Pinterest, the virtual bulletin board that lets users compile and share resources, articles and Web sites through images, has taken the Web by storm. According to Experian Hitwise, as of September 2012, Pinterest had a 15-fold increase in the United States, attracting 9.2 to 139 million visits in a single year. Many are speculating about Pinterest's momentum and where it will go next. Part of that conversation concerns educators and how they're changing the social media site's function and purpose.
With 11 million users, Pinterest is a social media juggernaut, and educators make up a good part of its audience. Boards exclusively for educators are popping up all over Pinterest. According to an infographic from WorldWideLearn.com, over 350 Pinterest boards are titled "lessons plans." Additionally, over 400 feature the keyword "classroom," and 450 include the keyword "teacher."
As the already-initiated know, Pinterest is outright addicting. A gathering place for anything and everything cool on the Internet, Pinterest features three main action buttons that help boost engagement: repin, like and comment. This simplicity helps beginners catch on quickly. In addition, the huge image collections provide great information on a variety of topics. Just about anything that can be associated with an image can be found in this virtual playground.
The combination of appealing visuals and user interaction make Pinterest the perfect place for educators to find resources for the classroom. Images act as a door to goodies ranging from fun videos to interesting articles and other time-absorbing Web sites. Pinterest also is perfect for teachers who want to encourage collaborative learning while incorporating online activities into their curriculum. The site allows educators to not only promote students’ projects and top-notch work, but also circulate tips that have worked in their classrooms and schools.
Pinterest is also an excellent source of referral traffic for educators with an online presence. Teachers with Web sites and/or blogs should feature a "Pin It" button on every page and/or post. Second only to the mighty Facebook, Pinterest provides more referral traffic than YouTube and LinkedIn combined.
In addition, hashtags play a big part in successfully sharing content on Pinterest. While the site’s hashtags don't exhibit the same flexibility and usefulness as Twitter hashtags, teachers can still search hashtags on Pinterest and get great results.
The site’s usefulness is not limited to educators. Students also can take part—whether it's a sports team seeking funding or a math club looking to gain members. After exploring Pinterest, be sure to follow Education World’s boards. We can’t wait to pin with you!