So I have to admit that I still don't fully understand pinterest. I occasionally get bored and scroll through their education page on the iphone app and see things I'd like to do or try. Mainly it leaves me feeling a little less-than teachery. Like there are hundreds and hundreds of teachers out there with amazingly perfect classrooms- cute little clip art fairies, bears, and children dancing around on across bulletin boards, supply containers, and centers all over the country.
Last night I realized that what makes me really uncomfortable about pinterest's education page is that most of it is teacher-focused. There are a million cute ideas on there but most of them reflect a room that belongs to the teacher. Sure the bulletin boards are cute, the displays are amazing, the center ideas are crafty, but when you step back and look at it all it says is "a teacher with a lot of time on her hands lives here". The bulletin boards, amazing visuals that support just one lesson or concept, the perfectly created centers do not say "A classroom of learners live here", or "a community of students built this space together for their own learning".
Don't get me wrong- whenever some of my awesome co-workers print out ideas from pinterest I usually steal them- it's become a fabulous online sharing community for educators. It's great to use as long as we're just looking for ideas to enhance our instruction that in turn helps kids fully understand concepts- not ways for us to look cuter, better, or more perfect than all those other teachers on the web. Because it's not really about us- it's about the kids- right?
Or am I just saying this because I'm bitter my room is never quite as perfect, cute, and organized as all those pins?
I totally agree about feeling less than teacher-y when viewing many of the pins on Pinterest. But I do love the visual aspect of the boards and one day I thought of a great use for Pinterest boards that was practice, useful and not cute. I have created boards for the books I use in my genre studies among other things. I wrote a post about it here: http://myprimarypassion.blogspot.com/2012/01/pinterest.html
I now use it as a functional, visual way to keep track of books and also to be able to quickly put books on hold at my local library. So if you can think of a way to make it your own, I think Pinterest can be great.
I hear ya. It's like so much of Pinterest, and the web in general - the home improvement boards, the recipe boards, etc. - it's all about perfection. No one's classroom is like that for long. No one's house is like that for long. And if someone is making those recipes every night, well, come live with me, please!
I am a little discouraged by teacher-centeredness today too. I did iPad trainings and clearly did not do the best job at getting the message across that they can be more than electronic worksheet tools. *Sigh* But a lot of people were really excited, and some did truly "get it."
Good luck . . .
Jill- thanks! I actually hadn't looked at it that way before. I loved using delicious awhile ago and using pinterest like a visual delicious makes a lot of sense. thanks!
Anonymous- so pained about the ipad dilemma. It's painful for those of us who don't have access to ipads in the classroom but have a million ideas. I wouldn't take it personally- I think that's an ongoing fight with smartboards too.
I agree- we need to think of functional over cute! That said... decor can help to set the mood of the room for students, too, and as someone who's naturally cluttered, I try to use pins as inspiration to get organized! I definitely try to follow people who give me teaching ideas, not just cute ideas, too- it helps. :)
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