How Teachers Use Pinterest in Classrooms

By Rob Klindt

Social media has made the Internet an essential tool for teachers who want to share ideas, resources and lesson plans.

One of the most popular social media tools is Pinterest. Launched in 2010, it’s a free service that lets users “pin” documents, videos, photos and other things to a virtual “pin board” to share with others.

According to a 2012 report on Shareaholic, a blog that tracks webpage viewing trends, Pinterest drives more referral traffic than Google Plus, YouTube and LinkedIn combined. And a MediaShift report says the service has already attracted 10 million users. That’s a lot of eyeballs.

And the site has something for everyone — including teachers.

Among Pinterest categories are art, education, design, history, science, nature, technology and more. Because most of the content on the site is posted by users, the categories and subjects are constantly changing so it’s helpful to visit the site regularly to get the latest updates.

Suggested Ways for Teachers to Use Pinterest

  • Share reading materials: Using the Film, Music and Books category, teachers and students can find and share titles related to classroom studies.
  • Showcase student work: Teachers can create a page to share exceptional work by students, including art projects, reports and presentations with classmates, parents and others.
  • Lesson plans: Hundreds of lessons plans for multiple subjects can be downloaded and adapted for specific classroom use. Teachers are encouraged to share and collaborate with others.
  • Classroom organization: Looking for innovative seating charts? Or perhaps a way to safely keep track of and store classroom iPads or other tablets? There’s a Pinterest page for that.
Pinterest pages

Ed Tech Infographics is one of the vast array of “pin boards” available on Pinterest.

A Good Starting Point

While there are dizzying numbers of educational pages and materials to choose from on Pinterest, we’ve come up with a list of our top suggestions for beginning users:

  • Pinterest Education: Find a wide selection of practical classroom organizational techniques, decorations, posters, activities, games and art projects designed for elementary school students.
    Visit the page
  • Local Education and Resource Networks (LEARN): This page focuses on early childhood studies. Subjects include transitioning to kindergarten, opportunities for early learning and tips on engaging families around education.
    Visit the page
  • Zane Education: This online visual learning page focuses on K-12 curriculums. It includes videos, quizzes, study tools and lesson plans for teachers. The page also includes tools for home-school educators.
    Visit the page
  • Pinterest Educational Videos: This impressive clearinghouse of educational videos from history and science to art, video games and technology is designed for K-12 students. A collection of videos in Spanish Is included.
    Visit the page
  • International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE): Interactive quizzes, electronic learning guides and even a teacher’s cheat sheet for using Twitter make this page a must-see for educators who want to increase digital literacy in classroom curriculums.
    Visit the page
  • Education World: Look for a robust collection of resources that focus on teaching science in K-12 classrooms.
    Visit the page

Copyright Laws

While Pinterest has quickly developed into a useful source for saving and sharing online material, it also has attracted controversy over what some people claim are possible copyright violations.

Critics have pointed to Pinterest’s terms of service agreement for its lack of clarity on copyright laws. A 2012 Atlantic Wire report suggested that Pinterest sidestepped the thorny issue of copyright infringement by placing the burden on users to determine if the content they pin onto their pages is OK to share.

This criticism prompted Pinterest to post an updated terms of service in 2012 that makes it easier for anyone to report alleged copyright or trademark infringements. Pinterest is encouraging users to complete an online form that will tag specific content on the site for possible copyright issues.

Our suggestion for teachers is that when sharing classroom materials on Pinterest, make sure they are original materials that you control and that students and their parents or others who may have helped create the materials agree to share it. If you don’t mind others using your posted material, include a note with it saying it’s OK.  Also, don’t try to repin materials that haven’t been sourced.

It’s also a good to give credit to others whose materials you download from Pinterest to use in your classroom.

A Note on Age Restrictions

While most material posted on Pinterest is suitable for all ages, some material that is pinned into general categories is best suited for older teens and adults. It’s a good idea for teachers to limit their classroom curriculum to the Education area.

In addition, teachers need to know that Pinterest’s Terms of Service specify that use of the service by children younger than 13 is prohibited. If material from younger children is being shared on the service, it’s important to work with the child’s parents before doing it.

Share Your Thoughts

Are you using Pinterest in your classroom? Tell us what works for you and what doesn’t. What suggestions for using Pinterest would you offer to a new teacher putting together a classroom curriculum? Log on to this website’s comment area and share your thoughts.