Nowadays, there is a big debate around the use of social media in the classroom. Personally, I think that if things are done appropriately and if teachers are careful not to expose any student’s personal life to the public, social media can be totally suitable for educational purposes. This is why this week, I chose to talk about a tool that is somewhere between various types of social media. The tool I’m referring to is called Pearltrees.
To get you started, I refer you to a short video so you can have a general idea of what Pearltrees is.
Basically (in case you don’t feel like watching the video), Pearltrees is an online platform on which people can create “pearls” (a little bubble on the platform) and put either images, notes or even direct links to websites in them. They can create pearltrees, which basically group their pearls into categories. Afterwards, they can share their pearltrees with other users, on Facebook, Twitter or by e-mail.
I would use Pearltrees with students by asking them to make a project on a specific topic (literally, it could be any project) and they can put all their sources in a pearl and share it with other students or with the teacher. That way, they wouldn’t need to worry about plagiarism because they could directly include their resources in their pearltree. Also, I could give a class to students and have all my images and my websites grouped into pearls so that I wouldn’t have to go through all the open pages or the list of “my favorites” which are on only one computer.
Since it’s a form of mind mapping, I could get them to read some resources and they would have to gather some information from the web. Instead of having a list of websites that are all disorganized, I would put the links in Pearltrees and so that they would see where they are going.
I could also ask the students to create a pearltree as a class. This could help students find common interests and could lead to really interesting discussions and debates in the classroom. For the classroom, it’s interesting to know that there is also a Premium version which allows the users to make the pearltrees confidential and more private.
I read a really good blog article from a teacher who totally convinced me to use Pearltrees in the classroom (and why not in my personal life…?).
He had some good ideas for teaching with Pearltrees like paying attention to people who share my pearls because this probably mean I could share theirs as well or that at least I share some common interests. I could get ideas from other teachers’ pearls.
I understand that some teachers are reluctant to use social media in the classroom, but I think Pearltrees could be a really good and interesting starting point.