Kerstin's 4 steps to learning a language with Pinterest

If you have never heard of Pinterest before, get excited because this super-visual social network is actually a cool education tool. In today's blog post, we'll have a look at how the service works and what you can use it for when it comes to language learning. And of course I'll show you a few of my favourite boards!


What is Pinterest?

I usually describe Pinterest as an online corkboard, a place where you can store things you come across on the internet, get them organised and come back later. The unique thing about it is that it's all visual, so every link that you put on there (it's called "pinning") will be shown image first.

Pinterest is a powerful social network too, allowing you to "repin" anything anyone has put in there before, to like pins and to send them to others.  There are even social pinboards, where you can invite many others to contribute.

Why should I bother with Pinterest for language learning?

There are a few reasons why I think this service is one of the coolest tools for language learners:

  • The social boards are fantastic for using the pinning powers of people who have the same interests as you. 
  • The visual basis means that you can scroll easily and select from a large set of resources quite quickly.
  • The focus is often on language in use, rather than just courses and exercises, and it really gets you motivated to see beautiful quotes and infographics.
  • It lets you get more creative and find more source material than most other language learning websites. 

How I use Pinterest

Just a few examples of creative Pinterest use for you here, so you can get involved straight away.

Verbotene Liebe is a German soap opera posting character profiles for their fans on Pinterest. I've been using these regularly for practicing introductions with my early German learners. This way we can combine a good story with early language learning. Take this lady: She's married, but divorced? The two men have the same last name?! You what?!? Those Germans!

Next up, I've also had treasure hunts around the web. Students received a list of items to find and pin to a shared board.

And finally, there is nothing like a cool image or infographic to get everyone interested and give you something to come back for (I recommend the blog for great ones in German, by the way).  Who knew Germany was so pretty?

And here's what you do

Fancy getting into Pinterest now? I recommend that you start with the following steps: 

  1. Search for your target language, combine it with a few other keywords.

    Good searches for French would be français, apprendre français, french learning, french, langue française and any specific topic you want to look up (passé composé for example).

  2. Follow me on there - my boards are guaranteed to have some inspiration for you and you can get busy with repins to your own boards straight away

  3. Follow relevant pinners in the target language - for example dictionary publishers, native speakers and other teachers

  4. Install the Pinterest browser extension for your own browser and try it by pressing "Pin It" next time you find a resource you like