Monday, June 26, 2017

Musings of a Tech Coach: Hashtags are like "Bat Signals"

I honestly cannot remember where I heard this metaphor. If this is your idea, please contact me and I'll gladly give you credit. That being said I freaking love this metaphor. Hashtags are totally like Bat Signals for your classroom, professional learning and student work. 

When Batman sees the Bat Signal, he comes running to the rescue. But let's focus on something other than what Batman does when the Bat Signal flashes in the sky. What about the people of Gotham or the general public on Twitter? How do they react? When your hashtag appears in a search or on someone's post in your feed, how do they react? 

I imagine the people of Gotham, upon seeing the Bat Signal in the sky, having thoughts of adventure running through their minds. They wonder if they'll get to see a glimpse of the Caped Crusader in action. I know I get a similar feeling when I see certain hashtags appear in my Twitter feed. Hashtags that evoke such feelings include #ditchbook, #tlap, #tosachat, and more. Seeing these hashtags pique my interest about the conversation going on and the edu-amazing people sharing their thoughts, ideas, and resources.

Having started a hashtag and Twitter edchat of my own, #cvtechtalk, I have heard similar feedback from regular participants. They look forward to the chat and often share on Twitter using the hashtag even when we are not doing the weekly edchat.  

This feedback and my own feelings towards my favorite hashtags prompted me to attempt this in my classroom with students. I use class and or class period hashtags to promote student work. I want students to see the hashtag(s) and swell with pride. I want them to wonder what the conversation is and engage in it. Imagine the swell of pride if their hashtags develop a following. 

Part of adolescent development is their sense of "being on stage". Giving students an authentic audience on social media whether it be Twitter, Instagram, etc. can leverage this stage of their growth and development. Adolescents "being on stage", to me, means they always think someone is watching. This leads them to really try to show the best version of themselves. Posting work, thoughts and ideas on social media is like being on stage. It is my belief that students will try harder if they know people around the world are watching. That is one of the benefits of an authentic audience. 

Do you have a hashtag for your class? Is it like a Bat Signal? Does or will it evoke feelings of adventure, empowerment and pride for you and your students? 

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