In last month’s post, What is a #ConnectedEducator, we looked at a few ways we can become more connected virtually and share online. Being a connected educator is one of the best ways to build your personal learning network, connect with other professionals, and seek advice. But, how can you get started as a Connected Educator when you don’t know where to begin?
That’s where following a hashtag comes in. A hashtag word or phrase preceded by a pound sign. The purpose of using a hashtag is to create a conversation or topic bank that is easy to follow, search, and share. Hashtags are used across social media and photo-sharing apps. To find a conversation or similar posts with a particular hashtag, simply search it on the web or the site/app you are using.
Why begin with a hashtag? Simply put, you need to get in on the conversation.
Which hashtags should I follow? My top three to follow and use are:
#tlchat is a hashtag that was created to represent Teacher Librarian Chat. Twitter chats are a great way to begin to become a Connected Educator; don’t worry about reading all of the chat or responding to every single post. Just answer what you can and follow along. #tlchat takes place on the second Monday of each month at 8:00 pm CST. Their chat was a finalist in the 2013 Edublogs Award for Best Twitter Hashtag. To join the chat, simply search Twitter for the hashtag (or use an app like TweetDeck to organize the chat into a single column). The #tlchat hashtag isn’t only used for the chat. You can find questions, ideas, activities, and resources that have been posted using the hashtag.
The Future Ready Libraries hashtag #futurereadylibs can be found across social media, including Twitter and Instagram. Information about Future Ready Libraries can be found on the Future Ready website. The greatest aspect of #futurereadylibs hashtag is that it not only is a conversation to follow, but it is also a Twitter chat! Win-win! Progressive school librarians across the nation are sharing ideas, lessons, activities, and pictures using the #futurereadylibs hashtag.
State or Regional tags
Following and using a state or a regional hashtag is a great way to become a Connected Educator. These hashtags will connect you with school librarians in your geographic area. However, not all participants will be within an arm’s reach. State and regional hashtags often garner followers from across the nation.
#mwlibchat — Midwest Librarian Chat — partnered with #txlchat –Texas Librarian Chat — for a couple of their monthly chats. This brought school librarians from Midwestern states together with those from Texas, among others. #calibchat — California Librarian Chat — is held the fourth Thursday of the month and is moderated by Jane Lofton and Katie McNamara. Our local #ArkTLChat –– Arkansas Teacher-Librarian Chat — is the second Thursday of the month at 8:00 pm CST. #ArkTLChat is moderated by myself and Jen Lyon.
Educational hashtags will often be archived on sites such as Participate or Storify. Archiving the chats allows users to look back through the chat’s transcript. This is a great way to locate a particular post you found useful but didn’t bookmark or save. Check out your favorite company, author, illustrator, and conference. There are often great posts using customized hashtags from these.
Author: Ashley Cooksey
Library Media Specialist in Arkansas. Self-proclaimed geek. Lover of nature and music. Always learning.