15 February 2016

Group Pinterest Homework and Lifelong Learning

Was there lifelong learning before Pinterest?

Yes, of course, there was lifelong learning since Time Immemorial. But it took a special kind of dedication and commitment before pinning, didn't it? A certain amount of patience for poring over possibly relevant print materials, a certain mobility to even get to a library.

Now I can learn through the wee hours of the morning without so much as stepping in a slipper.

So if pinning is something that keeps me learning as an adult, perhaps it is a skill to cultivate in our classes--a worthy homework assignment even. Call it Curating Resources or Authentic Text Collection if you like, but a few keywords in the target language plus a few clicks, and you've got all-new #authres ripe for the interpretive picking.

With Pinterest, students can practice using the language to get what they need.

That is why I've assigned weekly pinning for the "Mejor Yo" unit. Each student pins one text resource in Spanish and one video in Spanish to their group board (Más activo, Más dinero, or Más tiempo).

Why a group board? They're researching a shared self-improvement interest, but why not just have students pin to their own boards and submit links to Classroom or Seesaw?

Simple: variety, collaboration, and accountability.

True, students could check out each other's boards if the links were posted on Seesaw, BUT it would not be as easy to see all of the pins at once. AND it's likely that there would be beaucoup repeats that way. So if someone was struggling to find a pin that she could actually interpret for a reflection blog post the next day, she might have to spend quadruple the time poking around classmates' links...or the internet in general.

When it comes to interpreting authentic texts, I want students to feel comfortable. I want options.

I mean honestly, if you're struggling to read or listen to a text you barely understand--whatever the language--you want to be able to throw it out and try something else, right? Figuring out When to Try Something Else is an EXTREMELY important skill for ANY kind of learning. This way students get to practice that process--a process absolutely essential to language learning especially--before they're off in the world alone.

But they will have to choose--one text and one video. And they'll have to pick what they can out of it and explain what it can do for their goal. But that's a separate assignment. The search is its own reward.

So how do you grade a group Pinterest board?

It's a relatively quick two-step process where I pull up the boards in one window and my gradebook in another (shout out to Tab Scissors!). It goes like this

1. Do a quick scan to look for duplicates. Add a comment to the most recent of the duplicates: "Already pinned." I take off a couple of points because they are diminishing their team's resource pool and, for all I know, are just riding on their classmate's coattails without doing the actual research. (Although if they just went through their own board and repinned, I would be able to see who they got it from.)

2. Do a Ctrl F search on the board for the first student's name . Yellow bars will appear on the right scroll bar, and her name will be highlighted in orange for the instance of her name you're currently on) and yellow for all of the others. Make sure you are scrolled to the top yellow bars to see her most recent work.

Pinterest grading tips and tricks

I have my students submit 2 pins a week, so it may be tricky to tell which are old and which are new. The yellow lines help, but also, if you scroll all the way down before you search you can make sure the search encompasses the whole board (they don't always all pop up on the first search--especially if you don't capitalize perfectly). That way, you can see the total number of pins she has submitted next to her name in the search bar.

CAUTION: You may have to search their name more than once to get the correct number. I do NOT know why.

You can see how many days ago the assignment was submitted by clicking on each pin, but it's tricky if they did it in the middle of the night and you're grading at noon--it looks late. I think it's a good idea to have them submit the links to their specific pins on Classroom for a definitive time stamp, though it is another step.

So what do your students want to know about? What can they share about? What do they need? And how can they bring that together on Pinterest?

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