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Hashtags for Educators: How to Find and Leverage Content in Social Media

The internet is a big, information-laden place, and it can be quite daunting for educators to find what they’re looking for. While planning lessons, looking for advice, or searching for tools, use hashtags to identify information that’s relevant to your educational needs in social media.

Hashtags

Hashtags are used throughout social media networks, to organize and identify information, like #edchat or #edtech. They work as an identification mechanism, like a filing system, for tweets and other content in social media. Not only Twitter, but Facebook, Instagram, and even Pinterest all utilize hashtags. Each platform offers different kinds of content and can be used uniquely. You can start writing a hashtag by using the pound sign #, then begin typing your desired tag. A list of known hashtags will usually pop up like an auto-complete feature in most social media networks.

Social Media Network Differences for Educators

There are educators across the world who have organized topics on social media, and especially Twitter, by tagging them with hashtags. Most of the hashtags that are education related will link to an article in an online publication, a lesson plan from a publisher, a YouTube video, or some other content type, including individual tweets on Twitter. On Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest you will find posts through a specific hashtag, which you can then leave a comment on to discuss the content with the author or poster. For example, when I searched with the hashtag #elemmath on Facebook, I found a post from a group page called Mrs. Berry's 3rd Grade Classroom, that featured photos from a classroom project that could be useful for others to try. On Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest, you can search for posts and photos with specific hashtags, but not comments on those posts or photos. If you are looking for a place to have an education-related conversation, Twitter is the platform of choice, because each tweet (with a 140 character maximum) can be given a hashtag, and searched at any time. Also, the nature of a live discussion on Twitter fosters engagement and encouragement.

Twitter Chats

You might be interested in finding live chats that take place on Twitter that are education related, on dozens of topics, all of which are scheduled in advance so you can plan ahead. Given the interactive nature of Twitter, the chat moderators are very enthusiastic about everyone’s involvement, which usually makes for a quality discussion. If you don’t make it online while a scheduled conversation is happening, you can easily search the tweets that were posted to review afterwards, using the same hashtag. To find a chat, select a hashtag that is relevant to your interests. When you type it into the search bar on Twitter, you’ll get a ton of search results. Select the PEOPLE tab at the top, to see if there is an account that schedules a chat - usually called a moderator. I have listed some accounts that from what I can tell, schedule and moderate the various twitter chats that are education related:

Scheduled and Moderated Twitter Chats

Topic - Hashtag - Moderator

21st Century Skills - #21stedchat  - @Edu_Thompson

College Chat - #CollegeChat - @prepforcollege

Dual Language Chat - #duallangchat - @DualLangChat

Ed Tech Bridge - #edtechbridge - @EdTechBridge

Educational Technology - #edtechchat - @s_bearden

Elementary Education - #elemchat - @thompseg

Elementary Math - #elemmathchat - @MNmMath

English Language Teachers - #eltchat - @ELTchat

General Education Topics - #edchat - @web20classroom

Gifted/Talented Chat - #gtchat - @gtchatmod

Learning Chat - #lrnchat - @lrnchat

Music Education - #musedchat - @jguarr

New Teacher Support - #ntchat - @teachwithsoul

Social Studies - #sschat - @dankrutka

Special Education - #spedchat - @singoffpitch

I recommend you follow these accounts, get in touch, make a new friend! These people will also help you find more specific information you may be looking for. They’ve taken the time to really invest in the utility of Twitter chats, and offer a wealth of knowledge. There are endless hashtags that educators can use to organize and identify information they’re sharing with the world, and you can search any of them at any time. I have provided a brief list below, that I could not find specific chat organizers for, yet you can simply search for relevant content.

Educational Topic Hashtags

Arts Education - #artsed

Blended Learning - #blendedlearning

Common Core Chat - #ccchat

E-Learning - #elearning

Early Education - #earlyed

Educational Applications - #EdApps

Education Reform - #edreform

English Chat - #engchat

English Language Learners - #ELLChat

Flipped Learning - #flipclass

Games-Based Learning - #gbl

History Education Chat - #histedchat

Inquiry-Based Learning - #inquiryed

Math Chat - #mathchat

Mobile Learning - #mlearning

Project-Based Learning Chat - #pblchat

Science Education - #scienceed

Science Education Chat - #sciedchat

Special Needs - #specialneeds

Teacher Librarians - #tlchat

You can search with any of the hashtags listed in this article, on any social network to find content and relevant topics. For any topic you have an interest in, try searching with a hashtag first, because there will more than likely be posts about your topic somewhere online. Effective social media users will carefully assign a hashtag to a piece of content in order for it to be found. Simple searches like #highschool, or #middleschool can offer interesting results. There are endless possibilities for what educators can learn from social media, with the help of hashtags. The sheer quantity of options, experience, and examples that exist is why hashtags are so important, and why there are so many of them to now choose from.

 

Written by Melissa Pelletier, Education Technology Contributor