Sunday, September 22, 2013

Using Pinterest to Showcase & Share Ideas with Teachers on a Worldwide Scale

Have you ever wanted to share educational ideas in a picture format instead of having to describe an idea?  What if you could do both?  That’s the idea behind Pinterest, an online content sharing tool that has hidden benefits for teachers and administrators everywhere.
By organizing your ‘pins’ on a board (which can be public – or private), you have the power to do more than you thought.  If you've ever been to the Pinterest ‘About’ page, you may have missed some great ideas to help get you started.  For example, utilize Pinterest to organize a class wish list, pictorially.   Create a new board and name it ‘Our Class Wish List’ or ‘Donate to Our Class Today!’ and post it.  Go a step further to e-mail your class parents (or entire school if you can), Tweet out the information, and post a link to your Pinterest boards on your school website and you may be able to get that fancy all-in-one color copier soon than you thought or the art supplies that are so desperately needed for an upcoming project that you’d like to do with your students. 

Pinterest can also assist you in organizing a class trip to another city, organizing a school-wide fundraiser or event, or even help you to plan a class project that needs a little more support than you can physically or monetarily give. 

You may also want to just use Pinterest as a way to build an online portfolio for great ideas that you've come up with or ideas that others have had that will enhance your own professional development for use in your classroom.  It’s a way to organize those great teacher shortcuts, technology incorporation ideas, projects, classroom management ideas, or lesson ideas in one convenient place.  Plus, just like most social networks, you can favorite a pin that you find extremely helpful and you want to hold on for future use. 

See an example by visiting my Pinterest boards ( see how Pinterest can help you!

Remind101: Possibly the Best New Educational App

For those of you who always struggle to remind your students and/or parents of everyday classroom reminders like special events, trips, upcoming exams, etc., etc., Remind101 can make your life a whole lot easier.  

Remind101 is a new free classroom management app that puts important communication into the palm of a teacher's hand.  Remind101 is extremely user friendly; all you need to do is set up a free account and Remind101 will generate a phone number (to use for text messaging purposes) so that you can communicate with parents in 140 characters -- or less.  Now, really, what's so special about this kind of communication?  Well, for many teachers, not much...but for Remind101 teacher users, the phone number that is generated for you allows your own regular (and private) cell phone number to be just that -- private.  The Remind101 service allows you to communicate with your students and parents through their apps (iPhone and iPad) or through their website; all the while leaving your phone number to yourself.  Students and parents can't see your number...and they can't respond back either.  It's a one-way text messaging service to simply allow students and parents to get that important, "Don't forget that lunch money is due tomorrow" in a text message (or sent directly to their e-mail).

What I really like about Remind101 is that it even allows you to even set up a reminder for a later date and time -- certainly avoiding the "I forgot to remind my class" blunders that can happen during a busy day.  This works great on a Monday when you can set up a reminder to be sent out on Thursday night at a certain time to remind students that their math test is on Friday and that they should look over the chapter that is being covered for the exam.  In addition, you can also Tweet out that same message on your Twitter account or post it on your school's Facebook page as well!  Have more than one class that you're teaching?...set up multiple classes so that a specific message reminder only goes out to a specific class.

If you teach at any level -- elementary school, middle school, high school, or even at the college level and beyond, this is one app you'll want to make use of.  For principals and assistant principals this works great too...instead of a class, set up a faculty'll be able to send out quick reminders to staff ("Remember, faculty conference is Monday afternoon in room 100!" or "Don't forget, there is a schedule change for today.") instead of having to always go through e-mails or websites.