Pinterest, founded in 2010 by Evan Sharp, Paul Sciarra, and Ben Silbermann, is a social media platform that enables users to bookmark (pin), curate, and share images and videos.

General features

  • Pin interaction: Pins appear in the home feed, and you can react to pins to show your opinion and feedback. Comments can be added and managed as well as Idea Pins can be created and shared.
  • Secret boards: Can be kept private and be seen by only invited users.
  • Videos: It is possible to curate and watch videos.
  • Trials: There is an option to use and try on products.
  • Live TV: Pinterest live TV enables users to learn about food, beauty or fashion, and other products that they can shop for.
  • Pinterest Predicts: Pinterest Predicts are personalised Idea Pins that predict trends of your likes based on your activities.
  • Product Pins: Product pins present products that are available to buy from the merchant list in the pins.
  • Shopping lists: You can create and manage shopping lists.


Main teaching features

  • Collecting ideas: Pinterest offers a wide range of sources and searches for visuals that support the development of ideas. Ideas may benefit for instance project-based learning, design and creation, and critical thinking.
  • Virtual sharing: Ideas, examples, and visuals of activities can be shared with students.
  • Presenting student works: Class boards enable students to become collaborators that can share and present for example project work. They may also create a board that may be used as professional portfolios to showcase various skills.
  • Feedback: Showcasing students’ work also enables students to learn how to provide constructive feedback. Secret boards are suitable for this purpose as the comments are only visible to invited users.
  • Managing resources and studies: Using multiple boards organising topic-specific content and sources is possible because Pinterest automatically links back to where the sources came from.
  • Developing inspirational boards: Students can create their unique boars where they can pin images or quotes as a starter activity or first introduction. This also encourages students to get to know each other.
  • Peer review: Pinterest provides suitable spaces (secret boards) to teach students how to review and critique each other’s works constructively.
  • Reading lists: Pinterest allows the curation of reading lists that can be suggested to students.
  • Group projects: Collaborative boards enable multiple students to join and develop ideas and sources in the same place. This may benefits brainstorming and mind mapping activities and provide space to keep track and store information, visuals, and articles within the teams.


Main concerns

  • Idea overload: Pinterest’s wide array of ideas and Pin may easily lead to an overload of information and data. You may want to consider planning your search specifically and structure the quality and specification of what you are looking for and make use of filtering boards for instance.
  • Distraction: Idea and information overload may lead to distraction of staff and students, and it is necessary to work with clearly set goals and objectives as well as a timeline.
  • Striving for perfection: Pinterest ideas are frequently exemplary and showcased to be perfect and interesting. This may lead to stress and doubts, and it may create a wrong sense of reality. It is important to stay realistic in the presence of your teaching and merely use the ideas to suit what fits best for your teaching and activities based on the students’ needs. Letting yourself be pressured by the ideas and information showcased may negatively impact your mental health.

Read more about how to stay safe online go to:

Online Safety and Planning Checklist

Online safety and wellbeing: Self-Help


Questions before you start

  • Do you plan to create secret boards to protect the student’s identity online?
  • Do you have the skills to confidently navigate Idea pins and create class boards?
  • Do you curate your personal or professional Pinterest account?
  • Do you plan to assess students work and content presentations on Pinterest?
  • Do you have access to quality visual materials?


Case study

Jane Love (2015), in Reflective case study. My ‘Pinteresting’ project: Using Pinterest to increase student engagement, promote inclusivity and develop employability skills Rationale for using social bookmarking sites. Dialogue. 5. 50-58., used Pinterest to increase student engagement, promote inclusivity, and develop students’ employability skills. She created and used various specific tailored boards to teach concepts, referencing, or presenting as well as she linked the boards to various sources. She also created boards to raise awareness about gender issues that enabled students to engage and explore more sensitive issues at their convenience. Further, she also created boards focusing on employability and general career advice that was linked to good practice CVs.

Another example is provided by Nick Pearce and Sarah Learmont (2013) in Learning beyond the classroom: evaluating the use of Pinterest in learning and teaching in an introductory anthropology class. Journal of Interactive Media in Education. 2013. 12. 10.5334/2013-12.. They used Pinterest for an introductory anthropology course. The tool was used to curate resources and to support students’ learning. While the resources were used for the classroom, they also reached informal relationships like family and friends. 10 pinboards reflecting 10 weeks of the anthropology course were created. The focus was on reading extension and exam revisions. The pinboards covered weekly topics. The chosen pictures were in the context of the topics and the information was chosen to be relevant and interesting for the students. The sources used derived from academic blogs, Google scholar, museum archives, academic publications, news, and social media sites. Experienced limitations were that not all sources could be pinned such as PDFs and it appeared to be difficult to determine if the sources were matching the difficulty level of the course.


Useful links