tall order for the creativity and organization of any teacher. Fortunately, none of us have to rely on only our experiences and imaginations to create daily learning experiences. Our professional learning networks open the doors to the best ideas from teachers all over the world. There are dozens of great online tools that we can use to locate, curate and organize great lesson ideas, and there are fantastic social networking tools where teachers share ideas every day. One great tool that does all of this is Pinterest.
What is Pinterest?
Check out this video to get a general sense of how Pinterest works:
There are two features that make Pinterest such an effective tool for teachers. The first is it’s interface that allows an individual to curate ideas. First, users find content that is useful or inspirational. These items are called Pins in the Pinterest metaphor. Those pins are collected (Pinned) on Boards. So, as a user, I might pin an idea for a lesson plan in Math to my Math Resources Board. My Boards become an effective place for me to explore great ideas that I have found over time.
The other great Pinterest feature is its community. Many educators share their Boards publicly on Pinterest. As a member of Pinterest, I can follow educators whose Boards are useful to me. I can also Re-Pin their ideas to my Boards with a click of a button. In effect, I have access to the power of thousands of educators who are organizing their ideas on Pinterest, and by sharing my Boards, I am supporting the learning of my fellow educators.
Here is a great Prezi that shares some terrific ways that educators are already using Pinterest to enhance the learning in their classes:
NOTE: If the Prezi doesn’t show, click the puzzle piece icon to run Adobe Flash.
Here are a few more resources to get you started:
- Communication Tools: Pinterest
- Pinterest, EduClipper, Learnist
- Pinterest in the Classroom
- Pinterest for Teachers
- Pinterest in Education
- 35 Educators to Follow
- Find, Pin and Share Classroom Design Resources
- Find, Pin and Share Lesson Plan Ideas
- Find, Pin and Share Inspiration for Teachers
- Find, Pin and Share Great Articles and Blogs About Teaching
- Find, Pin and Share Great Examples of your Content in the World
- Find, Pin and Share Great Writing about Your Content
- Find, Pin and Share Resources for Specific Lessons and Units
- Find, Pin and Share Content that will Engage Students and Parents
- Pin and Share Examples of the Learning that Goes on in Your Classroom
- Find, Pin and Share Brainteasers, Writing Prompts, Brain Breaks, Ice Breakers, and Effective Teaching Strategies
Why it Matters (Teaching Rubric)
Our ability to design effective lessons for our learners that are engaging, well-structured, differentiated and aligned to our standards (Competency 1.1) is enhanced when we have access to a wider variety of resources. When we collaborate with colleagues both in our buildings and through online communities (Competency 4.1) we have the capacity to grow more quickly as educators, and to enhance the work of our profession as a whole.
If Pinterest isn’t your thing, there are always other tools for both curating online resources and for collaborating and building your personal learning network. For curation, some of our favorites include LiveBinders, Symbaloo, Sqworl, Blendspace, and LessonPaths. If you are looking for thriving online collaborative communities, you can find them in lots of places. Some of our favorites include Twitter, Google+, Facebook and Instagram. Finally, if you are looking for tools that are like Pinterest, but that have more of an education focus, check out Participate (formerly EduClipper).
Today’s challenge is to look at the options in a curation and collaboration tool like Pinterest and reflect on how you could use this resource to enhance lesson planning and professional collaboration. Share those reflections in the comments below and if you have another great curation or collaboration tool please feel free to add it to your comments as well. Commenting on others responses is a great way to share ideas and make educational connections, just remember that “active participation” is more than just an “attaboy” for someone else. Enjoy!
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