Five Tips for Using Pinterest in Education

Category: Web Tools

Teachers are notorious for being resourceful; always on the lookout for the latest technology, the best lesson plans and creative ways to engage students. Pinterest, a virtual pinboard for creative ideas and information, is the ideal online resource for this type of teacher. However, if you are not careful, your Pinterest pins and board can quickly become as overwhelming as the disorganized filing cabinets, scraps of papers and internet bookmarks full of ideas and resources you have already amassed. If used effectively, Pinterest has the potential to truly improve your teaching.

Search for Specific Ideas

Rather than just checking Pinterest once a day or pinning in your spare time, use Pinterest as a tool when planning a lesson. Designing a unit on oceans? Searching terms such as "ocean," "ocean crafts," "ocean experiments" and "ocean math" will result in numerous printables, activities and information for you to include in your unit. Pin only the ideas you like to a board designed specifically for the unit. Then, reference the board along when other teaching resources when you actually sit down to write the unit.

Share Your Own Ideas

Maybe you have your own ideas and think they will benefit other teachers. Why not add those ideas to Pinterest? Create a couple boards designed for pinning your own original ideas and classroom activities. Having others repin those ideas will give you a boost of confidence and you will help out a lot of teachers at the same time.

Connect with Parents

Connect with your students' parents on Pinterest. Create a board for pinning websites, books and activities parents can use to supplement the curriculum while children are at home. Sometimes parents discover their own resources or come up with creative ideas to, so allow them to add relevant pins to the board.

Collaborate with Colleagues

If you team teach, regularly share ideas with colleagues, or if you're on one of your school's many committees, Pinterest provides a way to collaborate with your colleagues. Create a board for collaboration and use the comments feature to discuss individual pins. Discuss ideas for grade-level field trips, pin sayings and images to motivate others or share articles to spark discussion. Use the "Pin It" button to make it easy to share resources as you come across them online.

Let Students Pin

You don't have to be the only one pinning in the classroom. Your students can also become expert pinners. Instead of a traditional research paper or poster, have students create a board all about a topic they have researched. Have them include information they learned in the description of the pin or add reference information to make it easier to create a bibliography. You can challenge older students to find articles and websites to share with classmates by setting up collaborative boards for them to use.

WARNING: Before using Pinterest in the classroom, keep in mind Pinterest's terms of service say the site is suitable for those over 13. There is also no way to prevent students from accessing inappropriate content through their searches.

Instead of visiting Pinterest and pinning every idea you find, focus your Pinterest use. Create boards to organize your pins and search for ideas you will actually use, rather than just amassing pins for a rainy day. By using Pinterest as a tool for information, collaboration and communication, you can improve your classroom and your teaching.