Pinterest in the Classroom

In the mist of all the social networks offered on the Web, a teacher can wrongly underestimate the educational potential held by these endless resources. While different schools of thoughts have argued on both sides concerning the use of Facebook and Twitter in the classroom, it seems relevant to consider a new up and coming social media called “Pinterest“.

While the essence of “Pinterest” is similar to Facebook, connecting with people and sharing ideas, the platform through which it’s done offers a totally different experience for the user. On “Pinterest”, the focus isn’t solely on the users, their thoughts or their comments, it’s purpose is more in relation to their hobbies, interests and their willingness to connect with people with similar backgrounds. Accordingly, “Pinterest” users can deepens their interests, get inspiration and broaden their perspective on a wide variety of subjects.

Before getting any further with the possibilities “Pinterest” holds in the classroom, it seems worth it to explain briefly the way it works. As a social network platform, “Pinterest” allow it users to upload pictures, videos and other media content, therefore known as “Pins”, and arrange them in theme-related collections on a “board”. Once their boards are created, users can “repin” other users’ post, “like” and comments them and also share them via their Facebook or Twitter profile. It’s user friendly and it’s known to be very inspiring for anyone who wants to connect with people with similar interests.

Intrigued by this new trend, I went online, tried it, and decided to find out how this new platform could be used in the classroom. To start with, the first use that comes to my mind is educator using it to share their lesson plan. It’s an easy-to-use and highly interactive way to post links for further references. Arranging them by subjects and content, a teachers can give access to an incredible amounts of new information with just a few clicks. Moreover, an experienced educator could also create a “Pinterest” board for the group where all new assignments and announcements are made. Amongst themselves, teachers can use it to share new content, such as articles, videos and new resources, but also brainstorm about a new project. Concerning the students, the possibilities are almost endless. Students working on a group project can sometimes work independently and pin ideas on the board of their group to create a collage and leaves each others’ feedbacks and comments. Later on, this same page could also be used as a visual support during the oral presentation of their project. In a context where students are being exposed to new content and developing their opinion, they can use this platform to share their views and preferences in a given field, may it be art, cuisine or cinema. Here’s a link with suggestions concerning activities to do in the classroom.

One of “Pinterest’s” greatest advantages lie in its user-friendliness and its wide accessibility. It’s easy to share, manage and is highly interactive, thus creating a stimulating learning environment for the students. The sense of being an individual in a sharing community not only reinforces the cohesion and the dynamic of the group, but also increases the students’ intrinsic motivations and allows learning to take place amongst high order cognitive skills and outside the classroom.