Yesterday, on a bit of a whim I mentioned to my graphics course that students could develop mood boards for their next assignment using Pintrest. Their assignment is to develop a 3 ad print campaign, but to get started they need to develop a creative brief and three mood boards for a little bit of design research. For the uninitiated mood boards are a collage that develops a particular tone/style/feel/look/etc without actually designing anything. These elements work together for a small team to develop a design direction. If you interested here’s more about mood boards.
If you are familiar with Pintrest, this is pretty much the digital incarnation of mood board. So why not? The next week should be interesting. The students will be pinning items as they scour the internet for inspiration. We’ll all learn a little bit about the technology along the way. One thing that has come up already is that students can collaborate on boards so the teams can contribute things to a shared board. Nice.
To take this a bit further is when I do something like this, using technology as part of the class, it always seems a little chaotic. In all my courses I attempt to provide a variety of ways students can approach course materials. My philosophy is if students are given a chance to experience the content then they have the opportunity find their own unique interest in the topic. This is easier said then done.
Incorporating technologies can extend the classroom beyond the scheduled meeting time (technically called “blended learning“) so students are engaging with course topics throughout the semester. Since the topics discussed in classes that I teach involve mass communications and media it is easy for students to find examples they find interesting. This spills into the classroom discussions and antidotal evidence seems to motivate students because they are contributing to their own learning. Using their examples in class keeps them interested, but also creates an opportunity for them to apply course topics to their experiences.
A subtle, but extremely valuable byproduct is the peer-to-peer mentoring that emerges from these types of activities. The power users now all of the sudden are experts and can further their understanding of the medium by demonstrating to others their usage. Everyone involved begins to ask questions about the new way of sharing content and communicating a message. In-turn this allows them to creatively think of new ways of using the medium to reach audiences or collaborate. For advertising students this is extremely important becuase they must actively experimenting with social media and staying current with online trends.
We’ll see how Pintrest works out, but it is always exciting to see students try out this tools. It creates a great learning experience for everyone. And while we’re on the topic feel free to check out my emerging Pintrest boards: