Sometimes the only way to make progress is to leave something behind.
With the growth of social media in recent years, the Internet provides numerous opportunities for educators to share ideas and start conversations that spur innovations in the classroom. Twitter has become especially useful.
But with so many users online — it’s been reported that there are more than 170 million registered tweeters, with interests ranging from BYOD to Justin Bieber — wading into the online ether in search of substantive conversations can sometimes prove to be more trouble than it’s worth.
The best way to find people who share your interests is to search Twitter’s massive network for specific hashtags (#edtech, for example). You can search for hashtags using Twitter’s search box or strategically insert the digital markers into your tweets to automatically join a specific conversation thread.
Sounds simple enough — and it is. But you first need to know what hashtags your colleagues are using. To help educators navigate the Twittersphere, the editors at Edudemic recently published The A-Z Dictionary of Educational Twitter Hashtags. The massive list is broken out by topic. Here, I’ve assembled 10 hashtags from the original list, which I’ve used to join or launch meaningful conversations about educational technology, and a few others discovered along the way.
#BYOD – With all the recent talk about the power and challenges of the “bring your own device” movement in schools, educators interested in BYOD will find a forum to share ideas and best practices.
#cybersafety – Security is always an issue, especially as an onslaught of personal mobile devices across school networks forces administrators to cast their safety nets wider than they’d probably like. This hashtag is a great place to connect with stakeholders interested in keeping students safe online.
#edapp – The rise of mobile devices in classrooms has created a massive and growing market for educational applications, or apps, that work on everything from netbooks to tablets to smartphones. Learn what other educators are up to by joining this thread.
#edchat – One of the most widely used education-related hashtags on Twitter, #edchat is a great way to expand your audience and see what people in the industry are talking about.
#edtech – Where technology in schools is concerned, this hashtag is a catchall and an essential part of any educational-technology advocate’s Twitter repertoire.
#edreform – People interested in the transformative power of technology will likely find some positive reinforcement here. The conversation tends to get political, so don’t be surprised to hear educators commenting on federal and state education policies.
#elearning – Educators and technologists interested in online and hybrid courses can connect with advocates of distance learning and other electronic-based education methods.
#gbl – Short for game-based learning, #gbl is a great way to search for people interested in the gamification of education and how video games can be used as tools in the classroom and at home.
#mlearning – An abbreviation for mobile learning, the #mlearning hashtag features tweets about BYOD, smartphone use, and other handheld learning exploits.
#STEM – Great for technology-related, curriculum-focused conversation, #STEM is another catchall, this time for issues related to science, technology, engineering and mathematics education.
For a comprehensive list of more than 300 education-related hashtags used on Twitter, go here.