Are we all more tech savvy than we give ourselves credit for?

I was talking with a colleague about using Pinterest, and have since had a request that this be shared at a whole staff meeting. My first thought was that surely this was too piddly for a whole school staff meeting, but then I remembered the Obvious to you. Amazing to others. video I posted about before. I just keep forgetting that we are all so time poor that unless we are introduced to tools, or make the active effort to find tools and learn how to use them ourselves, we just don’t know about them. I think there is also a tendency to be so overwhelmed by how much technology we don’t know that we forget how much we do know. The image at the top of Jenny Luca’s blog certainly sums up that feeling of knowing how much is ‘out there’ on the internet waiting for us to discover:

Keeping up with Web 2.0 tools can seem impossible!

Keeping up with Web 2.0 tools can seem impossible!

So, Pinterest. Basically I have found I don’t like bookmarking tools. I just see a boring, hard to navigate block of text. Pinterest is a visual alternative. When you see a website of interest, you go to your bookmarks menu and click Pin It (it will be there once you’ve joined Pinterest). All of the images on that page will come up, and you click on the one you want as a visual memory of what you are pinning on your virtual pinboard. You can select which board it will go on, and write a caption to go with it. You can then look at your board any time, and you can share it with others. For example I had a Guess How Much I Love You theme for my daughter’s birthday party, and had a friend make the cake. I did some searching on the theme and pinned ideas to a Leah’s 4th Birthday Ideas board. When my friend wanted to know what I wanted the cake to look like, I was able to give her a link to the pinboard and she could see the cake ideas I’d pinned there. You can allow others to pin on the board too. There is great potential here for collaborative research in a manner that is visually dynamic for students (and for me!). Just in case you’re curious, here’s the awesome cake my friend made:

The result of sharing ideas on Pinterest.

The result of sharing ideas on Pinterest.

Another fantastic little tool that worry about being patronising describing, but have found people don’t know about, is QR Codes. Any publication you have, in any form, you can chuck a QR code on it. Eg if you’re handing out a task sheet and have a wiki with support materials on it, include a QR code on the sheet. With a QR reader on their phone (which most students have, and they’re free to download), students can scan the code and go straight to the wiki. To create a QR code you can do that with the reader on your phone or you can go to any free creator on the web such as QR Stuff. Here you’ll see the breadth of uses for QR codes, and that it doesn’t have to only be black and white. Try scanning the code below. : )

A peak at how QR codes can be used.

A peek at how QR codes can be used.

The last thing I want to share this week is a video I found on  Jenny Luca’s blog. It’s a TED video about the happy secret to better work. Everything Shawn Achor says can be directly applied to education. He is incredibly engaging, and makes excellent points about the negativity of some current foci in learning theory. He advocates for a focus on positive psychology, which you may have heard about with different titles such as resiliency.