Twitter Hashtages for teachers


Twitter is everywhere. This post is not intended to convince you to sign up for an account, tell you who — specifically — to follow, or the benefits of Twitter.What I find most useful about Twitter that I would like to share on this blog post are how to find the hashtags that lead to the education-related discussions that are taking place, in real-time, on Twitter. What the heck are hashtags? I’ll get to that in a moment, but first a little background. [Jump to list of hashtags]


Lurk or Chat, Your Choice All Twitter discussions are out in the open, available for anyone to partake in — whether you have a Twitter account or not. You can choose to lurk (watch from the safety of your own computer, without participating), chat briefly and never again, or become an active member of any discussion topic and associated community.


For instance, you might be thinking about writing a contract between yourself (as the teacher) and your students for the use of mobile devices, such as iPods, in your classroom. You may have ground rules, etiquette and learning objectives that you want students to read, internalize and agree to follow before allowing them to use the devices. A quick scan of the discussions on Twitter might reveal a teacher in another school district creating the same contract, which would allow you to compare notes, ideas, inspiration and contracts.


How to Find Education Discussions


How do you find relevant discussions on Twitter? Hashtags. Hashtags are a community-driven convention (i.e., not specified or administered by Twitter, the company) for adding metadata to your tweet/post. For example, if I attend a conference on education organized by the fictitious “Education for Eternity” organization, at the beginning of each conference day they may encourage attendees to tweet their thoughts using the hashtag #Ed4Et2010 (they tack “2010″ onto the end of their short tag since they may do the conference again in 2011). The pound symbol (#) is called the hash, and the one word after it is the tag (spaces are not allowed, but you can use a hyphen or underscore within a tag).

A tweet may look something like, “Attended Dr. Smith’s mobile learning for 4th grade. Kids must sign learning contracts. #Ed4Et2010″. Within these 97 characters, you can see context, an action, and metadata (tag for the conference). If you had a Twitter account, you could then send a message/tweet to this person and ask them if they received a sample contract, or any other question you might have.

Get to the Hashtags, Already

Below are the hashtags that I read regularly, presented in alphabetical order. They help me stay abreast of education-related discussions that are happening in real-time on Twitter. #EdApp: Tweets associated with theory and practice of using apps in education. App is an abbreviation for application, as in software application. The filename extension .app means application in Symbian OS, SkyOS, GNUstep and Mac OS X, although most recently apps have been associated with iOS (software for iPod/iPhone/iPad) and even those on websites.


Quick Stats – In the last 7 days:


132 tweets

76 contributors

18.9 tweets per day

60.6% are retweets

65.9% are mentions

62.1% have multiple hashtags

#EdTech: Tweets associated with the theory and practice of using technology in education.

Quick Stats – In the last 7 days:

2,966 tweets

1,299 contributors

423.7 tweets per day

52.2% are retweets

61.0% are mentions

52.8% have multiple hashtags

#Education: Tweets associated with anything education.

Quick Stats – In the last 7 days:

6,559 tweets

2,975 contributors

937.0 tweets per day

25.3% are retweets

31.5% are mentions

77.5% have multiple hashtags

#ELearning: Tweets associated with any type of learning through electronic (“e”) means, such as computers, kiosks, mobile devices, etc. However, the majority of content is associated with computer-based learning and remote study using computers.

Quick Stats – In the last 7 days:

1,197 tweets

547 contributors

171.0 tweets per day

36.8% are retweets

45.5% are mentions

53.6% have multiple hashtags

#LrnChat: Similar to #Education, this hashtag is a contract for “Learn Chat”. It originated as a focused Twitter chat on Thursday nights 8:30-10pm EST started by @marciamarcia to discuss all aspects of workplace learning.

Quick Stats – In the last 7 days:

1,611 tweets

217 contributors

230.1 tweets per day

36.7% are retweets

51.5% are mentions

11.2% have multiple hashtags

#MLearning: Tweets associated with any type of learning through mobile (“m”) devices, such as mobile phones or smart phones (such as the iPhone or Android-powered phones), tablets (such as the iPad), or other hand-held devices (such as the iPod Touch).

Quick Stats – In the last 7 days:

231 tweets

122 contributors

33.0 tweets per day

58.4% are retweets

71.0% are mentions

49.8% have multiple hashtags

#Teachers: Similar to #Education, but with a focus on the teacher.

Quick Stats – In the last 7 days:

730 tweets

459 contributors

104.3 tweets per day

31.6% are retweets

40.5% are mentions

82.6% have multiple hashtags

Data presented under each of the hashtags was obtained using What the Hashtag?

Note: I want to point out that Twitter hashtags work regardless of capitalization, so following the hashtag #MLEARNING is the same as following #MLearning and #mlearning. There are many more education-related hashtags that are topic specific, such as #science, #bio, #math, #health, #art, etc. Visit http://search.twitter.com and type in any of these hashtags (such as “#science” — sans quotes) to see related posts and discover hashtags that others associate with #science. (If you search without the hash (#), the results will include any tweets with the specified words.)

Often people will post with multiple hashtags as to broaden the visibility of their tweet. I’ve not found a definitive guide to hashtags online yet, so I often find myself in trial and error mode. If you have favorite education-related hashtags not presented above, please post them in the comments and share them with readers.

 

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If you had a Twitter account, you could then send a message/tweet to this person and ask them if they received a sample contract, or any other question you might have.

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If you have favorite education-related hashtags not presented above, please post them in the comments and share them with readers.

 

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