5 Approaches for Curating Educational Content on Pinterest
Pinterest is great for many things — but you don’t have to tell educators that. According to 2013 data from Pinterest itself, more than 500,000 education-related ideas are pinned to Pinterest every day. That’s no doubt continued to grow since 2013, especially with the launch of Teachers on Pinterest and Lesson Ideas for Pinterest.
There are a lot of great ideas right at your fingertips. But those large numbers can also be overwhelming. And even if you do find the right material, it’s easy for it to get lost in the shuffle of other pins. Pinterest should be a clean, easy-to-browse place. And who’s to say any one pin that happens to come up in a search is actually appropriate for your classroom, for professional development, or for parental interaction?
In this guide, we’ll take you through all of the steps you need in order to effectively source and curate ideas on Pinterest so that they’re actually useful to you and to the people in your educational community.
1. Make good use of the search bar
It might sound obvious, but the way you’ll begin your Pinterest hunt is by typing what you’re looking for into the search bar. The best way to search is to have keywords in mind. If you know, for example, that you’re specifically looking for “Common Core 6th grade math worksheets,” you’ll have a lot easier time finding material than if you search for the term “education worksheets.”
What can you search? Anything! Here are a few keywords to get you started:
- Maker projects
- Shakespeare projects
- 4th grade English
- Classroom DIY projects
- Class management
- Seasonal art activities
- Holiday party ideas
- Common Core
- Test prep
- Class decoration ideas
- Science experiments
- Math worksheets
- Reading and writing resources
- Dyslexia interventions
Remember: When you search, don’t stop at looking for great resources to share. If you see a board you like as you go, make sure to follow it.
2. Follow power pinners and media moguls
You know that one teacher in your school that you’re always trying to emulate? You lap up their every word and are inspired by all of their worksheets. These kinds of rock stars exist on Pinterest, too, and in fact, you’ll find even more of them once your reach extends outside of your school’s walls. These teachers are called Power Pinners, due both to the number of the pins they create and to the number of re-pins that they regularly share.
There are a few ways to identify them:
- Follow the Teachers on Pinterest board. This is Pinterest’s dedicated collection of education boards. Here you’ll not only find great content to curate, but also other Pinners to follow.
- Follow the teachers in this Pinterest blog post. In this post, Pinterest identifies a few of its biggest teacher influencers.
- Do a Google search for “popular teachers on Pinterest.” Your search will turn up comprehensive articles ranking all kinds of teachers in different specialties.
- Find teachers you admire on other social media sites. If you spot a teacher you like in one of your education Facebook groups or on Twitter, look them up on Pinterest to see if they have a presence. Teachers also use the hashtags #teacherfriends and #edulebrities to identify Pinterest rock stars on Twitter.
Just as influential as Power Pinners are what we call Media Moguls: education publications devoted to creating in-depth guides and resources and sharing them on Pinterest. Identifying them is easy. If you have an education publication you already like, look it up on Pinterest. When you encounter great resources as you search on Pinterest, check to see if they were put out by a publication and follow their board if they were.
We’ve gotten you started with a list of our own Power Pinners and Media Moguls.
3. Know who you're curating for
Understanding your audience on Pinterest is key, just as it is when telling a story or teaching in front of a class of toddlers who don’t care about learning about science. What you pick to pin is entirely dependent on who you’re pinning for. That could be:
- Yourself? “Hey, just pinning some ideas here, folks! No need to judge.”
- Fellow teachers? Exchanging pins and co-curating boards can be a great way to pass ideas across your team or to the wider education world. It can also be an excellent place for professional development.
- Students? Encourage students to curate their own ideas, do research, brainstorm and make their own creative projects.
- Parents? Today’s parents are connected and enjoy seeing what their children are up to on Pinterest. They may also want to contribute a pin or two of their own. Your parent-centric boards are obviously going to be different than your teacher-centric ones.
4. Have criteria for found pins
Once you start pinning, you’ll want to know what kind of resources you’re looking for, or at least have boards at the ready in which to store lesson plans, worksheets, videos, photos, quotes and whatever else you find.
Beyond that, you’ll also want to have some criteria for found materials in terms of quality. Your chosen pin should have a high quality image that will blow up nicely without becoming pixilated, and that doesn’t look like a boring stock photo. Take time to avoid spelling errors, and of course, the pin should be something of interest to you, your fellow teachers, students, or parents. There’s no use pinning something no one will ever look at.
5. Pin and re-pin
Oftentimes, pins themselves come from outside media sources (e.g. an article you want to add to Pinterest). Re-pins are what you see someone else pin and decide to share. Do a little mix of both so that you’re both adding to the community and making it interactive and supportive.