Welcome to the second week of Digital January - Today we look at Pinterest - on the surface just another photo-sharing site, but it has developed into something more than that, and now bills itself as 'The world's catalogue of ideas'.
What does it do?
Pinterest is a photo sharing site allowing you to create a 'pinboard' of images you've found on the Web. True, there are other photo-sharing sites such as Flickr, but while Flickr works as a store for your own photographs, Pinterest is a way of collecting images you find that have been created by others. It therefore works like a digital scrapbook rather than a photo album.
You have to be 'invited' to join Pinterest, which gives it a more exclusive feel, but also means people who sign up tend to want to use it. Once you've set up your (free) account you can create a 'Board' for your pins (or as many 'Boards' on whatever topics you like). Once you've done that, you can start to add photos or other content, either from pinned content already in Pinterest or from the Web in general (using the URL of a relevant website you want to pin to your Board). Pinterest is well-stocked with 'infographics' aimed at representing useful information in a more appealing way. You can follow Boards or Pinterest users you like, and they can follow yours, but it's not compulsory to do so in order to see content.
You can also search for content from across Pinterest by searching for it using the search tool. For instance, a search for 'Essay writing tips' brought up lots of useful visual content which other users had previously pinned. See the results of the search by clicking here.
What makes Pinterest so popular?
It's hard to identify a single reason, but where some social media channels such as Facebook and Twitter are driven by 'Likes' and 'Followers', Pinterest doesn't require you to declare in interest in a particular user or topic - you can see it all if you want to, not just the things your friends are posting. Also, Pinterest appears primarily to be a tool aimed at inspiring and educating through the sharing of ideas, knowledge and techniques for doing things. For instance, it's very popular among people who want to 'make' something -craft ideas, recipes,
Things appearing on Pinterest also have a longevity about them which some other social media postings do not - Tweets and Facebook postings are very quickly 'old news', while 'pins' (as Pinterest calls a posted image) can be around for weeks and months before interest in their content starts to decrease.
When would you use it?
In the education field, Pinterest has particularly taken off in primary/secondary education, but it also has many uses in futher & higher education. Some subjects naturally lend themselves to imagery (recipes are very popular on Pinterest), but however, the range of images and infographics that exist and can be pinned is huge, from fine art to quadratic equations. As you can collaborate on Boards or work on them individually, there is a lot of flexibility in how it can be used.
Examples of people using Pinterest in education include the following (click on each to view)
How do you access it?
Pinterest is available as a free app for Android and Apple devices, but most people start with the web version here.
•Where can you get help to use it?
Edudemic have a useful guide for Teachers wanting to use Pinterest here.
Here is an interesting video-based startup guide to Pinterest;
And for a longer introduction from lynda.com, of which more will be said later in Digital January, click here (you'll be asked to login using your University of Dundee details).
What Digital Literacy skills will Pinterest help you to develop?
The University of Dundee has a Digital Literacies Framework which sets out what sort of digital skills you should have, whether you're a student or a staff member. It's unlikely you'll have all the skills contained in the Framework (yet!), but this project can help you get started in developing some new ones. To see the Framework click here and click on Digital Literacies Framework at Dundee University to download a copy.
Using a digital tool to demonstrate a skill or a process is an aspect of both DIMENSION 2 - Find information and DIMENSION 5 - Collaborate and share digital content as outlined in the Framework.
COME BACK TOMORROW AND THROUGHOUT JANUARY TO LEARN MORE ABOUT GOING DIGITAL