Friday, February 14, 2014

Pinner Special Services, Johnson County and Surrounding Schools

Meet the Pinner: Special Services, Johnson County and Surrounding Schools has created a profile for sharing resources among their staff, with schools and for families. Multiple program support staff members contribute to the pins and if you look closely, you'll see the Group Board icon on a few of the boards to the right of the board titles. This means that multiple pinners (profiles) are pinning to the board. Each pin on the board shows which pinner made the contribution as you can see on the iPads for Education board below.

We discovered the Special Services, Johnson County and Surround Schools boards by checking out who Indiana educators were following. When we contacted the organization (which was possible because they linked their webpage to their profile), they put us in touch with Kris Baker, a behavior/autism consultant, who graciously responded to our Pinnovation invitation. She told us: 

Special Services, Johnson County and Surrounding Schools has several staff members that pin; a speech language pathologist, occupational therapist, preschool teacher, transition coordinator, as well as program support staff (behavior consultant). Each of these experts in their field have boards and pinners that they follow. We also have our own personal accounts that we use to re-pin to the SSJCSS Pinterest page. We also create pins from ideas shared by staff and by following boards specifically linked to our students' needs such as visual supports, sensory integration, structured tasks, independent living skills, behavior intervention, apps for education, early childhood education and more.

Kris gets the value of Pinterest and shares how she got started using Pinterest for professional learning and collaboration: I personally began pinning in 2010 after learning of ideas for structured tasks based on the TEACCH model out of North Carolina. At this time, the only way to share ideas with structured tasks was word of mouth or from a book. Our cooperative decided to create a Pinterest account and boards after a meeting of individuals that attended the National CEC (Council for Exceptional Children) conference. We wanted to find a convenient and easily accessible way to share up and coming ideas and resources specific to the special population of children we serve with the staff and families of our students.

How would you describe your organization's use of Pinterest?
We were prompted to begin pinning because we were trying to find a way for the staff in our cooperative (SLPs, OTs, PTs, preschool teachers, school psychologists, behavior consultants and more), the staff in our 8 supporting districts and parents to have quick and easy access to lesson plans, visual supports, technology programs, apps and other relevant resources in one location. We wanted to have one place where they could go for a multitude of resources for the vast needs to best serve children and youth with special needs. I have found that staff and parents are often willing to try something new, they just need a little inspiration and the ideas found on Pinterest can do just that. For example, if we have student struggling with a sensory need and what we have tried so far doesn't work, staff can turn to our Pinterest page for alternate ideas that they might not have considered otherwise. 

Do you have a favorite board that you curate?
I think the entire Special Service Pinterest page is excellent. The boards are geared towards serving students with special needs; however, they can be used by general educators as well as parents and families. While I work as a behavior consultant, I have used pins from the boards managed by our SLP and preschool teacher for students in other grades and shared their boards with families for some ideas and activities at home.

Can you share any advice for new Pinners?
I think the biggest thing is to be creative with your search if you don't find what you want with your initial search. For example, to find sensory activities, you may have to look under sensory, occupational therapy, autism, and/or sensory integration.  

Once you find a pinner with several pins you appreciate, follow either the pinner or their specific board. Also, look for fellow staff members that might be pinning. Often the best ideas can come from the person across the hall!  

When you find yourself pinning a lot of pins from a specific pinner or board, make sure to follow that board. If you don't, you may spend time trying to find that board. This defeats one of the great benefits to Pinterest, it is quick and easy access to ideas and inspiration.  

Take time to pin your own ideas and creations to share with others! Often, I have found most people spend their time looking for other pins. Take the time to share your genius! The more people that are sharing their ideas, the greater the inspiration.  

Pinnovation Invitation: Think of the stakeholders you serve in your work. What is a need you can address by creating a resource board for this group? Share your ideas in the comments below. Do you already have a board for this purpose? Share the link!

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