For those of you already using Twitter, hashtags (#) are an important addition to maximize the experience. (If you are not already on Twitter and are interested in getting started, view my #MIDTESOL14 presentation.) Here are a few ways hashtags come in handy when looking for education-related content on Twitter:
- Search for Tweets related to a topic of interest (e.g. #edtech).
- Follow the conversation of a Twitter chat and connect with the community that participates in that chat (e.g. #ELTchat).
- Track an event like a conference or webinar whether you can attend it or not (e.g. #TESOL16).
All you need to do to explore hashtags is click next to the magnifying glass on Twitter in the upper right, enter the term with the hashtag in front (e.g. #ELLchat). Then click “Live” to see what’s most current (rather than “Top” which shows only the popular and sometimes promoted or commercial tweets).
Likewise, your Tweets will be better received if you include hashtags appropriately. Think of it as a way to label the topic of your Tweet, making it easier for people interested in the same topic to find you and your Tweet. Note that hashtags are not case-sensitive, but capital letters may be inserted to make the tags easier to read.
How do you know which hashtags to use, though? Besides looking for which tags are used in tweets you find interesting, here are a few helpful resources.
- Edudemic’s A-Z Dictionary of Educational Twitter Hashtags is an invaluable document listing many educational hashtags.
- Jerry Blumengarten’s (@Cybraryman) Hashtags page contains links to articles about using hashtags as well as other resources.
For some suggestions specific to the field of ESL, consider these hashtags:
- #ELLChat (English Language Learner Chat) – PK-12 focus, live chat on Mondays from 8-9 PM Central
- #ESL (English as a Second Language) – general English learner-related tweets
- #ELT (English Language Teaching) – broad label, often used outside the U.S. and to refer to English learners of all ages
- Regional labels such as #MIDTESOL – anything related to ESL in MO, IA, NE, or KS and #IAESL (Iowa English as a Second Language) – information specific to ESL in Iowa
- Other related tags include (but aren’t limited to): #Advocacy4ELs, #BilingualEd, #DualLanguage, #ELL, #ESOL, #pronunciation, #TEFL, #TESL and #TESOL
For more general, education-related suggestions, check out the following:
- #digcit (digital citizenship)
- #comm_college and #communitycollege
- #PhDChat (related to graduate studies including dissertation research and writing)
- #LTHEchat (Learning and Teaching in Higher Education Chat)
We would love to know which hashtags you find most engaging and helpful. Tweet us @MIDTESOL with your favorite hashtags.
Shaeley Santiago, ESL Instructional Coach for Ames Community Schools in Ames, Iowa, is an avid user of technology for professional development. You can find her at @HSeslteacher.