Nov 10 2011
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When you use twitter in the classroom or for an event /conference, you will have to create a hashtag for it. I do not necessarily follow my students by opt rather to unite our classroom activities around a hashtag. This way I only see their interaction around our classroom activities. Following your students can be a harrowing experience for you and an inhibiting one for them- so rather create a hashstag. How do you go about doing that?
Easy- You suck it out of your thumb Really. The only criteria is that it must be unique for your topic / event / discussion /class /year. Bearing in mind that you would ONLY like people interested or involved in your topic to become part of your hashtag stream, you must choose something that is not being used yet. For instance #mathsclass will not be a good choice for your Grade 11 mathematics class as other students from all over the world might be using this hashtag to keep track of what is happening in a #mathsclass. Your stream can then become “contaminated” with discussions that are not specifically intended for your class/event (see example below)
The first step in creating a hashtag is to check if it is being used already. Just insert it in the search window at the top of your twitter page and see if you get any results. If not- you can use it for your class or event. For instance- a hashtag for a biology teacher at Heronbridge school for 2011 can look like this:
Try to keep the length of the hashtag as short as possible as it takes away discussion space. For as long as the hashtag is being used, it says “alive”. This means that if you do not use your class hashtag any more (e.g. it is a new year and a new class) it will just disappear from the twitter timeline. Remember – tweets do not stay around forever- we will deal with how to backup your class/event tweets later.
Once you have created the hashtag, you have to make sure that your students use it every time they tweet about or in the classroom. If they don’t include it you will not be able to see it in the classroom stream. It is also important to make sure that you have a twitter screen up in your classroom. This means that you show it on the whiteboard or data projector so that they can see their participation up live! I will deal with how to use the twitter stream in the classroom at a later stage as well- very powerful!
So now it is time to create a hashtag that you would like to track a topic with. Your very own hashtag.
- Create a hashtag for your hobby or class and send a tweet with it included. Tell us what it is about. E.g
- Respond to others teachers’ hashtags by Replying to their tweets
- Reflect on how you can use hashtags in your classroom in a tweet
- Don’t forget to add the hashtag #ict4champions to all your tweets!!
- Day 1: Getting started and getting others started
- Day2: The importance of your twitter profile
- Day 3: Who follows Who: the following dilemma
- Day 4: How do you read your twitter streams?
- Day5: How to have discussions in twitter?
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