Last week I created a Pinterest account, with the goal of using it as a place to collect mindmaps, visual examples and illustrations, concept maps, and an occasional image of interest. It has been a fun and refreshing addition to my ongoing professional development.
1) I began to search for visual representations of ideas and concepts that I had encountered in books and lectures over the past decade or more. Each visual, often in the form of a chart or concept map, provided me with an opportunity to review and relearn some of these key ideas.
2) There have been several new/emerging concepts that I have struggled to quickly and effectively communicate to others. Now I have a budding collection of images that can help me share those ideas without talking on and on…
3) Amid my search for visuals, I began to notice patterns of ideas that were frequently communicated through images as well as those that were seemingly void of visual representations. It may come as no surprise that the ideas with visuals were often among the “sticky” ones over the past years, at least in the digital world.
4) In less than a week, I now have a collection of illustrations and examples for teaching, consulting, and presentations.
5) Seeing the various ways in which other ideas are communicated with visuals has sparked ideas on how I can create more concrete representation of some of my own ideas. Of course, I’m not quite there yet. Otherwise, this blog post would be in the form of a concept map. Now I am thinking more about how to visually represent the ideas as well as beginning to explore various tools and technologies for how to actually create them. Interestingly, many of the most intriguing visuals that I have discovered so far have been drawn by hand and then scanned.
6) Starting a search for visuals has flipped the way in which I typically go about exploring ideas. I most often start with a concept discovered from a book or lecture. Then, at the point of trying to communicate it to others, I start thinking about visuals. This new experiment has me starting with a search for visuals, often discovering a new or forgotten concept in visual form, and then going to the proprietary databases to search for new publications about the concept. While I would note advocate this as the best route in all situations, it has added a measure of novelty to my research that is refreshing and inspiring.
Perhaps all of this has sparked your curiosity about my Pinterest account. If so, you are more than welcome to take a look at: http://pinterest.com/bdean1000/
So, how are you using Pinterest for professional development? It would be great to hear some of your ideas in the comment section.