Focus on Tech: Collage and Organize Images with Pinterest

Screen grab of a Pinterest board for one of my art theory classes.
Pinterest provides users with a "virtual pinboard" to collect
and organize images/ideas found on the web.
As a kid, I always loved cutting pictures, inspiring images, artwork and design ideas out of collected magazines and then pasting them into scrapbooks or simply posting them around my bedroom. Back in that analog world of paper, glue, and white walls, the process of collage and rearrangement was rooted in a desire to make new connections and/or transform the original context of images into ones that were both personal and individually meaningful. Later in life when I began to study art history and make my own flash cards to study key works of art (in my opinion, still *the best* way to prepare for an art history exam), I was struck again by how powerful the act of collaging was to reinforce and make critical connections between visual materials.

Here is a screen capture of three of my boards--
two were created for classes that I teach while the third one is
collection of books I have read and/or want to read. 
In the past week, I posted about my discovery of Prezi presentations for lecture material-- an application that allows the most intuitive approach to arranging images in a kind of dynamic story-board. Along with Prezi, I have also started using another web-based application called Pinterest that takes collage and picture/idea collecting in a more hands-on and pragmatic direction.  Described as a "virtual pinboard" by the creators, Pinterest allows users to collect, organize, and share found images on individually created boards which can be labeled and categorized in any way the user likes. I first began using Pinterest last summer when I was collecting images and ideas for a course proposal. Instead of traditional bookmarking or even using another of my favourite info-gathering applications Evernote (an application I blog about here), I began using Pinterest because it provided a visually appealing platform for seeing my collected images/ideas at a glance. Later on, I found Pinterest was also very useful for gathering and sharing a pinboard of favourite books and films. And last semester, I began using the application to arrange and share the art works that I had assigned in my classes to students for individual writing assignments. Students were thus able to look at the board and follow each week's presentation of featured art works while also seeing the "bigger picture" of the course.

I added a Pinterest button to the top page of my blog to direct
visitors and students to my Pinterest boards.
To create a Pinterest account, simply request an invitation on their website (it does not take long to get an account) and then make sure to also download their very useful "Pin It" button that sits on the Chrome toolbar and allows users to clip and collect images quickly (see the short "how-to" videos below). While I have yet to fully engage with the very large Pinterest community-- you can follow favourite boards, make comments on others pins, and find like-minded people who share your interests on the website-- I have added a Pinterest button at the top of my blog to allow visitors and students access to my boards. I am now working on creating more interactive pinboards to encourage others to pin images on a shared board. In this sense, the potential for this application is fantastic and I think it especially appealing for that inner-child who used to sit on the bedroom floor with a pair of scissors, a bottle of glue, and a stack of cool pictures. Creative-types, artists, and designers rejoice!