Have you guys met Kyle Hamstra yet?
He’s truly one of the most genuine educators that I know. Passionate about teaching and learning and driving improvement no matter the circumstance, I love connecting with him every chance that I get.
For the past several years, Kyle has been nudging teachers to use hashtags on Twitter to document their practice.
His thinking is simple: If teachers start to grab videos and pictures of the work that they are doing with specific curricular objectives — or of examples of their curricular objectives spotted in “the real world” — we can all start learning from one another. More importantly, we create complex “digital portfolios” that we can return to when we are looking for evidence of our “practice in action” AND we can become more aware of exactly what it is that we are supposed to be teaching to our students.
Recently, Kyle has started what he calls the #Hashtag180 challenge.
Here’s how he describes it:
HOW: Tweet one experience on each of the 180 school days of the year, and hashtag it with your learning objective and #hashtag180.
WHO: ALL Educators
WHAT: The #Hashtag180 Challenge was originally designed for educators to access and share learning resources very specifically by tweeting life and classroom experiences, hashtagged with learning objectives and #Hashtag180. Where does it go from here? The possibilities are endless…
I totally dig Kyle’s idea — and I’ve started posting regular Tweets designed to spotlight the work that I’m doing with specific curricular objectives.
Here are a few examples:
— Bill Ferriter (@plugusin) April 27, 2017
— Bill Ferriter (@plugusin) April 26, 2017
— Bill Ferriter (@plugusin) April 25, 2017
Now, if I’m being completely honest, I’m NOT posting these examples because I’m super interested in helping other teachers to find ideas for introducing the required curriculum to their kids.
Sure — that IS a likely outcome. Other North Carolina teachers COULD follow my hashtags and spot ideas for teaching concepts that they hadn’t considered — and if other teachers in our state begin using the same tagging language, I COULD learn from the ideas that they are sharing, too.
But my primary reason for participating in Kyle’s challenge is selfish.
I want to force myself to think more deliberately about the questions that I am asking and the activities that I am creating. I want to make sure that each task is actually connected to the specific objectives that I am required to teach. I figure that by forcing myself to post each day, I’ll also force myself to look carefully at my curriculum each day, too. That has value in and of itself. I’ll become more knowledgeable about just what it is that the state expects my students to know and be able to do.
And I want to create an easily searchable library of the somewhat spontaneous ideas and questions that often come up during the course of an instructional unit that I can refer to in later years when I’m looking for a new way to introduce concepts to my kids. If I’m persistent about my tagging language, I SHOULD be able to do some simple searching in Twitter next year to track down strategies that have slipped my mind.
Does any of this make sense to you? Is taking the #hashtag180 challenge something you’d ever consider?
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