At the end of 2011, I started noticing something called “pinterest.com” showing up in my stat counter for this site. I have a lot of random referrers and didn’t pay much attention to it. When I checked my analytics again in the fall, I realized this Pinterest thing was sending me thousands of visitors a month, second only to Google. I clicked on the link, and it took me to something that appears like a virtual bulletin board. Or pin board (ding! ding! ding!) where people had pinned my photos to share with other educators. Each photo linked back to my site.

Hmmm. It looked really cool but I assumed there was a lot to learn and figure out, like with Twitter and Facebook and Google+. Okay, those sites aren’t THAT complicated, but do I really need a fourth social media site to maintain? No, thank you. But these days, Pinterest sends me as much traffic as Google does. My friends on Facebook have accounts. People in real life (gasp!) are talking about it. It’s changing the way people blog and is the fastest growing social network. I figured I better get on there and start figuring out what the fuss is all about.

pinterest-for-teachers

Guess what: Pinterest IS as fun, addictive, and EASY as it looks. I am hooked. And here’s why I think you should be, too.

Pinterest doesn’t require a big time investment and is the simplest method I’ve found to keep track of great ideas. I spend maybe 15 minutes every other day on Pinterest. It’s a fun way to relax and unwind before shutting off my computer for the night, and also great for those moments during the day when I’m already online and have just a moment or two of downtime. I scroll through my Pinterest feed, which shows everything that’s recently been pinned to the boards I follow. I click “like” if I want to have a record of something I saw without pinning it to a board (I do that a lot with random stuff that doesn’t fit into any of my board categories.) If I want to share itand organize it with related ideas, I click “repin” and assign it to a board. That’s it! And throughout the day, whenever I come across something I like online, I click “pin it” from my tool bar and within seconds, an image from that page has been sent to Pinterest.

If you click on a board (in this case, my Behavior Management board), here is what you see. Every photo shows in a slightly-larger-than-thumbnail size which is normally big enough to see clearly. Captions and comments are also visible. Clicking a photo will enlarge it, give you more info about it, and show the link to the website where you can read the original article.
If you click on a board (in this case, my Behavior Management board), here is what you see. Every photo shows in a slightly-larger-than-thumbnail size which is normally big enough to see clearly. Captions and comments are also visible. Clicking a photo will enlarge it, give you more info about it, and show the link to the website where you can read the original article.

How to Use Pinterest:

1) Create your profile and boards.

My advice is to make your boards as specific as possible; the longer you’re on Pinterest, the more great ideas you’ll want to add, so just having one board called “Classroom” means it will probably grow too large to be useful. Create a couple of boards for work-related stuff (I have about 30, but that’s not necessary for everyone) and some for personal things too, if you want. Keep in mind that if someone follows you, they will automatically start following any new boards you create, so try to plan ahead and name boards you’d like to add to, even if they’re blank without any pins at first. You don’t want 2,000 people following your education boards when you suddenly decide to start adding boards with photos of your dream home at the beach or wedding dresses, because those will show up in everyone’s feeds.

2) Find cool people to follow.

Pinterest is only as interesting as the people you follow. You can check out all the pins in the education category, but I rarely do that and spend most of my time looking at the pins from people/boards I follow.  I started following my Facebook friends first (Pinterest can hook that up automatically) and edubloggers I know from Teaching Blog Traffic School. I then started looking through the lists of people they follow and adding them. You can do the same: follow my boards (Angela_Watson) and check out the people that I follow and repin. You can choose to follow only individual pin boards, not everything a person pins, so that only stuff that’s targeted to your interests shows up in your Pinterest feed. Technically I only follow about 90 people (meaning all their boards), but there are hundreds of other people for whom I follow a few specific boards that line up with my interests.

3) Repin stuff you like.

If you see something you like and want it to be stored on your boards for your reference and to show up in your Pinterest feed (for your followers to see), click “repin.” You’ll then see an option to customize a comment and choose which of your boards you want it pinned on. Click “pin it” and you’re done! It’s really that simple.

4) Add your own pins, too.

When you see something on a website you like, pin it. The whole point of the site is to keep growing the collection of resources, not just recycling the same old ideas. So use Pinterest as a social bookmarking tool to collect and organize ideas you want to use, remember, reference, and share.

5) Follow good Pinterest ettiquette.

Make sure you link to individual blog posts and web pages, not the home page of a site (or worse, Google), so that people don’t have to search around if they want to read the related article. It’s really important to link to the ORIGINAL source of your picture, too, so that the blogger gets the credit (and web traffic) from your pin. This is a great article about respecting copyright and web author’s work, and here’s a mandatory read on making sure the original blogger gets credit for their idea. You might also enjoy this excellent post called The Ultimate List of Pinterest Tips as well as this collection of Pinterest DOs and DON’Ts (for teachers.)

Here are two pins on my Education Cartoons/Humor board. You can see comments as well as likes and repins.
Here are two pins on my Education Cartoons/Humor board. You can see comments as well as likes and repins.

You can get started on Pinterest by following my boards and checking out the people and boards I follow. Leave your Pinterest URL in the comments and I’ll check out your stuff, too!

pinned_photo
This is what you see if you click on a pin: a larger image, the name of the person who originally pinned it, the site they found it on, any comments, and the Pinterest board the image was pinned to. If you like a picture, you can follow the board so the next time that person pins a photo to it, the image shows up in your Pinterest feed.

Discussion

0 Comments

    • Angela Watson

      You have a ton of great boards! Thanks for sharing. 🙂

  1. John T. Spencer

    Okay, so I admit I was wrong 🙂 I should never have called it the Comic Sans of Social Media. This is making me want to set up a profile and add my visual prompts.

    • Angela Watson

      Yay, John, your comment made me smile! I do think you will really enjoy Pinterest. I’m going to be posting again soon about some of the copyright concerns around Pinterest and their TOU. You may want to research that a bit especially if you are planning to pin images from photographers, artists, etc. Let me know when your account is set up and I’ll follow.

  2. Valerie

    I am enjoying reading your blog. I found you via Pintrest and love what your blog has to offer.

    • Angela Watson

      Thanks, Valerie!

  3. Justine Driver

    I have been really loving pinterest too, so glad that you have now joined and promoted it through your blog – I like to organise my teaching boards into kids art ideas, teaching ideas, teaching organisation ideas, maths ideas, techno etc.. it is great to share with colleagues with all specific themes right at your finger tips (and visual too)! http://pinterest.com/digitaljust/teaching-literacy-ideas/ keep up the great sharing 🙂

    • Angela Watson

      Hey, Justine, you’ve got some awesome boards there–following! 😉

  4. YnnaRada

    Great! this is a very interesting article. And it is really a wonderful topic to read such a valuable insights here. Thanks for the information and i will definitely share this to all of my friends.

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  6. Anna Frewer

    Pinterest is REALLY growing in popularity. Awesome opportunity to learn how to best use it. Thanks!

  7. Melissa Taylor (@ImaginationSoup)

    Thanks for these pointers – especially the ettiquette! I am addicted to Pinterest for curating all the ways learning can be fun for kids. http://pinterest.com/melissa_taylor2/

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  9. Kelsey

    I completely agree – Pinterest is a vast resource for all kinds of interests. I wish I only spent a few minutes every other day…I need to control myself more! I love all the great ideas about homeschooling and at home education/fun among so many other things. Thanks for the tips!

  10. Lisa M

    I also quickly became addicted to Pinterest. Of course, the first thing I thought of was pinning Education resources. As a matter of fact, that’s all I’ve pinned! 🙂 http://pinterest.com/briteeyes49/

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  12. Felisa Williams

    You article is very reflective of how I felt when I recently discovered Pinterest. Social Media sites are spreading like wildfire these days and I’ve had a really hard time figuring out which outlets are the most effective and appropriate for sharing educational materials. I must say that Pinterest has become my favorite tool! I’ve been teaching and tutoring for over a decade and having access to countless educational boards has exposed me to an entire world of teacher blogs, excellent education websites, classroom ideas, activities, lesson plans, worksheets, activities, resources, etc. The list really goes on and on and on….and it’s AMAZING! I think if teachers spend a little time on Pinterest, they will quickly discover that it’s a wonderful way for all of us to UNITE and help each other provide our students with fun, creative lessons that will really force them to THINK and help overcome their learning challenges. http://pinterest.com/felisawilliams/

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