Have you discovered Pinterest yet? It’s become one of the hottest social media websites – a fun and very user-friendly “virtual pinboard” for collecting, organizing and sharing images. You “pin” images to your “board” to create digital “scrapbooks” organized by themes. Many people find Pinterest addictive. Its simple, appealing visuals seem to draw you in, and they end up browsing on and on for hours.

Images you add from the web using the Pin It button include links back to the site you got them from, so you can find out more. You can also upload images from your computer. If you like a board you can “follow” it, which means whatever is pinned to it is shown to you in real-time on Pinterest. You can also embed “Follow Me on Pinterest” and “Pin It” buttons on your blog or website to make it easy for your social network to connect with you on Pinterest.

Millions of people are now using Pinterest to plan their weddings or home remodels, market products or just share ideas and inspirations. And Pinterest is also a great technology for education!

How are teachers and tutors using Pinterest? Here are four ways that are sure to pay off:

One: To save, organize and share teaching ideas

The Internet offers an endless universe of content that teachers and tutors can leverage: everything from lesson ideas to multimedia education tools to charts and graphs. But how do you organize these inspirations so you can find and use them later?

Pinning images to a Pinterest board is much more intuitive than bookmarking links in a web browser. It’s also much, much easier to share. And it’s great for visual learners! Start by organizing your pins across different boards, like: math, language arts, classroom décor, etc.

Here’s one teacher who’s really in the Pinterest groove: http://pinterest.com/luv2teach/

Two: To connect with other teachers and see what they’ve found

Pinterest is full of teachers pinning and sharing! You’ll find lots of ideas for keeping your classroom organized, teaching various subjects, dealing with student behavior challenges, locating terrific images for your lessons, trading lesson plans, finding new ideas for science experiments, hearing about new tech resources and much more. There’s a wealth of teaching content on Pinterest and more is constantly being added.

Finding other teachers to follow is easy. Pinterest has a search bar where you can find boards on any topic of interest. Here’s what I got just now when I typed in “tutoring”: http://pinterest.com/search/?q=tutoring

You can also find other teachers to follow by “advertising” your Pinterest URL on Twitter or on a Facebook page that’s of interest to fellow teachers and tutors. As people begin to follow you, you can check out their boards and possibly follow them in turn.

Three: To get your students involved in their lessons

Students love Pinterest as much as teachers. Why not ask students to create their own Pinterest projects and share ideas? Pinning related items could be part of a lesson. Likewise, Pinterest boards could be great places for kids to collaborate on visual group projects. And what a great way to create photo journals, or even travelogues.

Four: To promote your tutoring business

Pinterest is a fun, free and compelling venue to showcase your tutoring business and/or blog, and to share your ideas and expertise. Many pins related to tutoring on Pinterest right now are just links back to websites, but they’re still useful advertising.

If you’re curious about Pinterest, why not sign up for an invitation? (The site remains technically “invitation only” but you’ll receive your invite quickly upon request.) For some good ideas on how to get started, check out these blogs:

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