Using Pinterest for Education
Pinterest is a social network which allows you to share and comment on visual material, which could be photographs, sketches, videos or web pages. Like a virtual scrapbook, but very public, you can collate the items that you love. There is no copyright in the world of Pinterest: you can attach images from other people’s web pages, or repin content from other people’s boards (see this article from JPC Law). In fact sharing content from other people is actively encouraged - this is about the social activity of interaction and sharing and gaining followers, rather than keeping ownership of your work. When the Pin It button is used to select pins from a web page, the pin automatically includes a link to the source web page, so you can remember where you found it, and other people can go to the source for more information.
Pinterest has taken the social media world by storm in the past 12 months. It’s actually been around since 2008, when it was mainly used for sharing interests, particularly arts and crafts. It was a great way to discover new interests and hone your skills by looking at other people’s boards and gaining inspiration.
Content is organised around boards, which are split into themes. You can add visuals to your own, or other people’s boards, either by clicking a special button in your browser, adding the URL or uploading images from your computer. The boards reflect a person’s lifestyle, and the objects which define it.
However Pinterest can also be a great tool for use in education. It is great for organising vast quantities of information and brainstorming ideas. The visual nature of Pinterest makes it particularly suited to engaging learners. You can use it to:
- Compile content, including educational video
- Organise and store ideas
- Connect and comment on students’ work
- Make connections with other teachers and get ideas for future projects
- Create group projects: community boards can be perfect for collaborative projects
One of Pinterest’s main advantages is its ability to save links to resources that you discover on the web. We all find really interesting articles, images or videos which would be useful for another day. The problem until now has been to find a way to save these items in one place where you can refer back to them. The visual nature of Pinterest makes it easy to rediscover resources we have saved previously and to store them under a relevant topic title. The beauty of this is the fact that all the images link back to the original source, so you won’t find yourself searching around for the place where you found the image. You can even write a note to yourself as a reminder of why you chose this particular resource. This can be particularly useful for teachers when planning lessons and for collating ideas for future lessons.
Collaborate with other teachers using Pinterest
Pinterest boards can be a great way to collaborate with other teachers. You can share ideas, resources, videos, news articles, infographics and images. You don’t have to be working in the same school, or even the same country, to be able to work on the same collection of resources.
Share resources with students
Pinterest boards can be used to provide a structured list of resources for students writing about a certain topic. Instructing your students to research on the web can lead them to distraction. The web is too wide and there are many unreliable sources. Sometimes it would be good to restrict what you want them to look at: you can create a board with all the information they need so they can concentrate on writing, rather than searching through masses of information.
Using Pinterest for group work
Students can work together on a group project, putting together a board of ideas and resources, working independently and pinning ideas onto the board to create a group collage. The teacher can then visit the board, leaving comments and feedback on the resources put together.
Pinterest brings out the creative side of your students. They can take pleasure in producing something which is both beautiful and educational. Students can also create a board to show what resources they used to write a particular essay, much more exciting than the traditional bibliography.
Pinterest is more than just sharing photos – it’s about sharing ideas and moods. You can also share your videos through Pinterest, which can be particularly powerful in education.
How to add your videos to Pinterest
The idea of adding videos to Pinterest has not yet taken off, so this gives you a great opportunity to make your board stand out from the crowd. The great thing about pinned videos is that you can view them from inside Pinterest.
To add a video to Pinterest you can, of course, find the video you want to pin, then click the ‘Pin It’ button in the usual way.
Click the 'Add' button at the top
Select ‘Add a Pin’
Add the URL from YouTube (don’t use the embed code here, it has to be the URL link of the video).
Choose ‘Find Images’
Then Pin It!
Ensure that you include a clear description with the video, so that people will know what they are getting when they click. A unique and explanative title is a good starting point, but make sure you also include a description of the video so that you can make use of your main keywords and grab your audience’s attention.
Adding videos to Pinterest allows you to organise them in the order you want them played, and it offers a more structured approach to watching the videos than in YouTube where distraction awaits around every corner.
Pinterest can be used as a source of inspiration, or for firing up your creativity. It is a great resource for use in education, for both teachers and students alike. Pinterest is fun, appealing and engaging – all the qualities of a good educational resource. Check out this Pinterest board for more ideas on how it can be used in education.
BBC Active has a wide range of educational videos which can be used in the classroom for learning and training.