Mindy Duffner, ENGL (English) Adjunct
What is the Innovation?
Using Pinterest for Research and Visual Presentations & Community
How was it done?
“A few years ago I started using Pinterest in the English classroom as a teaching tool. Boards with titles such as as “Discourse Community,” “Fallacy,” “Rhetoric,” and “What is Argument?” became visuals to help me explain concepts to my students in a way that caught their attention.
Meeting with this success, I decided to see how far I could take the idea of using Pinterest. Here are a couple lessons I now use in my English 1030 Advanced Composition class. The first week of class I have my students create a Pinterest account and do the following activity to introduce themselves to the class. The first part of this is done through Discussion Board on Canvas. I was very pleased with the results of this activity this semester. I have 22 College-NOW students and had 100% participation on both parts of this assignment, and, surprisingly, no two discourse communities were the same. I participated as well, creating a model they could follow.
- Discussion Board:
A discourse community is a specialize group that shares subject matter, background, experience, values, and a common language (including specialized and technical vocabulary, jargon or slang). The College-NOW program is an example of a discourse community. Whether it is engineering or business, your group (cohort) takes classes together, shares common experiences, and uses specialized language. So that we can all get to know each other better, write about a discourse community you belong to (a group, a club, an organization) and explain what makes it special.
Then upload a total of 5 pictures and/or search for images to upload and create a Pinterest board that you will share with the class as a means of instruction.
At mid semester I have my students do another Pinterest board. This one is to be used to present their argument paper to the class. Once again, I have my students create a board that includes 5-6 images they can use to guide them through their oral presentation. Using these images, I ask them to do the following:
- Introduce your topic to the class (perhaps some background info).
- State your position and your claim.
- Share your support points for your claim. What did you find in the research to support your argument?
- What is the conversation on the other side of the argument? (opposition)
- Wrap it up!
This semester my College-NOW students even commented on the presenters’ rhetorical style with the use of images. For example: some students found images they hoped would provoke an emotional response; others used image such as graphs, as a logical approach.”
Data on Success Impact?
Class of 22 SP15 students survey results:
- Did you have a Pinterest account before this class: YES -8 NO-14
- Did you enjoy creating a Pinterest board as a means of introduction the 1st week of school: YES-18 NO-4
- Did you enjoy making and presenting a Pinterest board to explain your argument paper to your classmates: YES-17 NO-5
- Does using Pinterest help you make connections with your classmates: YES-13 NO-9
- Would you consider using to present your final researched argument at the end of the semester (If No what other way would you present?): YES-17 NO-5 [Prezi]
- Overall, do you find using Pinterest to be a beneficial way to present information in the classroom? YES-20 NO-1 Indifferent-1
- Would you consider using Pinterest for oral presentations for other classes: YES-16 NO-4 No answer-2
- On a scale of 1-10, where would you rate using Pinterest as a communication & visual literacy tool? Average: 6.4
- Student Comments:
- “It is simple and easy to organize”
- “I really like the idea; it’s very creative.”
- “I enjoyed hearing others speak and using memes as visual but it was distracting for me personally…”
- “It works well for some topics… but it doesn’t feel right for others.”
- “I like it. It’s like illustrating an essay.”
- “…it is very useful (and a great visual tool) for our other (informal) presentations”
- “good for visuals and easy to setup…”
- “it is a great way of presenting”
- “downloading and showing pictures through Windows would be just as if not easier”
Free Tools Used to Do This?
Pinterest – www.pinterest.com
Resources to Go Deeper on This?
- Social media 101 for Faculty (with Pinterest intro) –
- How to keep your use of Social Media FERPA Compliant –
- College Teaching on Pinterest:
- Teacher’s Guide to Pinterest: