Tuesday, December 6, 2011

The Power of a Hashtag! #EduWin

Last summer in Philadelphia I had the opportunity to attend Edubloggercon 2011, an "un-conference" where participants can suggest topics for discussion, and then anyone interested can attend and participate in the sharing/learning.
That's me in the middle!
After the lunch break, the following session, proposed by Scott Meech, caught my eye:
Why isn't education on the front page of the news?
Posted By smeech

With as much discussion taking place online about education, why isn't it on the front page? Let's talk about strategies to push this important discussion to the forefront in a positive and meaningful way.
Just like Scott, I too had been frustrated by the education bashing that seemed to permeate the media landscape. I was glad to hear that I wasn't alone!
During the session, he shared some of the work that he and other educators have been doing at EdReach.us, a site devoted to sharing what is working in education.
As we were talking, Meech brought up the idea that all kinds of really great things are happening in schools, but as singular stories, they don't seem significant for the media to have an interest. If there were some way for us to aggregate them, we might be able to create interest. 
Now realize, we were at a technology conference, and we had just all witnessed the amazing impact of social media during the Arab Spring. The idea of adding a "Hashtag" to tweets, videos, blog posts seemed like a no-brainer! 


Tagging posts with searchable words like #egypt, #syria or #tunisia can allow aggregation of data with powerful results. To the left, is a screencast I made of my Twitter feed showing the tag #egypt on February 1st. The amount of information was staggering, and this was AFTER they had started blocking the Internet! Click play to see what I mean!
So as we were talking, I sent out the following tweet:




Brendan Murphy, a math educator from Illinois and grad school colleague tweeted back with "What about #eduwin?"
I shared that with the group, and there seemed to be consensus that it made sense, as there could be more than one meaning to the term!

Candace Shively, an educator from Pennsylvania, and a fellow participant in the session wrote a great post reflecting on the session and the aftermath. In it, she included practical suggestions for when and how to use the tag to share the great things you are doing in your classroom! From her post....
Here is how it works:
  • Every time you see a change in a student because of something that clicked, write about it in a tweet or a blog post, hashtagged #eduwin.
  • Every time you see another teacher do something that works, share it, hashtagged #eduwin.
  • Every time you see a tweet from another educator  about the way students are LEARNING, retweet it or share it on Facebook, hashtagged #eduwin.
  • When you’re having a bad day, set up a Twitter search or do one on Google (when they get Real Time working again), looking for items hashtagged #eduwin.
  • When you hear people griping about the state of education today, share a story you saw hashtagged #eduwin.
  • When your class does projects, shoot some video and upload the clips of kids talking about what they did to YouTube, hashtagged #eduwin (cute kids or kittens can’t hurt…)
  • When a parent volunteer wants to be helpful, ask him/her to take some pictures of the good things going on in your class (maybe from the back or close-ups of hands so there is no concern about identifiable pictures) and share them on Flickr or Facebook, hashtagged #eduwin.
  • When your kids make glogs, Voicethreads, or other online projects that shout powerful evidence of learning, add the hashtag #eduwin to the very best examples (and resist the urge to put the hashtag on ones that could be appreciated without context)
  • When you give awards to your students, us the title EDUWIN on the awards.
  • When that one non-reader finally recognizes the sight words, clap and say “EDUWIN!”
  • Collaborate every day with teacher colleagues on the digital storytelling of EDUWIN
Now, Meech and the folks at EdReach.us have taken it a step further! They've created a site for all of us to share out our stories of #EduWins.They have created, Whatisyoureduwin.com, a site where you can quickly and easily share your stories!
I think this is a great positive way to share the good things that are happening.
I hope you'll join the movement, and start a trend!
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