Social “Stumbling” in the classroom

With more and more “stumbling” sites like Pinterest and Stumbleupon  gaining popularity I figured I would create a quick post with my thoughts and some ideas for use in the classroom. Please let me know how you use them in your classroom or if you have ideas on how they could be used.

 

First we should discuss “What are these sites?”
I define these sites as social stumbling sites. I like to think of them as a Pandora radio but for websites. You subscribe to a channel or channels then add your personal recommendations. The idea behind social stumbling sites is clicking through links and images that  people with similar interests have noted as relevant and saving them to your own collection, thus creating dynamic personal content. I have found so much inspiration as a photographer, developer and school administrator from these sites. The 2 that I am focusing on for this article are Pinterest and Stumbleupon.

Tips for getting started:

  1. I would suggest NOT signing up for both services right away.Pick one and check it out for awhile, once you familiarize yourself with the site, begin exploring other social stumbling sites.
  2. If you have a mobile device take your inspiration with you. The mobile versions are great if you are waiting for an appointment or have a few minutes of down time. Mobile info: Pinterest , Stumbleupon
  3. Share with others! Tweet, Facebook, Ning what you find on these sites.
  4. Use an online bookmarking tool to keep track of things you book mark such as Diigo
  5. Have fun!

First get used to the website, try it out on your own. Add categories that are relevant to you as well as what you teach. I have noticed there are more crafts and recipes on Pinterest than Stumbleupon which may be good for the younger grades looking for fun holiday projects. I have also found more higher level content on Stumbleupon (Science, Photoshop etc.).

Once you are familiar with the site begin integrating it into your classroom.  I first learned of this site from the high schoolers in our photography class, when I was talking with them I noticed they were “stumbling” through sites so I decided to give it a try. Wow, I was blown away by how much time I spent navigating through sites and bookmarking like mad. If you are a high school or college arts teacher this NEEDS to be a part of your curriculum.

*Disclosure: Be prepared for anything. Remember we are counting on others to bring us content, therefore anything (Adult content included) can be displayed. I have not experienced this, but it is a possibility. With younger grades I suggest using social stumbling sites to get ideas for your classroom, but maybe not “with” your class on a projector etc.

 

Edit:

Add your Pinterest information at  http://bit.ly/EduPinterestForm

Results posted here: http://bit.ly/EduPinterest

TJ Houston

TJ Houston the Vice President of Managed services at Epiphany Management Group. TJ leads professional development in all areas of technology and loves developing ways to make teachers, students, and staff's lives easier with the use of technology. TJ also loves photography and his portfolio can be found at http://www.tjshots.com. All of the views on this site are his own.

  • Scott Krieder

    As you point out in the disclosure sites that are inappropriate for younger audiences can be delivered by social stumbling engines, but shouldn’t a firewall or filter prevent this from being a disadvantage of using this technology in the classroom?

    • That is a Great point! When it comes to filters your “Mileage may very” Here I have everything un-blocked except for CIPA/COPA and Facebook. More things will be able to get through than at other districts. As always nothing is 100%! Thanks for the comment!

  • Pingback: Cyber Monday Feb 6th 2012 « TJ Houston.com()