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It has long been said that the best teachers are also thieves. We beg, borrow and steal amazing lesson ideas, organisational tips and behaviour management strategies from one another. With the advent of technology, sharing the wealth has become even easier. Using the Pinterest app on your phone or computer enables you to glean knowledge from the entire web with a few simple search terms. Let’s take a look at how it works and how to use Pinterest responsibly.

What is Pinterest?

Pinterest is touted as a “digital bulletin board.” Simply put, the user can “pin” links to specific pages on any number of customised “boards” on their account. The user creates the boards and gives them unique names. Then, while browsing through Pinterest or the web, the Pin button (can be downloaded onto the toolbar) is used to pin links to a board. it really is that easy.

Getting started

Once upon a time in 2011, you had to sign up and wait to be invited to join Pinterest. Now, however, you can create an account instantly and start browsing within minutes. Pinterest is available on your mobile device or through your favourite browser, and your account can be accessed anytime, anywhere. Be sure to give yourself a memorable username and remember that password!

Finding Great Pins

Using the search function really gives you control over what Pinterest shows you. As your boards become fuller, Pinterest will suggest pins for you. Your Homepage also shows you what your friends (added manually or through other social media sites) have recently pinned. To find specific content, type terms into the search box. The more words you use, the more specific the results will be. For example, if you want to find sight word activities, type in “sight words”. Then you can modify the search by including words like “ESL”, “kindergarten”, “dinosaurs”, “cars”, and so on. once you scroll through the results, use the handy Pin button on the link to pin your favourites to any board you wish. There’s even an option to keep a board secret if you wish (great for gift ideas).

Social Networking

Pinterest is classified as a social network. This is as a result of all the communication that happens on the site. You can add friends and follow certain people or organisations (Teach UAE, hint, hint) and see what they are pinning on their boards. While scanning blogs, webpages or company sites, look for the Pinterest logo and click to follow them on Pinterest. Just like twitter or Instagram, the more people you follow, the more will be exposed to your site.

Pin responsibly

One flaw in Pinterest is that sometimes, links do not work or are outdated. Before you pin to a board, open the link to be sure that it works. This can save you the torment of opening a lesson plan to use and then having to look it up over again. Only pin what you plan to use – an excess of pins only brings you back to the original problem of having too many choices. Be cautious. Ensure that content is not copyrighted, and is appropriate to UAE and Islamic culture before using in the classroom.

So there you have it. Fantastic lesson plans, strategies and more at your fingertips. Happy Pinning, teachers!

By Betina Fuentes

Betina is a Cycle 2 teacher at a girls’ school in Al Ain. She enjoys travelling, meeting new teachers, and helping her students learn as much as they can.

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