Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Using Social Media as Professional Development: Pinterest and Instagram

As mentioned previously, this is one of a series of posts. You can find a post on BloggingFacebookPinterest/Instagram, and Twitter (What a Twitter Chat isHow to use Twitter as PD).  I put Pinterest and Instagram together because these two Social platforms are for visual learners and communicators.


Have you heard of this new thing called Pinterest.  Husbands everywhere are protesting it because it has brought back the need for a honey-do list!  Well, that was until they started checking out Pinterest themselves, started a secret Pinterest account and now rely on it for the best way to keep your grass green and grill food.

I have found Pinterest to be a POWERFUL professional development. I started the account (click here)when Pinterest was a baby.  At first I was completely addicted, I would get stuck pinning for hours.  I have since learned how to balance Pinterest in life.  For real!  I only go on when I have a few minutes, I set a time limit and I stick to it.  Because if the endless ideas on this site, I have learned that Pinterest is a healthy addition to my life in small 'portions'.

This is how I moved Pinterest from being a pastime to Professional Development. First I started an account and started following other teachers.  I treat this account as a professional account.  Yes, I have recipes, and home projects pinned, but I never pin anything that I feel is inappropriate.  No Memes, nothing sexually provocative, no violence... and so on.  This way I feel confident in what others see when they follow me.  Another way to do this is to create a board that is private (others can not see), this way you can pin what you want, but it will not show up on the feeds of your followers.

Several years ago I was invited as a participant in a couple of boards.  One was titled Art and the other NAEA Conference.  The NAEA Conference was a board created to bond and share the events of the National Convention for Art Educators.  The other, Art Board, was created to share pins of interested to art teachers all over the world.  In this one board alone there is 1.6K pins and 47K followers.  That's an amazing audience.  These boards and many other boards were created by a Pinterest Queen named Donna Staten.  Someone to start following if you don't already.

So our district has brought this idea to a small group.  The Elementary Art Teachers on ISD 728 have started several boards that we share.  Many of us do a fundraiser at our school at the start of the year that allows students artwork to be featured on products such as Mugs, T-shirts, Necklaces and so on.  Some of us use Square 1 and other use Art to Remembers.  There has to be quick turn around on this project and it also needs to be bold and bright.  Our shared board has allowed us to communicate our ideas with one another easily.

I also have started a couple of boards that were inspired by working for The Art of Education as an instructor.  These boards support a couple of the classes that I teach online such as Management in the Art Room and Assessment in Art. Another board that I have created is a 'Empowering Students' board.  This board most closely supports my iObservation goals for our district.

Pinterest can be used as Professional Development easily by highlighting concepts in your curriculum, goals for your classroom and district, and collaborating with other educators to visually communicate ideas.


Instagram is a new way for me to connect with other educators.  I feel like this might be a more Visual Arts teacher tool... but I can see it being used for other subjects too.  I have only been using Instagram for a couple of months (click here for my account).  It's fun to have some quick feedback and share only using images.  This works for lots of people.

So the basics of Instagram is you can follow others, others can follow you.  You can share images and label them with hashtags and link them with websites if you want.  You are sharing your information with little to no words.  

side note: I think this would be cool to use with a class.  Can you imagine talking about angles in class and giving an assignment to your students to Instagram you the concept of an obtuse angle? or parallel lines... or whatever? I can see this being used in the upper grades because many students have Instagram accounts. If doing this, you do not want to invite followers/students to a personal Instagram, make a professional one. I would also suggest not following your students.  There are many alternative/safe ways to do something like this that will be the focus of future posts.  I will be working with a couple of apps that would allow anyone to create a safe way to share images for classroom purposes using Creatubbles, SeeSaw, and/or Artsonia. Like I say, more to come soon about this.

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