The Connected Corkboard

Yellow post it notes on the corkboard

Lately I have been bombarded with posts and articles about one of the hottest websites of 2011-12, Pinterest. One of the fastest growing social media networks, Pinterest is receiving a lot of press. How has Pinterest generated so much hype? Many have tried to capture what exactly is the appeal, particularly for the female demographic.

However, I have been thinking about Pinterest in terms of our essential question for week 3: how can we effectively, practically and authentically integrate technology into our curriculum areas? Many teachers struggle with authentic integration. They simply add a video to supplement their lesson and consider their integration complete. They see using a technological tool to communicate the curriculum as a huge step outside their comfort zone.

In my view, technology is not authentically incorporated unless it moves learning forward, unless it is incorporated in a way that is meaningful and truly enhances the learning. While technology is often a tool that is used to communicate learning (such as pen & paper), it should not be an “added extra” or a “bell and whistle” that is added to a lesson after it is written. Authentic integration has a direct impact on student learning, creates opportunities for collaboration, communication and critical reflection. Technology should never be incorporated for the sake of technology.

Take a look at this incredibly useful Technology Integration Matrix. It incorporates the five characteristics of meaningful learning environments (active, constructive, collaborative, authentic & goal directed) and merges them with the five levels of technology integration (entry, adoption, adaptation, infusion, transformation). It then gives practical suggestions for curriculum integration in all subject areas for all levels of the matrix. Brilliant and useful! I see this as an opportunity for other educators to continue collaborating and sharing ideas. What if grade levels had living documents such as this at their school to help guide their lesson planning and technology integration?

Now… back to Pinterest. My challenge for this week is to consider how could an incredibly collaborative, connected, visual tool be used by teachers and students to enhance learning? (Note: Pinterest has a policy that it is not directed to children below the age of 13). Beyond sharing teacher lesson plans, resources, and visiting the education category, does it have potential for student use? I would love to consider Pinterest in terms of the Technology Integration Matrix.

Here are a few brainstorms that I have had. (In brackets is the level in the Technology Integration Matrix that I believe it fits.)

*Students could collaborate and track their online project research. (collaborative adaptation)

*Students can create an online collection of inspiration for their Writer’s Notebook. Particularly for our struggling writers who get stuck, or who need a visual prompt. As well, it could become a snapshot of their interests and who they are as a writer. (authentic adaptation)

*Book recommendations can be made and shared throughout the school community, and into the global community. (authentic adaptation)

*In word study, elementary students could have to ‘pin’ 5 pictures that begin with a particular blend, such as “sh” or end with a particular pattern such as “ght”. (active transformation)

Please add your own ideas below in your comments!

Photo Credit: MyTudut

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