July 1, 2017

You are a teacher and not on Pinterest?

You don’t know what you are missing.

I talk from experience. Until a few weeks ago that was me, I was also not on Pinterest. I knew about it of course. When my friends were planning their weddings, everything got “pinned”. Now that they are the proud mommies of toddlers, they spend inordinate amounts of time on Pinterest supposedly looking for ways to stimulate their offspring but more likely looking for anything that will keep their precious toddler from driving them insane.

Since I am not planning a wedding or entertaining toddlers and I already spend an inordinate amount of time on social media,  I resisted Pinterest. Until somebody explained to me that Pinterest is a modern teacher’s best friend.

Pinterest is your personal library of innovative ideas

Have you ever spend an hour or two in the maze that is the internet? Searching for a creative idea for tomorrow’s lesson? You probably didn’t find what you were looking for but stumbled across ten other ideas that you would love to try out at some point. You also know six months (or six minutes) from now, you will have no idea of where to find that website again. Or have somebody shared a cool idea on Facebook or Twitter that you wanted to save, but had no idea how to do that.
I have tried a number of different ways to solve this problem. You can bookmark the site, heart them on Twitter, save the page on Facebook, or even try to create a Word document where you post all the links. I even used Butterflyclassrooms as a place to collate useful websites. But none of them worked. I constantly forgot to copy links to my “Ideas” document, and even if I did copy them, when I went back later I had no idea which one is the link I am looking for. In the process, I have spent hours on the internet with nothing to show for it. But even worse, my kids have missed out on a bunch of innovating lessons. Until I realised that Pinterest could be the solution to my problem.

Why Pinterest?

You might be thinking, just last week somebody told you that Twitter is the place to be, and the week before Facebook was a must for teachers. The truth is, I use all of these because each of them brings something unique to the table and my classroom.

Twitter is still my go-to source to get new ideas. If you follow a few good teachers that share their best ideas and retweet the best ideas that are available (hint, hint, @butterfly_class is on of those you should follow) you will get new ideas without even trying. But there is no good way to save those ideas – you can heart them, but I don’t know about you, I never go back and look through all the tweets I have liked and to find an old tweet is almost impossible.

Teachers are starting to use Facebook more and more to build communities where they can share ideas and resources. Unlike Twitter, Facebook has a search (at least the iOS have one) and save function. But like bookmarking websites, you will soon find that saving pages on Facebook is a recipe for disaster. There is just no way to order them. (And it irritate me if Facebook always remind me of them, but that is just me)
Pinterest allows you to create different boards – they act like folders – that you can use to organise your pins. You can save websites with the click of a button and keep them organised at the same time.

Download my Pinterest Guide if you would like more ideas on how to effectively organise your Pinterest boards for work.

But it gets even better – You can Collaborate on Pinterest

If you are a teacher, you know that there is just not enough time in a day for everything you need to do. And there is definitely not enough time to spend hours scouring the internet for good lesson plans. There is too much information available and not enough time to separate the good stuff from the rest. But if there is one thing that social media have taught us over the past few years, it is that there is power in numbers. Pinterest now offers collaborative or group boards. This means that you can have more people pinning ideas to a board.
 Have a look at the collaborative boards that I recently created.
(Follow them, and I will send you an invite to become a collaborator)
But you can use group boards on a smaller scale as well. Just imagine if you created a board for your maths or English department and added all the teachers in the department as collaborators. No more emailing links to each other and you have four or five times the number of ideas at your fingertips without spending any more time online.

What makes Pinterest so easy to use?

Most sites have a pin button, just like they have a tweet and share on Facebook button. But what makes Pinterest even easier to use it the extension. If you are a Chrome user, take a moment to add the Chrome extension. After you have installed it, you will see the little Pinterest “P” in the top right-hand corner of your browser. Whenever you come across a site that you want to get back to, you just click on the “P” and pin it to the appropriate board.
If you spend more time surfing the internet on your phone, I would suggest you download the Pinterest app. The app allows you to pin directly to Pinterest. When you are on a site you want to pin, just tap the arrow that lets you email, WhatsApp or shares the site on Facebook, and you will see the Pinterest “P” there as well.

 Warning – This is addictive

Like all social media, Pinterest can be addictive. Especially if you are browsing the suggested pins that Pinterest provide.
(Pro Tip – Pinterest will email you suggested pins every day, at the bottom of the email you will find an option to unsubscribe from this).
You can easily get caught up in a race to see how many pins and followers you have. Sometimes just repinning things because they sound interesting without even reading it. While this might be useful (I doubt it) when you plan your wedding, from a work point of view it is counter productive. As I said earlier, there is too much information available on the internet. Repinning it to Pinterest is not solving anybody’s problem. If your boards are filled with good and not so good information, you have just attempted to recreate the internet warts and all. What we need is curated information, collecting the good stuff and ignoring the not so good. So try to create boards filled with pins that you can recommend. That also make it easier later to find that great idea you are looking for.
Take the plunge, create that Pinterest account and get organised. If you would like to know more about setting up your Pinterest for work, download my Ultimate Pinterest Guide for Teachers here.

How do you keep track of the interesting ideas you find on the internet? Share your ideas and suggestions with us.

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