Scores of schools use the site for marketing, recruiting, or just sharing fun pictures and information with students. Yet Pinterest has begun to play another, perhaps more important role in higher education. Some colleges and universities are starting to use the site as an educational tool, bringing it into the classroom or offering up boards focused on academic resources at the school. Here are just a few of the schools that are leading the way for Pinterest to become another great social media tool for higher education.
At Skidmore College, students are encouraged to think creatively. One of the ways the school is promoting creative thinking, aside from making “Creative thought matters” its slogan, is by creating a Pinterest board of the same name. The board highlights some of the academic work of students, offers inspiring quotes and videos, and gives students a chance to show off their skills while embracing the school’s motto.
While it only has a few pins so far, the educational board “The Treasures of Yale” is an amazing way to help connect students with the impressive collections of arts, sciences, and humanities artifacts the school owns. Students can learn all about the items from the videos, get a chance to see some of the faculty at the school, and may even get inspired to head out to a campus museum to learn even when they’re not in class.
Pinterest is making its way into the classroom at Queens University of Charlotte’s Knight School of Communication. During the Democratic National Convention, students could attend a two-day learning conference that helped them to take advantage of opportunities of all kinds to participate in the convention. Some served on committees, others helped with the press, and still others helped out with production for news broadcasts. All, however, had to chronicle the experience on Pinterest, creating a visual record of the role all the school’s students played in making the convention run smoothly.
Teachers at Point Park University’s School of Communication, including professor Heather Starr Fielder, use Pinterest as a valuable tool to share visual material for collaborations and peer critiques. A visit to their Pinterest account allows students, parents, and those who just love the arts to see a wealth of items up for peer critique as well as a wealth of infographic examples, photos, and designs that offer inspiration to students and non-students alike.
Kelly Fincham, who teaches journalism at Hofstra University, is helping to make Pinterest a more common classroom tool, much like Twitter or Facebook. Students in her classes are asked to create their own Pinterest boards that use her SPACE method for becoming engaged journalists. She explains, “S is for sourcing story ideas and trending topics; P is for promotion and publishing students’ work. A is for aggregation of pictures (with suitable copyright); C is for curating top news, and E is for engaging with others.” The formula applies pretty well to just about any kind of social media, Pinterest included.
Students at the University of Memphis are using Pinterest to curate examples of social journalism. Under the instruction of journalism professor Carrie Brown-Smith, students use Pinterest to complete a “social photography” assignment. She has said that students in past classes have gotten a lot out of using Pinterest, though the best work came from students who focused in on a topic on Pinterest that correlated with their existing beats or blog topics.
Northwest Missouri State is also getting into the Pinterest game, bringing the site into the classroom to provide inspiration for students. Jody Strauch, an assistant professor at the school, uses boards to showcase examples of good design work to students. Those in her classes on design, social media, and interactive digital media can find amazing examples of exemplary design work that they can use to inform their own projects for the course.
USC’s journalism teachers were some of the first to get on the Pinterest bandwagon, bringing it into the classroom in October of 2011. Professor Andrew Lih saw potential in the site and used it with online journalism students to create a mood board for an entrepreneurial project on public art. The easy-to-use format of Pinterest made it possible to quickly bring together lots of inspirational ideas for the project, making it simple to pick out themes and ideas that would work.
Assistant Professor of Multimedia Journalism Deneen Gilmour is one of many professors recognizing the value of Pinterest as a learning tool. Students in her Writing for the Web class have long been required to create text and multimedia for the class blog, but Pinterest helped add a new element to the semester-long project in recent years. She now also asks students to curate visual items to go along with the stories, a requirement that’s produced some pretty interesting results as students creatively tie together their pins with the work they produce for their Doing It Downtown blog.
At the University of Minnesota, using social sites like Twitter, Reddit, and Pinterest can actually help improve the grades of some students. That’s because professors like Leslie Plesser are making using the site a part of their classes. While students in Plesser’s basic media graphics class aren’t graded for what they pin, they are required to put in a certain amount of daily effort into the site to earn a high grade for participation in the course. Plesser has said that Pinterest has turned into a valuable tool in her classes as it helps her to monitor student progress and get a firsthand look at their process of inspiration, which she considers in awarding grades on student work.
Assistant professor of English Education Steven Bickmore uses Pinterest to teach his students in his literature and lanaguage classes at LSU. On his Pinterest account, students can find boards for specific classes or focus groups. These boards are places where students can go to find supplemental reading material, keep up with class work, or even explore larger literary theories.
Professor Cindy Royal at TSU is showing students how Pinterest can be an incredibly useful tool for producing web content through activities in her digital and online media courses. Earlier this year, she had new media students create a series of boards on Pinterest that were designed to provide visitors to Austin with guides on what to eat, who to see, and what to expect at the well-known SXSW festival. The project was successful, and Royal is considering making Pinterest a part of her courses going forward.
Baylor is using their Pinterest account to market the school to students, but in a different way than most. Instead of just focusing on campus life, there’s also a board dedicated to academics. Students can visit the board and learn more about academic projects at the school, research, professors, even a bit more about what the school’s libraries have to offer. It’s not only a great resource for prospective students, but also for those who already attend the school.
The education faculty at UTT offer up some amazing resources for their students via Pinterest. Students working towards a degree in teaching can find projects, lessons, tips on classroom management, crafts, news, and a wealth of other teacher-friendly resources right on the department’s Pinterest account. It’s an amazing way to pull together lots of information for teachers who are just getting their start, helping them be creative, learn skills, and make the most of the time they’re in undergrad or grad school at UTT.
While most students at the University of Virginia know that their professors are some of the best in their respective fields, they might not think to seek out work that their professors have published. That’s why this board from the school is such an amazing academic resource. It makes it simple for students to find books and other publications from UVA faculty, so they can read, learn, and find accessible experts right on campus who can enrich their learning experience.