Using Pinterest in Undergraduate Social Work Education – #BPDTX16

Pinterest_BPD2016March 31st will be Day Two for me at #BPDTX16 and I will be presenting on how Pinterest can be incorporated into undergraduate education.  My UAB colleague, Dr. Lisa Baker, and I developed and implemented a social media-based assignment using Pinterest in our HBSE course sequence last year.  Even though Lisa won’t be able attending BPD this year, I’m looking forward to talking about this assignment and our assessment outcomes.   The session is from 11:15 AM-12:30 PM in Majestic 4 on 3/31/16.

We will focus on how practitioners are increasingly using social media to interact with client systems. As such, educators and students should recognize the role social media plays in developing practice related competencies and connecting to a larger learning network.  Our workshop presents the development, implementation and evaluation of Pinterest assignments in undergraduate education.

Learning objectives for this session include:

1. Participants will explore the use of Pinterest as a teaching tool in undergraduate courses, following an evidence-based model of assignment development, implementation and evaluation.

2. Participants will become aware of the context in which students complete social media assignments and the role social media plays in helping students develop professional self.

3. Participants will discuss caveats to developing social media assignments and learn how such assignments help develop practice competencies.

Here is a link to the slides from the presentation: Using Pinterest in Undergraduate Social Work Education Slides on SlideShare.

Also, you can download the two rubrics from the presentation here:

Pinterest Rubric

Pinterest Meta Rubric

And finally, here is our abstract:

Today’s undergraduate social work students come to the classroom fully indoctrinated in a world of social media and technology. Social media offers an opportunity for social workers to network with other professionals, communicate and advocate around social issues, relate to diverse populations, and locate information and resources to inform practice. In addition, social work practitioners are increasingly utilizing social media as a mechanism for interaction with client systems of all sizes. As such there is a growing awareness that social work practitioners, students and educators need to be adept at using social media as part of their practice and learning experience (Getz, 2012; NASW & ABSW, 2005; McNutt, 2008; Perron et al, 2010). Given these occurrences educators may be quick to integrate social media in the classroom. However, it is important to implement new methodologies within the framework of evidence-based teaching.

Engaging students in online and on-ground courses is a long-standing discussion among faculty and administrators. Successful techniques intersect the developmental and contextual environment of the student with the translation of content to practice behaviors. The use of Twitter and Face Book are already being explored as ways to help students connect with social networks and current events through participation in live chats and posting of information. Pinterest, a social bookmarking site is another example of social media that has relevance in the classroom and the practice field. While initially introduced as a way to organize and categorize recipes, home ideas and other creative outlets, Pinterest is increasingly defining its identity as a professional resource.  Social work practitioners are progressively using Pinterest as a tool for clients, creating “boards” that are useful for sharing information. As such, Pinterest can become a repository for topic-specific resources, changing and updating over time. The use of Pinterest in the classroom engages students in real-world application and context of course material. In addition, students learn to discover, disseminate and evaluate information related to important social problems and social work practice in new and very public ways.  Resulting classroom discussions focus on topics such as privacy, public image, professional communication skills, life-long learning, assessing open-source information and using social media to demonstrate competency and integrity in social work practice. These competencies align with the educational policy and accreditation standards set forth by CSWE (2015). In this way, Pinterest has the capacity to bridge content across the curriculum, becoming a catalyst for lifelong learning.

This presentation takes the participant through details about assignment development including discussion of requirements, learning objectives, tutorials and grading rubrics. Examples of instructor and student Pinterest boards will be shared to illustrate outcomes and assignment flexibility. In addition, participants will be able to review findings from a survey evaluation distributed to elicit student feedback about the assignment, as well as student impressions of the use of Pinterest as a professional tool.  The presentation will conclude with a discussion on lessons learned and future directions.


Council on Social Work Education. (2015). Final 2015 Educational Policy (EP). Alexandria, VA: Council on Social Work Education. Retrieved from

Getz, L. (2012). Mobile App Technology for Social Workers. Social Work Today, 12 (3), 8 -10.

Greenhow, C. & Gleason, B. (2012).  Twitteracy:  Tweeting as a new literary practice.  The Educational Forum, 76(4), 464-478.

NASW (National Association of Social Workers)/ASWB (Association of Social Work Boards).

(2005). NASW & ASWB Standards for technology and social work practice. Retrieved on July 30, 2012 from

McNutt, J. G. (2008). Web 2.0 tools for policy research and advocacy. Journal of Policy Practice, 7(1), 81-85.

Perron, B. E., Taylor, H. O., Glass, J. E., & Margerum-Leys, J. (2010). Information and communication technologies in social work. Advances in social work, 11(2), 67-81.

Author: Laurel Hitchcock

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