This is a guest post by Lindsey Harper Mac.
Those who have merely grazed the popular new website Pinterest have likely not discovered the educational gold mines that lie just beneath the surface of endless fashion advice and cupcake recipes. Although Pinterest can certainly function as a very accommodating outlet for wasting time and indulging in vapid guilty pleasures, it can just as easily be used to improve the educational experience for both instructors and students. As a testament to the argument that Pinterest does play a valuable role in education, consider the following five ways you can use the site to enhance learning.
1. Browse the Education Category
Perhaps you have yet to discover the value of Pinterest because you never took advantage of the category filter featured on the landing page. You may be surprised to discover an entire Pinterest category devoted to education. This helpful feature helps you narrow your search and browse through various helpful resources on virtually any academic subject imaginable. Some examples of the pins featured in this section include educational conference notifications, book reviews, math fun, pictures of projects by students, teaching ideas, homeschooling tips, and more.
2. Organize Your Information
Once you spend a little time browsing the education category, there's a good chance you'll find an overwhelming amount of information to work with. To stay organized and make all of your resources easily accessible, you can use your own Pinterest account to "repin" articles and other information onto your own board for later reference. You can even create a few pins of your own from other educational resources you find on the Internet to keep everything safely stored in one convenient place.
3. Make Use of the Public Board
While pinning on your personal boards will help you stay organized, you can also engage with others. Open a public board and ask faculty members to pin to it. This way you are utilizing the brains of multiple industry-savvy, yet unique-minded individuals, as opposed to just your own ideas. Furthermore, re-pinning is not the only method to adding content. Don’t be afraid to add pins from outside resources. Every time you stumble across an interesting article, project or idea pin it to the public board in order to share it with others.
4. Network with Educators and Students
Both instructors and students can benefit by learning from and reaching out to one another through Pinterest. For example, teachers who are looking for advice on how to get students engaged and which projects to assign for a specific academic subject can easily look at what other teachers are doing for the same subject. Pinterest even facilitates back and forth communication with teachers for more efficient collaboration regarding teaching methods and assignments. Students also can connect with other students for ideas regarding certain upcoming projects and even study advice to better prepare for tests.
5. Supply Students with Multiple Academic Resources
Teachers and professors from all over the country are already using Pinterest as a medium for supplying students with resources that act as a guide throughout the course. These resources include the syllabus, reading list, and other helpful outside sources that can allow students to get more out of the class overall. Many educators have already gained popularity on Pinterest by doing just this. For example, Steven Bickmore, an Assistant Professor of English Education, has created several boards on the site that are each dedicated to a specific class or focus.
Just like every other social networking platform, Pinterest has just as much potential for distracting from education as it does for enhancing it. Despite how easy it is to spend hours lost in a sea of pins about cooking and other categories of interest, educators can stay focused by keeping track of the five benefits above. It truly is an exciting era for education, and Pinterest can now claim its role as one of the digital media that has revolutionized learning.
About the author
Lindsey Harper Mac is a professional writer who lives just outside of Indianapolis. She specializes in writing guest posts regarding social media and education on behalf of Colorado Technical University. Lindsey is currently pursuing her master’s degree.