Literacy ShopTalk

"Prepare self-directed learners to think critically about the messages received and created by media.”

Digital Learning- Celebrating Our Passions- 6

Written By: Paula Neidlinger - Feb• 17•14

Celebrating our passion for teaching and learning through digital learning……..

Digital learning today is opening up classrooms to the world by providing teachers with the tools, access, and opportunities, which is enabling personalized learning programs for all students. As we celebrate Digital Learning Month during February, I’d like to recognize the digital instructional practices that are being effectively integrated by teachers across our country, strengthening and positively impacting student’s learning experiences.


Sharing Passions- Part 6 in the Series this month

Throughout the month of February, educators from around the country will be sharing their passions for digital learning as guest bloggers on Literacy ShopTalk.


Please Welcome-

Susie Highley @Shighley


Susie is a Media Specialist at Creston Middle School/Intermediate Academy in Warren Township in Indianapolis. She taught science for 23 years before moving into the library, which is a wonderful place to be during this time of technology innovation!  Susie is currently on the board of Indiana Middle Level Education Association (IMLEA) and president of the Association of Indiana School Library Educators (AISLE). She thoroughly enjoys the many @INeLearning opportunities, both virtually and F2F, and all the great educators in Indiana.

Pinterest: a picture really is worth a thousand words…………

My first encounters with Pinterest involved cutesy crafts and delicious-looking crock pot recipes. I tried it for a bit, then, as with many other new tools, put it out of my mind, as I felt that I should be spending more of my time on educational endeavors.

 Fast forward to the time when I noticed more and more teachers sharing Pinterest links and noticed the familiar ‘P’ appearing on the pages of education sites I admired. As an experiment, I transformed a simple quia page I’d maintained for years with summer reading links into a Pinterest page.  Which one would students, staff, and parents prefer: no contest, the Pinterest.

 What do I like about Pinterest: a picture really is worth a thousand words. In a split second, you can tell much more about what is available, and can select the ideas that intrigue you.  I also like that it is relatively easy to use.  I generally pin on my laptop, but I know many people use their phones almost exclusively.  Many of the things that I pin are posts I see first on Facebook or Twitter (I follow lots of valuable educational entities, including TeachThought, Mindshift, Edutopia, Med Kharbach, and several library organizations.)

 You can also collaborate with others.  One group board I first joined in the summer of 2012 is still going strong! (SIGLIB-ISTE, although it’s even gotten some spam)  A friend asked me for some science read-aloud suggestions, and after I started to type a list, I realized it would be more efficient for us to share a Pinterest board.

 My current favorite board is one I created on the Sochi Olympics. I took great care to curate it, including only current, free, relevant links. I was a guest pinner for Horace Mann, and for that board include what I think are THE BEST things I come across in any field of education.  I asked other school library media specialists for suggestions at first, so I call it my “Crowd-Sourced Librarian Favorites” After that experience, I wrote about it on my blog.

What I would like to see improved: although you can change the order of the boards on your profile, you can’t change the order of pins on a board.  If I want a particular image near the top of a board, I’ve even been known to delete a pin and repin it so to move it up. It’s not always easy to search Pinterest.  To find more specific things, I actually prefer diigo, where I can be very precise with tags in particular. I’m running into more and more people who are pinning links to their Teachers Pay Teachers pages, and I am all about free! (although some TPT things are free)

 It’s fun to see when others repin some of my links (it’s not always what you expect), and interesting to see how they categorize the same pin. Sometimes you can further investigate the board they used for your pin, and get more ideas for yourself.

I have some other Pinterest tips on DOE’s Pinnovation Blog for this month. Be sure to check out the other 27 entries there as they appear daily, and feel free to contact me with questions– or give me suggestions!  I did start out rather slowly, but now really value my information and images stored via Pinterest.

How have you incorporated Pinterest into your classroom?  Share your ideas and lessons.


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