Five or so years ago when it launched (way back when, in technology terms), Pinterest entered a social media market dominated by text. Quite simply, it brought an unprecedented visual aspect to social media which users enjoyed, though it was a fairly basic platform. Fast forward to today and you’ll find a plethora of new features that can make it particularly useful in your classroom.
Read More: How to Use Instagram In Your Classroom
So how can making boards and pinning photos be a useful tool for teachers? Pinterest offers a number of different options for teachers both for professional development and for student work. Tons of teachers (and other folks, too) are using this tool – there are countless boards devoted to lesson plans, classroom ideas, and more. There are purportedly around 100 million active users as of December 2015 – and as with many web-based tools, the more people there are contributing to a platform, the better stuff there will be for you to use (even if you have to sort through some garbage to find it!) To get your wheels churning, we’ve collected a few of our favorite ideas below.
If you’ve never used Pinterest before, fear not – it isn’t hard! Signing up for an account is easy and free. Do note that if you want your students to sign up for accounts and use the platform as part of your assignments, the ToS require users to be at least age 13. You’ll start by creating a couple of boards, which you can organize however you’d like (by theme, idea, project, etc). When you ‘pin’ something using the PinIt Button, you are adding that image to your board. When you ‘repin’ something, you’re pinning another user’s pin to one of your boards. When you pin or repin any item, it will be linked back to the source, so you don’t need to worry about noting where you found something! You can search other user’s pins via the Pinterest search function on the site or in the app, and like and/or comment on any pins you find. Additionally, you can follow specific boards or users. When you do, pins from those boards and users will show up on your feed when you go to the home page.
Now that you’ve got the basics down, we’ll move on to our favorite uses for Pinterest in education.
Pinterest can be an amazing source of inspiration. On the teaching side of things, you can create boards devoted to specific projects, lesson plans, or general ideas that you’d like to incorporate in your classroom. Many teachers use Pinterest as a spot to save ideas that they come across online but don’t have time to delve deeply into or want to integrate later on.
If you’re getting your students involved, they can create boards for inspiration on certain projects, either by searching other users’ pins, or by finding their inspiration elsewhere on the web and collecting it on a board in Pinterest. You can also have your students use a specific phrase in their pin descriptions (sort of like a hashtag, but without the #), so that you can find the pins easily later on.
Learn and Discover
Since it contains a wealth of pins on just about every topic out there, browsing and searching existing pins can be a great learning and discovery tool. If you search or browse through relevant topics and keywords, you’ll find that you come across many things you may not have even known existed. Don’t discount browsing – if done with a little bit of method to the madness, it is much, much more than a time-waster!
Students working in groups can collaborate on boards and group their inspiration, ideas, progress, and final work all in one place. Since multiple users can pin to the same board (here’s how to add multiple users to a board), it makes a great platform for collaboration. As the teacher, you’ll be able to see who contributed what and when, which can be useful in determining if everyone is contributing in reasonable time (which is sometimes an issue!)
Once the work is done, have your students showcase their work on different boards. There are a number of different options here: each student in a particular class could pin a piece of their work to a board, multiple classes or groups could collaborate on a board, or you could even host a contest between students, groups, classes, or schools!
Whether you’re recommending books for students to read, websites for them to check out, places to go, or ideas for projects, create a board! Your students can peruse your recommendations at their own pace and go back to them whenever they want!