Lately, there has been a lot of attention and discussion about using Pinterest as a tool in the classroom. In fact, I myself have written two posts about incorporating the social media pinning website in the classroom: 10 Ways to Use Pinterest in the Classroom and Pinterest – Turning Procrastination into Classroom Preparations.

While these ideas are exciting new ways to bring technology into the learning environment, there has been very little discussion about carrying out this process in reality. As with any other technology, it is important to think through the details of implementation before blindly introducing new tools to the classroom. For this reason, I’ve created 6 practical points to consider and remember when turning Pinterest in the classroom into a reality.

Although each educator, classroom and assignment require individualized plans, here are 6 basic things to remember when using Pinterest in the classroom:

  1. Does every student have a Facebook/Twitter account? Currently, the only way to sign-up for Pinterest is through one of these social media accounts. In order to ensure each student can use Pinterest, they must first have one of these set up.
  2. Does every student have an invitation to Pinterest? Due to the large level of popularity of Pinterest, students must be invited to become new users. This invitation can take a few days, so make sure to plan in advance when setting up a project.
  3. Do pins lead to real sources? This is especially important if using boards as bibliographies, but also necessary when creating boards as collections of research. Make sure students link pins from valid, scholarly sources rather than arbitrary websites.
  4. Are pins captioned appropriately? If students are presenting information through boards, it is important that they aptly caption and describe each pin. Simply posting a picture or video can be arbitrary and confusing for other readers.
  5. Is ownership evident in group work? Since boards can be collaboratively built by many users, make sure you keep track of who pinned what when grading group work. Students usernames will be listed below their pins, but you can also ask them to caption pins with their names to make it easier.
  6. Repins or original pins? Although the “Repin” feature on Pinterest is one of its most useful, be aware of its disadvantages in schoolwork. Pins that are repins link back to the original pin, rather than the original source. This can become tedious when attempting to find the original image, article or video, and oftentimes the original pin doesn’t lead to the original source! When students are constructing research-driven boards, recommend or even require that they pin directly from the original source.

4 thoughts on “Making Pinterest in the Classroom A Reality: 6 Practical Points

  1. Love the idea of using Pinterest in the classroom! Curious as to what age groups you would allow to use Pinterest, i.e. which grade levels is it appropriate for? I currently teach 5th grade and use Pinterest at home. However, there are a great number of inappropriate images for elementary school students on Pinterest. How do you recommend dealing with the inappropriate pins that are bound to show up during student searches? Thanks!

    1. I think there is value in teaching students how to self-monitor and engage with sites where there may be adult content. Crucial conversations can be had with students about what is appropriate to post, how to report to adults when they come across inappropriate content, and how to protect themselves online 🙂

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