Friday, February 7, 2014

Vienna-Finley Elementary School | Pinner Principal Micah Heath

About VFES: This diverse collection of boards is curated by Principal Micah Heath. Vienna-Finley Elementary School of Scott County School District 2 in Scottsburg, Indiana is a 1:1 setting, which means you will find loads of resources to support technology integration in addition to general education goodies. Mr. Heath hasn't shied away from the use of social media in school communication. Notice the links to the VFES Facebook Page and Twitter profile in their Pinterest profile! From Facebook, you can access the school's more traditional webpage. 

We asked Micah to share what prompted him to begin using Pinterest: I began pinning in 2011 for personal use (books, home improvement ideas, etc.) and found Pinterest to be user friendly, well organized, visually appealing, and a powerful search engine for everything that interested me. After becoming the principal of Vienna-Finley Elementary School I wanted a way to share all of the great resources that I had collected over the years as a teacher and Technology Integration Specialist. After researching several options, Pinterest made the most sense as several of my teachers were already using Pinterest for both personal and professional use.  

What is your favorite VFES board?
iPads in the Classroom. Scott County School District 2 has put an iPad into the hands of every student in grades 4-8 with the goal of expanding that initiative to K-8 by the beginning of the 2014-2015 school year. Educational apps that align to the standards being taught in class and apps that allow our students to demonstrate what they have learned are near and dear to the hearts of SCSD2 educators.

What have you gained from using Pinterest?
Before Pinterest I used Google Chrome to simply bookmark every site that I found useful. The process of bookmarking a site is simple, but retrieving that site at a later date is a completely different story. I find the organizational structure of Pinterest much more appealing and easier to navigate compared to bookmarking websites. Also, the search engine built into Pinterest is a tool of great value. I am able to find results of better quality by using Pinterest's search engine than I am by simply Googling a topic. I'm confident that if someone else has taken the time to pin a resource than it is probably worth looking at, especially if it was a resource pinned by someone I have chosen to follow.

How would you describe your use of Pinterest?
At first I would just open up and pin all of the sites that I had bookmarked within a folder. I have yet to make it through all of the folders in my bookmarking cache, but I will dive into that at a later date. In the meantime I pin resources that I find while connecting with others on Twitter @mrheath326, I pin items that are sent to me via email, and I repin items that I stumble across while surfing Pinterest on my MacBook, desktop PC, iPad, and/or iPhone.

Can you share any advice for new Pinners?
If you are hesitant to get started then begin with something that interests you personally (cooking, vacations, photography) and let that be the foot in the door that leads to using Pinterest as a professional as well. Also, do not hesitate to ask others for help or click on Pinterest's Help Center. Pinterest really is a great is better to get started late than never.

I would set aside some time one day after school, on a weekend morning, on a snow day, or one day over Spring Break to dive into Pinterest for the first time. Starting with the education link within Pinterest's search tools would be an easy introduction to what Pinterest has to offer. A new user could also get started by searching for Educational Technology in Pinterest's search bar and then move onto more specific searches (literature circles, classroom management, fractions, etc.) once they get the hang of pinning items and creating folders.

Pinnovation Invitation: Some final advice from Micah, "Regardless of how great the resources are that you are pinning, you will have a hard time attracting fellow pinners if you are not following others. Old and new pinners alike should promote their Pinterest page via email, Facebook, Twitter, and other avenues of social media. In terms of connecting with fellow educators; the more the merrier." Share your Pinterest profile in the comments below so that INeLearn can follow your educational board(s)! Find others to follow and perhaps they'll follow in return!

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