#edtechbookstudy Post 4: All Aboard the Twitter Train-- Hashtags and Chats

“When minds meet, they don’t just exchange facts: they transform, reshape them, draw different implications from them, engage in new trains of thought.”

~ Theodore Zeldin

So you've got a Twitter account, a kick a** profile, and you've got some of the top educators on Twitter in your network! Fantastic!

But...now what? How can you dig even deeper to expand your P2LN and become a connected educator?!? Time to jump aboard the Twitter train and start rolling down your specific tracks to customize and then grow that "best fit" network.

Hashtags and Chats are both Twitter skills will allow you step aboard that moving Twitter train and choose your track... customizing your network even further and helping you engage more effectively with other like minded educators.

Insert sound here:

Chuga Chuga, Chooh! Chooh! All aboard the Twitter Train...

Stop 1 Hashtags

Hashtags are all over social media these days. You may have seen them on Facebook on our your favorite talk or reality show (#AmericanIdol).

Keywords that start with a pound (#) sign are called hashtags. Clicking on the hashtag will lead you to a thread of 100 most recent Twitter users that have used that hashtag in their tweet.

Where do I start?

Start with browsing the the following list of top hashtags used by teachers. Not sure how to search for a hashtag? Just find the Twitter search bar (upper right) and type in the # phrase you want to read more about. Check out our Hashtag Baics resource section below for visuals on this process.

Top 10 Teacher Hashtags

#edchat

#classroommanagement

#elemchat (Elementary Grade Educators) #midleved (Middle Grades Education) #highered (Higher Education)

#edtech

#whatisschool

#K12

#learning

#education

Stop 2 Twitter Chats

Twitter chats are the heart of becoming connected via Twitter. If there is a topic in education that you're interested in (special education,grade level specific, edtech, leadership and innovation) there is likely a group of professionals meeting on Twitter each week, and sometimes twice a week, to discuss issues and share ideas within the topic!

Where do I start?

Start with browsing the list we've compiled of the most popular weekly Ed Twitter chats (list is in resource section below). Choose a topic that you're interested in. Remember that getting connected on Twitter is all about customizing your P2LN so be selective! Your participation in a chat will be instrumental in growing your network...this is an opportunity to connect with a group of individuals with similar passions, interests , and goals as educators!

Once you identify a chat that you are interested in attending, hop on Twitter at that time and search under that hashtag. Confused? Watch the video created by edTech guru Vicki Davis, "How to Join a Twitter Chat" located in the Challenge Resources section below.

Once you are in the chat hashtag stream, start reading and then (when inspired) comment using the specific chat # at the end of each of your tweets.

Your Challenge

So, now you know what defines a great tweet, and you have discovered some cool, inspiring people to follow. But now you are craving more... You want to be a real part of the conversation and dig deeper for tweets that are tracked specifically to your interests and passions. Today's challenge will help you find both the conversations and your track.

Guiding Question:

How do you customize and grow P2LN on Twitter with by strategically using hashtags and routinely joining weekly ed chats?

Challenge Steps:

Step 1:

Explore a hashtag of interest on Twitter. See where that track can take you!

Step 2:

Participate on a Twitter Ed Chat. Help to move your Twitter train down its track...

Need help with the steps? Check out the resources below.

Resources Hashtag Basics

Where do I find a hashtag in a normal tweet?

You generally find a hashtag at the end of the text of a tweet. Look for the pound (#) sign.

Check out the Anatomy of a Tweet Infographic below. Can you find the Hashtag? Hint: Look to the far right :)

How do I actually use a hashtag myself?

You can use a hashtag to categorize your personal tweets or to find others tweets in that same category.

​​Here's an example:

I searched under the #AmericanIdol (my guilty reality show pleasure). The search buttom is at the top right of your Twitter home screen.

Notice all of the search results below have that same hashtags. This was just the first 3 of many, many, many posts.

Inspired by all the excitement. I decided to post my own comment about the positive vibe of the recent audition shows. You can see that as I started to type #American...., Twitter gave me autofill options because that hashtag has been trending and is very popular right now with many Twitter users.

I pushed the return button, and then my comment became part of the #AmericanIdol Twitter track.

Resources Chat Basics

What is a Twitter chat?

One of the most powerful ways to connect with other educators on Twitter is by participating in a Twitter Chat. Twitter chats are weekly, online discussions focused on a specified topic. Whatever your professional interest... there’s likely a Twitter Chat on it somewhere out there! From grade level topics, leadership, to educational reform there’s a group of connected educators sharing resources and ideas via Twitter Chats!

How do I actually join a Twitter chat?

For more on how to participate in a Twitter Chat, Vicki Davis (@coolcatteacher) has created this super helpful tutorial to get you started.

How do I know when Twitter chats are happening?

The following list compiles just a few of the many Education Twitter Chats. If you don’t see the topic you’re looking for here... just do a quick google search and you’ll likely find it!


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