Friday, February 28, 2014

Final Post for Digital Learning Month

We appreciate you following Pinnovation as part of the Office of eLearning's Digital Learning Month. Late last week, we realized that there would be a couple of gaps in the calendar so Monday morning we put out the call asking Pinners to share either their education boards or their profiles to be listed in today's finale. Crowdsourcing is a funny thing. You never know if it will be a flood or a trickle response. While you can see we had just two responses...we guarantee you these Pinners have shared valuable resources. Thank you to the other 26 Indiana educators who took time to respond to our feature interviews and share their insights with us! And with that, we present:

Morgan Walker, Director of Academic Services at Danville Community School Corporation who shares her education related boards:
Tim Wilhelmus is a Innovation, Curriculum and Technology Specialist with the Evansville Vanderburgh School Corporation. You can learn more about him on his Pinterest profile. He is currently curating nearly 60 boards and most all are related to his work. On a personal side, one of Tim's passions is Walt Disney World, so you'll find a few Disney boards in the collection as well.

Pinnovation Invitation: Let us know what you gained from Pinnovation. What would you have liked to have learned but didn't?

Thursday, February 27, 2014

New Washington Middle-High School Media Center

Meet the Pinner: We are excited to introduce you to another media specialist who is using Pinterest professionally. You may notice in the photo that the collection includes a teaser board that isn't yet built up. We like how Jill Sceifers, media specialist at Greater Clark County Schools, uses the board's description to drive interest for the school book fair. What most impresses us is how Jill's boards are both resources for colleagues and intentional educational tools for her students and their families.

What prompted you to begin Pinning?

I began by lurking and finding great things that I was personally interested in like recipes and craft projects, but never really started a board until this past fall. Our school corporation began a 1:1 technology initiative and started the year off with an awesome eLearning Conference for us. One of the presentors there challenged us all to have a Twitter account and Tweet every day. I have always loved technolgy and decided this would be a great time to try to use social media for professional purposes. I created the Twitter account, but still didn't manage to have time to Tweet daily, but a few students really liked the school library media center participating in social media. I established a My Big Campus library group, and then began to wonder about Pinterest for the school library media center.

I was amazed by the number of great educators and the amount of educational boards I found on Pinterest. I posted a query on our library ListServ, LM_Net and asked what others were doing with it. I also browsed through other school library media centers and gathered ideas from their boards. It all began with pinning just a few ideas for bulletin boards and lessons, but then I saw how this could develop into a great tool for our students and staff.

Do you have a favorite board you curate?
I have different favorites from time to time. It began with the boards that my students were most excited about that were on authors and suggested reading titles. It's now changing to my boards for teaching research. I am finding so many things that I think will excite my students when it's time to teach research skills -- I can't wait! I was also excited to tell our students today that the author, Meg Cabot had started following us -- so maybe my author board will be my favorite again in the near future too!

What have you gained from using Pinterest?
I use My Big Campus, Twitter, and I still use many websites on the internet to make webliographies for our web page. I find Pinterest so easy to use and search. I also really like the way it suggest other boards of interest. It's a great tool not only for connecting with other educators, but providing quality sources.

Can you share any advice for new Pinners?
I would suggest starting small and staying focused, there are so many good things out there and you can easily get distracted. Try to find another educator or friend to go through this experience with, it's great to have someone to enjoy it with!

Pinnovation Invitation from Jill herself: Don't forget this is another great way to connect with our parents and students. I have had a few parents make comments that they enjoy our boards, and I plan to try to publicize it more to both students and parents in the future to get a bigger following. I am excited to see how our boards evolve and can't wait to see the new ones others create!

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Pinner LInda Phillips

Meet the Pinner: Linda Phillips, a kindergarten teacher at Morgan Township Elementary, started using Pinterest about two years ago. She tells us, "As of today my Math board has 3,950 followers! I'm not sure if it is my favorite board, but I would say it's pretty popular among Pinners!"

What prompted you to begin Pinning?
I liked the idea that I could save interesting ideas without having to bookmark them on my computer. Pinterest has saved lots of memory space on my computer, plus I can access my pins anywhere, and on multiple devices. I have my pins organized onto specific boards which is another great reason to pin ~ if I want to look up a pattern for a crocheted hat, a recipe for dinner, or an idea for a math game, I am able to go directly to my boards and find what I am looking for. Another reason I use Pinterest is to promote my blog and my Teachers pay Teachers store. I have found that I get a lot of traffic in both from my pins.

How would you describe your use of Pinterest?
When I first started pinning I had generic boards such as food, education, fashion. Now I have many more boards that are much more specific. My education topics each have a board of their own, Math, Literacy, Writing, etc. I have even broken my non-education boards into more specialized topics: "Looks Like GSP" features clothing I think my daughter would like, while "Fashion" has pins of clothing I would wear.

I use Google Drive to save items that I have made for or purchased from Teachers pay Teachers. I like Pinterest because it gives me direct links to websites and has access to so many things. It is nice how the site can be searched for specific topics.

What have you gained from using Pinterest?

I think that Pinterest helps to fill a void left by the serious lack of funds for professional development. It certainly doesn't replace it, but because a world of ideas is available at the touch of a finger, I feel that I can always find fresh ideas.  

Can you share any advice for new Pinners?
I have found that by organizing my educational pins by topic is helpful when I want to find something. As I said earlier, when I first started pinning, I simply dumped all my education pins onto one board. It was very difficult to find what I wanted among all the many pins. Now it is much simpler to find a math idea when all of my math related pins are on one board. Some of my pins appear on multiple boards because they fit a number of criteria. I am also on several group boards. Some by invitation and some of my own creation. When the primary teachers participated in a Daily 5 book study last year, I created a group D5 board that anyone in my group could add pins to. I also follow other pinners who find great ideas. There is so very much interesting stuff on the web, it's impossible to find everything. The pinners I follow have found some great ideas. (I even come across pins from my blog sometimes!)

Don't be afraid to have a lot of boards right from the start. Think of what you are looking for and break it down to categories. I have a blanket Literacy board, but have been thinking of repining many of my pins onto even more specific skills boards: CVC words, Sight Words, etc.

Pinnovation Invitation: Look over your boards, is there one that is in need of being reorganized in more specific categories such as Linda's Literacy board? Select a few pins to move to a new board to begin the process.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Pinners Kelly Masters and Sara Hunter

Meet the Pinners: Today we are featuring two Zionsville Community Schools educators. Three and half years ago, Kelly Masters began using Pinterest and created the Eagle STEM profile last summer. Sara Hunter, a returning Pinnovator, pins to Union STEM. This is what they shared with us:

We are both elementary Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Coaches. We teach a STEM class to students in grades 1-4 as well as work alongside teachers coaching in all areas of STEM. Kelly is also the high ability coach at her school, Eagle Elementary, and she also teaches a 2nd grade high ability math class in addition to her STEM classes.

What prompted you to begin Pinning?
As teachers, we spend a lot of time looking for things for our classrooms! Pinterest is full of great resources for teachers. Our time is limited, so we need to work smarter, not harder. Why reinvent the wheel? There are a lot of great things to “borrow” from fellow educators on Pinterest. Keeping all of these resources in a place that is easy to access is important. We both also like the visual aspect of Pinterest.
Kelly: I started the Eagle STEM Pinterest Board in order to share resources with teachers that are in a central location. Teachers use Pinterest already and I didn't want it to be "one more thing" for them to do or use. I share the Pinterest Board with teachers and let them know that I am curating resources for them to "steal". The link is also in my signature at the end of emails I send. I encourage my staff to follow the Eagle STEM Board. If I find something I think a specific teacher or teachers would like, I will send it to them personally via Pinterest to make sure they see it.
Sara: When I saw Kelly’s Pinterest boards for Eagle STEM, I thought it was genius! 95% of teachers in my building have Pinterest accounts, so it was a great way to curate resources to share with them. I like that users can create group boards, which allows multiple users to pin to the same board for collaboration around a topic.
Can you share any advice for new Pinners?
Pinterest can be a bit overwhelming.  Once you start pinning resources, make sure your boards are organized in a way that is easy for you and makes sense.   This way your resources will be easy to find and readily accessible.

  • Make sure your boards are specific and organized.  You probably don’t want to have a board titled Language Arts.  You want to have a board  for reading, one for grammar and writing, and one for spelling and vocabulary.  Organization and being specific is key, otherwise it will seem too overwhelming.  We’ve seen some people who have over 800 pins for certain boards, that’s just too much!
  • Pin from multiple sources.  When you find a great blog post on Twitter, pin it to save it and share it.  Pinterest can be a great search engine to find what you’re looking for, but it shouldn’t be the only place you search and find new ideas.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Pinner Indiana eLearning (INeLearn)

We had no intention of featuring ourselves in Pinnovation, but even the best laid plans sometimes fall apart. Rather than frantically try to fill two recently vacated days on the calendar, we thought we'd use today to acquaint you with some of our boards, and we hope to use Friday to showcase ANY and ALL new Pinners that have taken the Pinterest plunge! See details in the Pinnovation Invitation at the end of this post.

What are we pinning? Our primary boards were broad and grew quickly in the first year we were pinning. We started breaking some of the overloaded boards into collections such as our series of Toolboxes and Digital Content.
The Toolbox: There are currently nine Toolboxes in the series including Assessments, BackChannels, Cloud Store and Share, Curation, Graphic Organizers, Presentation Creation, Productivity, Research and Vocabulary.  New areas are developed as there is a demand.

Digital Content:
We've created more specific digital content boards for Business, FACS, History, Language Arts, Math, Science, and World Language. Ideally, we'd have all of these group boards with content area experts pinning together. Eventually we envision the boards breaking out even further by specific grade levels or courses. 

Some of our most popular boards are around learning theory and different models for engaging learners. For example, with the explosion of interest following the Hour of Code and our current book club read, our Maker Movement, Programming and Coding board is regularly visited. Explore any of our 65 boards covering all things PBL to Virtual Schools in Indiana.

We thought we'd share some boards that model how a school or district might Pin for their families:
Raising Digital Citizens is a board that educators can reference but that is designed to be shared with parents. Any school that embraces digital learning is encouraged to create a board with an online safety focus for families. 
What We're Reading serves as a virtual bookshelf for the fall and spring book club selections. This is such an easy way to share professional learning with parents. You don't have to just pin books. Share professional journal articles or blog posts that shape the culture of learning and leading in your school.

Since we primarily Pin with educators in mind, we found a few example boards that might appeal to families that inspire you to begin pinning for your class, school or district:

  • A board of After School Activities and Adventures would be easy to put together using this example. Notice too that this is a Group Board. What a great way to connect with parents and encourage involvement by inviting them to Pin with you on select boards! 
  • Not that we want more snow days, but that certainly would be a popular board--Fun Things to Do during a Polar Vortex... Here's an example from Arkansas River Valley Regional Library.
  • Share creative ways to encourage packing healthy lunches. You could even invite the cafeteria staff to take pictures of their offerings and post pictures to share school lunch options with families. 
  • There are a number of potential boards about wellness for all grade levels-particularly middle and high school students and their families. Learn more about how the counselors for a Washington state school use Pinterest here.

Pinnovation Invitation: Start a classroom, school or district Pinterest profile and begin with one or two boards for your students and or their families.  If you already have such a board or are willing to share your new efforts, email Michelle at so that your board(s) can be included in our final Pinnovation post for Digital Learning Month February 2014 this Friday.

We welcome all education focused boards for this special end of the month post. If you'd rather drop us the link through a Google form, here's a how! We are glad you've joined us for Pinnovation and hope that you've found something useful this month! 

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Pinner Media Mumblings

Meet the Pinner: We admit Media Mumblings isn't really this pinner's name, but with such a cool username we couldn't resist using it in the post title! The library media specialist behind the title is Debbie Acord of Adams Central Community Schools. While Debbie shares loads of resources (nearly 10,000 pins over the last four years) on her Pinterest boards, you should know that she also blogs at

How would you describe your use of Pinterest?
The pins I collect are mostly from other pinners I follow. I started following friends, but when I wanted specific ideas, I would search for them and in the process found many great pinners to follow. I also started following pincers by looking at boards of those who started following or pinning me. After I had established some boards, I began pinning using the Pin It tool to pin some sites I found on the web.

When it comes to having a favorite board: I don't really focus on any one board. My focus changes according to my needs.

What have you gained from using Pinterest?
I love exploring new tech tools. I started pinning because I had heard of Pinterest and wanted to check out recipes and ideas for my home. About this same time, I was transitioning from a 5th grade classroom to a position as a K-12 media specialist. I began using Pinterest as a professional development tool to brush up on resources and trends.

I have another tool that curate on occasionally called Scoop It. I use Scoop It to collect articles and information. However, I curate on Pinterest regularly. Pinterest is very visual, and makes it easier for me to envision ideas and adaptations to the pins as I curate them. I love that Pinterest allows me to create lots of boards to organize my ideas. Pinterest also lets me search based on pins, boards, or pinners to get better search results.

Can you share any advice for new Pinners?
Start lots of boards in the beginning! It is easier to organize pins when you have several empty boards. It will also provide some focus while looking at pins. It is VERY EASY to get lost in Pinterestland.  

If you see a lot of irrelevant pins in your feed, you can go in and unfollow boards that are not of interest to you. Then when you refresh your feed it will be cleaned up.

You can build boards based on projects/units by editing pins to move them in and out of boards or pinning the same pin on multiple boards for a more permanent collection.

What if Pinterest is blocked at school?
If your school blocks Pinterest, you can print out Pinterest boards and attach pins to lesson plans to serve as a visual reminder/guide.

Part of my job as a media specialist is to collaborate with teachers and plan programs in my school. I create boards based on collaborations with teachers or programs. I print these boards and take them with me to meetings so I can refer to them in meetings and leave them with the person I am meeting with.

Pinnovation Invitation: There are districts that block Pinterest categorically as a social media platform. What are the pros and cons to blocking a tool like Pinterest? How can educators make the case for making it accessible at school?

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Digital Citizenship | Pinner Bill Gumula

Meet the Pinner:
Bill Gumula is an eLearning coach with Evansville Vanderburgh School Corporation. He happens to also be a certified Common Sense Educator and creator of the EVSC Digital Heroism Challenge. Given his passion for the topic, we wanted to feature Bill's Digital Citizenship board as part of Pinnovation. Seriously, it deserves more than two followers! It's important to note that Bill has other boards worth exploring too. 

How would you describe your use of Pinterest?    
As a guy I am not all about Pinterest (sorry if I offend) but I certainly find value in its ability to bring together the best of the web in one place and make it easy to digest, access, and share your own resources. I am a very visual person and so when I can see resources laid out for me in this fashion it helps me sort through them quickly and get to what I need quicker.

Do you curate using any other tools? What do you like about Pinterest in comparison?
I also use Evernote, Symbaloo, and Pearltrees to curate materials. I like the simplicity of Pinterest and, as I mentioned previously, the visual layout allowing me to scan a number of resources quickly.

Can you share any advice for new Pinners?
Just dive in and start exploring. It is amazing the wealth of resources you will find waiting for you!

Pinnovation Invitation: How long has it been since you last visited Pinterest? Bill tells us, "About a year ago I dabbled in pinning, and then fell out of the practice." We encourage you to revisit a board that you have neglected. Scan the resources. Search for new discoveries that can be pinned. And share what you find with someone!