While not exactly the most dramatic of posts, I like the core idea of what Sherr is advocating here. I have been preaching the power of tags and hashtags to my students for the last few years, especially when we venture into areas of research. I even employ class tags for certain kinds of activity. However, I think there are a lot more possibilities that I have yet to explore and leverage with students. Scherr has inspired me a bit to re-imagine some of my previous ideas.
At the beginning of course. Start by creating a hashtag for the content in which you are going to teach. If you blog post an article about your newly created hashtag. Tweet it, post it, do everything you can to spread the word. Encourage other educators that you know to use your hashtag for that specific content and to create their own new hashtags for other specific content.
The idea of having students generate a hashtag based on the content that we are addressing and trying to make that as public as possible, encouraging other teachers and students to potentially use it, seems an idea worth pursuing. The real trick will be about how exactly to share it and if I can draw others into the mix.
You will also have to use the hashtag to connect with other users of that hashtag. Think about the age group that you teach and are targeting. If younger this makes a great circle time teacher-lead activity. If older it makes for a fantastic inquiry-driven project.
I don’t think it is quite enough to just start using one on Twitter or Google+, but we’ll see what happens. Something tells me that it will require a greater breadth of communication to achieve usage on the scale that Scherr is advocating.
As I mentioned earlier, the possibilities are truly endless. If K12 educators began to develop and then use a commonly accepted hashtag system you would essentially be cataloging the Internet. Not only would you be benefiting the current generation by creating an easier way to connect, gather and share, but you would be also giving future generations an easy way to look back and see how we learned and how we used social media to deepen our own understandings, connect globally and become responsible digital leaders.
This is where Scherr begins to lose me a little. I am just not sure how practical the idea of a common system actually is. Everything changes so fast and trying to document it alone would be a Herculean task, probably not even worth pursuing.
What I am thinking already is how to adapt some existing instruction to emphasize the use of hashtags. As I mentioned, I have been introducing the concept of tags, how to parse them from content use them as keywords for various kinds of searches. Yet, I have not completely stressed the hashtag, specifically. It may be useful to conduct a couple of demonstration searches, using hashtags in a handful of different spaces just to see what the results are, as well as incorporating more social media searches into the overall research phase. As mentioned, I have been doing it but I think I must do it in a more purposeful way going forward.
Maybe more than anything I need to start practicing using them with much greater frequency and purpose, in a more ritual way. Then I need to encourage students to do the same, remembering to use them with greater regularity.