What an interesting subject to talk about! Pinterest is a virtual pinboard online allowing users to organize and share images they find on the web. It is like having different bulletin boards on your room’s wall where you hang notes, papers and interesting stuff that you like. For example, you could have a board on titles of books and authors that you found and you pin the ones you eventually want to read. The difference is that this is virtual. You create your own boards and you pin whatever you wish. You can have as many as you want too. To find Pins, you must search n the site. Pinterest proposes an array of categories to choose from, but the search tool bar can be used to find something more precise. Pinterest has a wide variety of resources and it is just fabulous.
Why should anyone use it? Because first of all, it’s free. Second, you can search on specific subjects. Third, you can connect with other teachers and your students. Fourth, you can reach many people. Fifth, you can show a wide array of things instead of telling about them. Last, commenting, repining and liking can be done by students and teachers. However, take note of Pinterest’s terms of service that is, users under the age of 13 are not allowed.
Just how popular is Pinterest? According to WorldWideLearn an article written by Kristen Marino, the number of users in 2012 was 10 million. Minutes per month spent on the site for each visitor is 98 hours. In one year, the visitors grew by 4,377%. I agree with the argument written by KWWL. This article stated that today, with technology improvements, teachers can share ideas year-round through popular social networking and sharing sites such as Pinterest.
The site offers much beyond ideas for decorating your classroom, crafts, recipes, ideas for holidays and sharing stuff with other teachers. There are tons of prepared lesson plans that are available. You can also discover new behaviour management strategies, new ways and materials for teaching harder concepts and collect downloadable materials and pin them to print out when needed. Teachers use this tool to search and keep resources. For example, one of my friends has a board for every subject she teaches, another one for classroom management resources and one for general school activities. On her math board, she pinned different activities that she found and wants to try with her students. I started pinning stuff to my own boards too. A couple of times I stumbled on a site that I did not have access because the resources came from Pinterest, so I finally decided to subscribe. During the course of my practicum, ideas of subjects were given by my cooperative teacher and Pinterest helped me find interesting suggestions for activities that I needed to prepare and I keep finding things that will be useful in the future when I have my own class to teach.
Cassandra Collins from Teachers.net said Pinterest is great for first year teachers and that they should not try to reinvent the wheel and her advice is to take what is already there and works. Stephanie Bucks from Mashable gives 16 suggestions on how teachers can use Pinterest in the classroom such as: creating a board inventorying your classroom library so students know which books are available to them and promote student work online. Not only teachers love Pinterest, students share the same enthusiasm. Doing projects is easy with this tool because the students can find relevant information quickly and keep this information. They can share their Board with friends. For example, if basketball is the theme of a class project, each student can create a board about that sport, pin what they find, share it and then sort or select the information they will use for the project. This is one easy way to use Pinterest in class. The teacher can follow what her students are doing by being friends with them. This option allows the teacher to see almost every students’ Boards. Hiding Boards is possible if you do not want your students to see certain information that you pin.
I think Pinterest can keep students active outside the classroom context and keep them finding and sharing things with their friends because they like what technology offers. Finally, the site is one of the best tools I have discovered lately and like many writers have already said, I could possibly become addicted to it very soon myself.