Friday, March 3, 2017

My Interest in Pinterest

            With over 150 million active users, Pinterest is full of ideas on everything from crafting to baking, to clothing. But it’s useful for more than picking out that perfect teaching outfit. Pinterest also has a solid community of educators using it to share ideas. There are activities, worksheets, and lesson plans ready to be found and saved, or ‘pinned’.
            What I love about Pinterest is I don’t have to go on with a specific mission, I can go and just browse. If I find something I like, or that intrigues me, I can save it to a specific ‘board’ for me to look at more closely at a later time. Boards are essentially named folders, with the bonus of you can include a short description of your board. It helps me keep ideas organized and all in one place so that I can easily find them again. For me it’s better than a sticky note with a web address scrawled on it. With a picture and a short description, plus accessibility, Pinterest allows me to ‘pin’ for later without adding clutter or stress. Having different ‘boards’, say one for Geometry and one for Algebra, or one for activities and another for worksheets, can also increase the organization and the ease with which you can find the pin at a later date.
            Along with this, Pinterest really helps with collaboration. I can have multiple contributors to a board, which allows multiple people to save pins to a specific board. What I tend to do more often is if I follow a board that consistently has great content. By following a board, or a specific user, pins saved to that board will appear in my home feed. This makes it easier to find what is pinned, and also helps show me more ideas similar to the ones I've liked. This means that once I've saved a pin about a specific kind of mathematics activity in the classroom, Pinterest will show me other pins on a similar subject- sometimes I even find something better than I had originally saved! I can also message other users on Pinterest, sending each other pins or discussing a specific pin. Pinterest also allows you to share through other mediums, such as text messaging, email, and Facebook Messenger.
            The downside is, all of this can be more than a little overwhelming, especially to a first time user. There are so many ideas and features to Pinterest that it can be too confusing or cause sensory overload. I would suggest just browsing, not for anything specific, until you begin to get a feel for Pinterest. Another downside is not everything on Pinterest is free. You can filter for buyable pins, but unfortunately I have yet to figure out a way to filter for only free pins. This can be discouraging or frustrating, especially if you are not wanting to pay for anything (I’m personally really cheap and have to know something is worth the money before investing in it.)
            Pinterest might not be for everyone, but for me the benefits of Pinterest are worth wading through all the different pins to find what I am looking for (or to find ideas for the future). It has allowed me to find blogs by more experience educators, and other resources that have already been beneficial to me. For me at least, Pinterest isn’t just wishful thinking, it is a helpful tool that I will continue to use in the future as I become a mathematics educator.   

-Kristina Luczak