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The 2011 ASHA Convention was buzzing about Pinterest

The 2011 American Speech-Language-Hearing Convention was full of great ideas and products that speech-language pathologists, teachers and parents can use.  Many convention goers posted these new finds on Pinterest, a new social media platform that allows you to share your favorite things with friends.  I interviewed Heidi Kay, a partner in PediaStaff, to learn more about this interactive sharing tool.

What is Pinterest?

PediaStaff's Pinterest Page

Pinterest is a (free) visual pinboard and bookmarking site of the social networking variety.  I think it is best described as a virtual filing cabinet, but one you can see through!  Basically, it allows you to organize and share pages or photos that you find on the web with your friends and followers.   You “pin” these links to your own personal Pinterest site into “pinboards” that you create and organize in a way that’s meaningful to you.  Meanwhile, anyone you follow is sharing their finds with you so you might “re-pin” the great things they find.   The attraction is that it is SO visual.  Like most people, I never look at my bookmarks.  I will find something I want to save, it goes into a folder on my browser and I probably never see it again. This is an extremely intuitive system which is both easy to start and easy to keep using.

How do I get an account with Pinterest?

Pinterest is still a beta site.  To control growth, membership is by “invitation only.”  It is faster to get an invitation from someone who already has a Pinterest board.  Click here for our Pinterest site – you can request an invite from us there!

How did you learn about Pinterest and how can it help SLP’s?

We learned about Pinterest much the way most people are learning about it – through a friend.   Most people are pinning recipes, wedding and travel ideas.  My friend sent me an invite and I was looking through her boards and she had boards for “Books I want to Read” and “Recipes I Want to Try.”  Then I saw “Rainy Day Activities for Junior,” “Summer Practice” and  “Worksheets for Jane.”   That got me thinking about how great it would be to create a Pinterest site where pediatric and school-based  therapists could go to find all the therapy activities and ideas  they could possibly need.   

Why is your company interested in this site?

PediaStaff LogoOur company serves the pediatric and school-based therapy community (i.e., occupational therapists and speech-language pathologists), so that was our target audience.   Shortly after we started compiling the site, we heard that parents, special education teachers and regular classroom teachers were coming to it to find activities for their kiddos with both typical and special needs!   We never expected it, but are thrilled to be sharing ideas with so many different groups of people!

How does it work?

The best way to use our PediaStaff Pinterest site is to get an account and then follow our boards that most interest you.   “Re-pin” those you like onto pinboards on your own page.    You can even “like” your favorite pins for quick access later.  About once or twice a month we have been known to populate new boards with a whole lot of pins on one day to ensure a large variety of resources for new categories.   Some visitors prefer to visit our boards regularly or hand-pick certain boards to follow rather than subscribe to all our boards so they don’t get overwhelmed with notifications of all our new pins!

What do your pins look like and how many pins do you have?

Our pins cover a huge range of topics.  We have boards for specific focus areas for therapy, such as articulation, sensory and tactile, fine motor skills, literacy, etc.   We also have boards with all kinds of    holiday themes.   Pins include links to printable activities, crafts, blog posts of interest, interactive educational websites, videos and more.  We have almost 7,000 pins and almost 6,500 followers.   We follow about 30 different teacher and therapist blogs, who are also very active on Twitter.  In addition, we follow more than 8,000 pinners on Pinterest so we are putting up relevant content from all over the web daily.

Does the site have any glitches?

Well, because Pinterest is still in beta, there are organizational things the site could do better.   Many of our best pins were pinned early are buried deep in the individual boards.  Pinterest doesn’t yet let you prioritize what pins appear at the top of each board.   So my best advice is to grab yourself a latte and take your time looking through it, and Happy Pinning!

Thanks so much to Heidi for her time.  If you are looking for a position as an SLP contact Heidi at:

Heidi Kay, PediaStaff, Inc.
1411 Norris Way, Tarpon Springs, FL 3468
Ph: (866) 733-4278 ext 512
heidi@pediastaff.com

Be sure to follow PediaStaff on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIN or subscribe to their newsletter.

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