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5 Reasons to Use Hashtags to Gather Data

Hashtag by Kejava

Flickr: by Kejava

Schools have goals/education plans/strategic plans, etc. that must be reported in some way, shape or form. The results are often created in a powerpoint showing evidence using a variety of data such as achievement test data and survey data. Then, the following year, the powerpoint gets recycled to reflect new data. Some of this data is often collected once a year and has a “drive by” kind of feel to it. The  showcase of the results can also feel like “one more thing” to do instead of being on-going and meaningful reflection for staff and administrators . Does the “drive by” data and powerpoint truly capture the entire picture of what is happening in your school? Does it show direct real time evidence of students learning, their work, their portfolios, their conversations and insights about their learning? Does this type of data assist in reflection that could inform the journey along the way in order to celebrate success and adjust for gaps? This year we are going to try something a little different and attempt to use on-going data via Twitter & class blogs for reflection throughout the year.

Now that our teachers and students are documenting their learning via blogs and social media, I introduced the idea of using hashtags, tags/categories to share evidence of what is happening at our school.  Throughout the next few years, our district would like us to show consistent evidence of a deep understanding of the 12 Excellent Learning Environment components that our district has developed. In order to document our school’s ELE journey, we chose the following hashtags and blog tags/categories: #iele1, #iele2, #iele12, etc.

In the past, I have started hashtags to promote sharing in our school and district. These hashtags have documented learning and highlighted great ideas for teaching learning.  So why not leverage the power of hashtags in social media and, tags and categories in blogs to show teaching and learning in more detail for evidence of our education plan goals?

By leveraging the digital tools that we already use, it will allow us to:

1. Share the Communication Responsibility: Throughout the entire year the evidence of our goals will be consistently shared with stakeholders from stakeholders. Due to the nature of the social media and blogging platforms, the responsibility of communicating the evidence will come from students, staff, administration & parents.

2. Deepen Understanding: As we use the hashtags in social media and, tags and categories in blogs, we are continuously reflecting upon teaching practices and internalizing what components create excellent learning environments.  This helps us to be “consciously skilled”.

3. On-going Reflection of the Journey: Are we fulfilling the mission and vision of our school? Instead of solely using “drive by” data in a one time powerpoint at the end of the year to answer this question, now we can consistent reflect on the data.  At anytime throughout the year, a search can be done for any ELE in order to track, reflect and adjust to successfully reach our goals.

4. Build Understanding with All Stakeholders: Parents have more opportunities to see student learning in action through our website, class blogs and social media. The hashtags, tags and categories help make that connection to our school goals more tangible.

5. Celebrate: During Professional Development days throughout the year, we can continuously celebrate our successes along the way. We need to take the time to celebrate what is right more often!

How can your district or school leadership leverage hashtags and/or blog tags to gather relevant data in your context?