Showing posts with label Hashtags. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Hashtags. Show all posts

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Providing Every Student in Your Class With a Voice

I was the quiet student who always sought out the back row. I never willingly participated in class discussions, not because I didn't have anything to contribute, but because I preferred to communicate my thoughts in writing. Many of our students sit in class quietly as their peers dominate the discussions, wishing they could add to the conversation. Some might lack the confidence to speak in front of their peers while others prefer to formulate their thoughts in writing.

There are plenty of digital tools that allow all students to have their voices heard. Sometimes we refer to these tools as backchannels because they allow conversations to happen at the same time as the main conversation or event that is taking place. This is a common practice at events like conferences where attendees use platforms such as Twitter to have discussions about what they are learning while they are learning it. The attendees usually include a specific hashtag in their tweets to make their tweets visible to others who are following the backchannel. Using Twitter as a backchannel can work with students, but there are numerous tools that are specifically designed for this purpose.

Two of my favorite tools for backchanneling are TodaysMeet and Backchannel Chat. You can use either service without creating an account which means you can start a chat and be up and going in less time than it took me to type this sentence. Both platforms are free, but Backchannel Chat does have a premium version that cost $15 per year. The added features make it worth more than with the small cost.

Applications for Education
Backchannels are an alternative to answering questions during a video. They are a great way to get students to think about the content and make connections to their lives. Backchannel "chat rooms" can be left open for long periods. Teachers can use them to create a virtual community for their classes where students can go to get (and give) help. No matter which of the numerous platforms are used, all backchannels serve the very important role of providing all students with the opportunity to participate and have their voice heard.

Friday, October 27, 2017

Connect with Real Scientists

Yesterday we took a look at the history of hashtags and how teachers can use them to find information about different topics. Today, I would like to introduce you to the hashtag #ActualLivingScientists and the role it played in my World Geography classroom last year.

One of the projects required students to make contact with a specialist on their chosen topic. Many of the topics they selected were closely related to science in some way. Just by chance I happened to come across the hashtag #ActualLivingScientist that started gaining popularity just a month or so earlier. Scientists from all over the world began using this hashtag to in their tweets to showcase pictures of them working in the field and to help people understand what scientists do during the day. I began following the #actuallivingscientist hashtag and when I came across an expert that fit any of the topics my students had selected, I added them to a Twitter list which was linked on my classroom website to make it easy for my students to access. It was still up to my students to make the connection with a scientist, but the list made it pretty easy! For my students who did not use Twitter, they were able to use the information from the Twitter bio section to connect with them.

Applications for Education
The exchanges my students had with the scientists were great! If it had not been for this hashtag, my students would have wasted lots of valuable time tracking down experts who may or may not have been happy to hear from them. No matter what topic we are researching, hashtags save us time and provide a way for us to connect with experts around the globe in a matter of seconds.

Thursday, October 26, 2017

History of Hashtags and How Teachers Can Use Them

Hashtags are everywhere. They are used in advertising and marketing and appear on all social media platforms. Hashtags even appear in school newsletters and church bulletins. But do they actually serve a purpose?

Hashtags were first used on Twitter over a decade ago as a way to help people who weren't so tech savvy search the site for information. Hashtags are used as a way to organize and promote content and ideas. There are no rules about creating hashtags, but they can only contain upper and lower case letters, numbers, and underscores.

You can search for content on Twitter without signing in or creating an account. Some popular hashtags include #edchat, #ntchat, and #stem. Jerry Blumengarten, Cybraryman on Twitter, has curated a huge collection of hashtags that are used by educators. You can search any of these on Twitter to locate content that is associated with it. This is a great way for teachers who are new to Twitter to find new and interesting people to follow.

Educators also use specific hashtags as a way to meet up with other educators to discuss a variety of topics that impact education. For example, #nebedchat takes place each Wednesday evening at 8pm CST. This is the chat that is led by educators in Nebraska and has become quite popular. Check out this huge list of chats that happen on Twitter. Chances are you will find numerous chats that will be of interest to you.

Don't let hashtags intimidate you. Including them in your tweets will help you connect with people who are looking for information that you are sharing.

Searching using hashtags on Twitter

Friday, March 20, 2015

How to Follow a #Hashtag Across Multiple Social Networks

A few weeks ago I wrote a post about using Tagboard to follow a hashtag across multiple social networks. As I wrote back then, the beauty of Tagboard is that I can follow a hashtag and see all of the Tweets, Instgram, Facebook, and Google+ posts about it in one place. This enables me to quickly catch up with what people are sharing about an event or saying in a chat like #edchat. In the video embedded below I provide an overview of how to use Tagboard.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Tagboard - Follow Hashtags from Multiple Networks in One Place

Tagboard is one of the tools that we looked at today in my NCTIES15 workshop about blogs and social media. Tagboard is a free tool that allows you to enter any hashtag like #NCTIES15 and view all of the Tweets, Instagram pictures, Facebook posts, Google+ posts, and Vine posts associated with that hashtag. All of the posts are displayed in a bulletin board/ grid display. You can reTweet and or reply to messages while viewing Tagboard, provided that you are signed into your Twitter account.

Applications for Education
One of the things that I always mention in my talk about online personal learning networks is that you don't have to always be connected in order to benefit from having an online PLN. You can check in for fifteen to thirty minutes per day during the commercial breaks of your favorite television show and glean a lot of useful information in that time. A tool like Tagboard could enable to you catch up even faster because you will see more messages in the same amount of screen space. You can also participate in multiple social networks from the same screen while using Tagboard.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Pause Twitter Chats With TChat

One of the complaints about Twitter chats like #edchat that I have often heard and sometimes lodged myself is that the chat moves too quickly. Last night I learned from Todd Bloch that there is a tool that allows you to pause a chat. allows you to enter any hashtag that you want to follow. Through you can follow all of the Tweets associated with a hashtag in real-time or you can hit the pause button if things are going too quickly for you. You can also tell to ignore reTweets for a given hashtag.
Click image to view in full size.

Applications for Education could be a great tool to use if you're new to Twitter chats and you're feeling a bit overwhelmed by the pace of the conversation. It could also be a good tool for folks like me who need a little more time to think about what is being said in the chat before diving into the conversation.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

How to Search Twitter for Educational Content

"Perform a Twitter search" is one of the suggestions that I often make to teachers who ask me how they can find more resources for the subjects that they teach. A Twitter search can often reveal resources and ideas that you might not find through your typical Google searches. You don't have to have a Twitter account in order to search on Twitter. In the video below I provide a short demonstration of how to search for educational content on Twitter.

Sites mentioned in the video above:
Twitter Search
Cybrary Man's Education Hashtags