In June of 2014, I attended the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) conference in Atlanta, Georgia. While I had been a Twitter user for several years prior to attending that conference, it was during that time that I realized the power of social media, particularly the hashtag.
Pound sign, number sign, sharp--whatever you may have called this symbol before--it is not new. Yet, it has been rebranded and is changing how we communicate. In using a hashtag, we are making connections.
Whether you are using #flytheW to celebrate a Cubs victory, or searching #HurricaneMatthew to get the latest on a major storm, when you create or a search a hashtag, you are connecting on topics with people around the globe. Yes, celebrities and authorities in their fields use hashtags, but so do people like you and me. It is the creation of news and information by the user.
The use of the hashtag in education allows us the ability to connect with people that we would never have been able to connect with before. Last Friday, my son, Luke, a first grader, came home after his #readitglobal launch at school and said, “Do you know if I tweet an author, they might tweet me back?” I said, “Let’s try it!” He chose to tweet (on my account) @laurentarshis , author of the I Survived series. Within an hour, she had liked our tweet, replied, and started following me on Twitter. She lives across the country, but we connected with her almost instantly. What did that do for Luke? It allowed him a connection that now has energized him to continue reading, learning, and connecting. And what better skills can we ask our students to develop?
#Readitglobal was created as a means to bring readers together. You can connect with an author. You can connect with a fellow reader. You can have a voice in your own learning and reading experiences--whether you are six-years-old or 66-years-old. You have a platform to share with the world.
October 10, 2016