Years ago, I heard about Delicious for social bookmarking and the idea of Delicious is a great fit for classrooms. I use Delicious to create and store bookmarks and bookmark sets so that I don't have to continuously search Google to find something that I came across before. It uses tags well, and it's functional for me to use. Its really only lacking one thing....its boring to look at! I'm just a graphical person by nature, and I need visual reminders and reinforcements. To me, Pinterest fills that gap.
In my mind, I can imagine a collaborative classroom. My 101 class has an account, the boards are on topics that we will be studying. For each board, my students are collaborators on that board. Their assignment is to find resources that are related to that topic. However, I would want to impose some guidelines:
- They have to read each resource and evaluate it much like a peer-review process (learning moment when I explain to them what peer-review is)
- Students need to add or comment on the pins with their remarks (teaching moment - talk about adding to a conversation professionally)
- Students if they like should repin, or "like" a pin to teach them how they can share resources to their networks (understanding reach, influence and outreach models)
Maybe at the end of the semester, I'll have them write a paper and they can use the information they "researched" through the Pinterest collaboration to understand how to build a bibliographic reference set. I can of course teach them these things in the traditional way, but maybe there is some value in utilizing some of this technology to both teach and learn? In the process of doing something fun (pinning) maybe they will learn more about the very topic we are studying, but also about content curation of resources, or understanding what is good, science-based information, and what is not? Perhaps they will uncover resources that lead them to new agencies, or job opportunities? Maybe it will educate an audience they never have had a chance to reach out to before?
I can see ways in which this technology (not specifically Pinterest perhaps) can make a connection to our students, maybe it can even teach us a few new things. Most exciting to me is the opportunity to spice up the classroom and motivate students to look for resources, evaluate, and simulate that knowledge on a topic. When I'm looking for a new bag of tricks, this one might fit the bill.