Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Using Hashtags (#)

If you are a tweeter, than you are familiar with hashtags, #.  The first day my students tweeted independently hashtags were introduced.  Hashtags are used in twitter to support conversations around a topic.  If people are talking about technology in education they use #edtech.  This makes it easy to search for resources and ideas around a specific topic.  It also lets your followers know what specifically you are talking about. 

We had just gone on a field trip to the local Historical Society and library.  The children were in awe of everything they saw and did.  After creating our Twittequitte, the children were ready to tweet about their trip.  I like to provide my students with choice, so I told them they could tweet about the Historical Society (#ewhs) or the library (#whpl).  I created a hashtag for each topic so that they would know what their friends were talking about. 

This takes a little planning in advance.  Twitter is used by millions of people.  Because of this, there are numerous hashtags out there in the twittersphere.  Not everyone on Twitter is on it to learn, some are on it to socialize, and not everything posted on Twitter is appropriate for the eyes of an eight - year - old.  Before introducing the children to Twitter and the idea of hashtags I searched for possible hashtags to use.  If there was already one out there, I read the tweets to ensure they were elementary friendly.  If not, I slightly tweaked them so they were.  The picture below shows how I searched for hashtags.
The children enjoyed using the hashtags the first time and felt like official twitter users.