If there was ONE thing that I’d want every practicing educator to know about learning in social spaces it would be that no matter what field you are working in, there are TONS of folks who are sharing resources that you can use in your work immediately.
The trick is tracking down those resources quickly and easily. Just because people are SHARING resources doesn’t automatically mean that you are going to FIND those resources. Thankfully, practitioners using social spaces for learning are also adding hashtags –short identifiers that start with the # symbol — to the end of their messages.
See if you can find the hashtags in this Tweet:
— Chris Sousa (@csousanh) April 15, 2014
Hashtags are designed to make it easier to sift and sort your way through the sea of information being shared online. Once you know the hashtags being used by educators interested in the same professional topics as you are, finding helpful resources is as easy as plugging the hashtag into Twitter’s search tool and skimming the results that are returned.
What makes the content shared with hashtags in social spaces unique compared to content returned by traditional search engines is that you know in advance that another practitioner thought the resource was worth sharing. While that’s no guarantee that the content is going to resonate with you, it does mean that the content has been filtered for quality by someone who shares your interests — which means the content has a greater likelihood of being useful.
The best place to identify hashtags being used by other practitioners is to check out this list being maintained by Jerry Blumengarten. Jerry has done a terrific job tracking the hashtags being used by educators in tons of different grade levels, subjects and interest areas.
Some of the most active hashtags include:
#elemchat – Resources for elementary school teachers and principals.
#edtech – Resources for practitioners interested in integrating technology into classrooms.
#cpchat – Resources for school principals and educational leaders.
#ccss – Resources related to the Common Core State Standards.
#edchat – Resources about all things education.
Teachers are also using hashtags to share content that is connected to specific content areas:
#scichat – Resources for teachers interested in science education.
#mathchat – Resources for teachers interested in math education.
#sschat – Resources for teachers interested in social studies education.
Teachers in singleton subjects are also using hashtags to connect with each other:
#langchat – Resources for teachers of foreign languages.
#chemchat – Resources for Chemistry teachers.
#tlchat – Resources for teacher librarians.
Teachers with unique interests and needs have developed hashtags to make sharing content with one another easier:
#comments4kids – Teachers who are trying to generate connections and comments for students who are blogging in their classes.
#ipaded – Teachers who are working to integrate iPads into their classroom instruction.
#flipclass – Teachers who are working to flip their classrooms.
#geniushour – Teachers who are making Genius Hours a part of their practice.
There are even hashtags connected to educational trends in individual states and provinces:
#txed – Conversations about educational reform in Texas.
#iaedchat – Conversations about educational reform in Iowa.
#NYedchat – Conversations about educational reform in New York.
#bced – Conversations about educational reform in British Columbia.
The message is a simple one: If you are looking to save time, spend some time finding the hashtags connected to your personal and/or professional interests. Doing so will give you constant access to a collection of filtered resources connected to the work you are doing on a regular basis.
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