Friday, May 17, 2013

Using Pinterest for Education

People use Pinterest for a number of reasons, but we will focus on the reasons that lend themselves to educational repurposing. 


Pinterest offers a platform for people to become curators. People process information through categorization and classification, which is the ultimate function of Pinterest. Users find resources and pin them to thematic boards, thus allowing them to group, segment, compare, and draw connections between separate resources.

As Pinterest users accumulate online resources, Pinterest gives them a visual means of organization.  For visual learners, this helps them brainstorm, process and organize their thoughts and preferences. As a visual learner myself, having an image reference for each article improves my rate of recall; I have a much better memory for the details of an article when I have an image to reference than simply a title and description. 

Many Pinterest users curate collections of items for review by their peers. For comparative analysis, it helps that one can see all items on a single board rather than having to jump from one website to another.

The “Like” and comment functions allow students to share their thoughts on their peers’ collections.

Pinterest allows users to invite others to pin to their boards, which is great for collaborative research projects.


I have to admit that I was put off by the fact that I was forced to follow boards right when I made my account, but what this did was it showed me how easily I could collect information and resources that normally I would have to go out of my way to find. Rather than spending time researching the best articles on marketing or teaching ideas, in a way they come to me. In creating my account, I was not very thoughtful about the boards I chose to follow because I just wanted to get through the process. However, after some time, I have come to realize who I want to follow and appreciate the resources I get from those individuals.

For those who are busy and on-the-go, it’s nice to have the latest and greatest on the topic of interest. A designer can follow the newest trends in design. A techy can find out the latest on software upgrades. Business and marketing students can review the latest advertising campaigns that have been making waves. I like looking at marketing infographics and repin my favorite ones to my own marketing boards.

I find myself spending the majority of my time working with my own boards or looking at specific boards curated by individuals, and only occasionally look at the “following” board because I tend to value Pinterest for its curatorial potential and thus seek out specific topics and information at particular times. This is where I see the most potential for educational use of Pinterest. I am not as interested in the stream of consciousness-like flow of the following page. However, many people like that they have the newest ideas (related to their interests) in a single glance right at their fingertips, and once they choose to repin some of those resources, they are able to put those items into more organized structures.

Side Note: There are ways to control the amount of email you receive from Pinterest and you can follow or unfollow anyone at any time. You can also have private boards for your eyes only.

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