Advice from the Twitter Hashtag Queen - Steve Hargadon Said So! by Lisa Nielsen

I was honored when Steve Hargadon recently anointed me with the title of hashtag queen but many people are still in the dark about why they are important. Hashtags provide a way for others who are interested in a particular topic to see what you have to say even if they're not following you. In other words, it allows people to follow topics rather than each other. Through Twitter and hashtags I have made amazing connections with people around the world and boy is it fun when we get to meet face-to-face. In essence, I've had the pleasure of meeting the minds of so many before their faces, and Twitter provides an excellent way to keep the conversation going.

If I've sold you on the idea and importance of hashtags, you may be wondering how the heck you know which ones to use. My technique is doing a Twitter search for a topic of interest and see what folks are using. For those of us interested in learning at school, at home, or in life, Online College Courses has put together a great list of hashtags. By simply following these hashtags, you can get connected with discussion groups, resources, advice, and more. You may also want to use "@" to mention someone in particular. I'm @InnovativeEdu so if you wanted to send out a Tweet by virtually tap me on the shoulder you might Tweet something like this:

#Parenting question. I want to opt my #specialneeds child out of standardized tests. Hoping folks like @InnovativeEdu might have advice

You've now tapped into two hashtags and you've gotten my attention as well through the "@InnovativeEdu" mention. Next it's time to let the connections and the conversation begin!

Here's a great list of hashtags to check out and give a try.
Homeschooling, unschooling, and more can be found here.

  1. #homeschooling: Parents share this tag to talk about experiences in homeschooling.
  2. #hiphomeschool: Make your homeschool a little cooler with #hiphomeschool.
  3. #unschool: Connect and learn about unschooling by checking out #unschool.
  4. #hs: Short for homeschooling, #hs offers homeschooling discussions.
  5. #teachers: Resources for teachers and teaching can be found by reading #teachers.
  6. #homeschool: See what other homeschoolers are doing by reading #homeschool.
  7. #unschoolers: Read about unschoolers by looking at #unschoolers.
  8. #homeschoolers: Connect with other homeschoolers by following #homeschoolers.

Age & Needs Groups
Whether you have a special needs child or just want to find tweets about teaching specific age groups, you’ll find what you want here.

  1. #ece: Early childhood education resources, articles, and more are on #ece.
  2. #elemchat: Chat about elementary school teachers and students on #elemchat.
  3. #specialneeds: Learn about special needs homeschooling and more.
  4. #dyslexia: You’ll better understand how to manage and teach kids with dyslexia.
  5. #tck: The Coffee Klatch is a forum for parents to discuss topics related to special needs children.
  6. #toddlers: Share experiences and fun activities with #toddlers.
  7. #preschool: Find age appropriate activities and fun for #preschool kids.
  8. #cerebralpalsy: Talk about cerebral palsy and education on #cerebralpalsy.
  9. #spedchat: You’ll find information about special education on #spedchat.
  10. #gifted: Learn about resources for gifted and talented students by reading #gifted.
  11. #bilingual: If you’re teaching your child to be bilingual, this tag can be helpful.
  12. #Autism: Here you’ll find news and discussion on Autism.
  13. #aspergers: You can better understand Aspergers with the help of #aspergers.
  14. #teachpreschool: See what others are doing in preschool education by following #teachpreschool.
  15. #highered: Follow ideas for higher education in #highered.

Distance Education
If you’re using or are interested in distance and online education for your kids, you can find information on these hashtags.

  1. #disted: Distance education resources can be found on #disted.
  2. #mlearning: Find out how to learn on the go with #mlearning.
  3. #onlinelearning: Follow trends, learning resources, and more on #onlinelearning.
  4. #k12online: Get connected with K-12 learning resources online using #k12online.
  5. #elearning: #elearning will allow you to follow elearning resources on Twitter and more.

Home & Parenting
Check out cybersafety, childcare, and fun parent stories here.

  1. #kids: #kids shares quotes, tips, and discussions on kids.
  2. #cybersafety: Keep your kids safe when studying online by following #cybersafety.
  3. #SAHM: Chat with other stay at home moms with #SAHM.
  4. #childcare: Find, offer, or discuss childcare through #childcare.
  5. #SAHD: Stay at home dads can connect over #SAHD.
  6. #littlekids: Commiserate and share achievements on the #littlekids tag.
  7. #parents: See what other parents are saying on Twitter by following #parents.
  8. #badmommy: Confess your worst and most hilarious bad mom moments on #badmommy.
  9. #clothdiapers: If you’re cloth diapering, this chat can offer lots of help and knowledge.
  10. #dads4life: #dads4life has advice for loving and teaching your children.
  11. #parenting: #parenting features tweets from parents and others with advice and more.

Find information and resources for studying through these hashtags.

  1. #books: Study and get news about books with the #books tag.
  2. #literature: Follow #literature to study literature with Twitter.
  3. #Business: You’ll find business news, articles, and more on #Business.
  4. #writing: Find writing prompts and inspiration with the #writing tag.
  5. #Economy: You’ll find news and study resources on #Economy.
  6. #Geography: Follow #Geography to see geography in action.
  7. #arted: Focus on art education with the help of #arted.
  8. #biology: Articles, resources, and more are available on #biology.
  9. #ArtsEd: See arts education on Twitter by following #ArtsEd.
  10. #science: You’ll find up to date news and more with #science.
  11. #math: Find math problems, resources, and more with #math.

Prepare your kids for college with these hashtags.

  1. #ACT: Get test prep resources for the ACT by checking out the #ACT hashtag.
  2. #SAT: SAT words, tips, and more are on #SAT.
  3. #scholarship: Stay on top of the latest scholarships available with this hashtag.

Groups & Chats
Sign on to these chat groups for homeschool discussions and more.

  1. #scichat: Follow #scichat to discuss science on Twitter.
  2. #tlchat: School library resources and more are discussed on #tlchat.
  3. #educhat: Education related discussions can be found on #educhat.
  4. #lrnchat: #lrnchat is a great place to check in and chat about learning.
  5. #gtchat: Chat about gifted and talented students on #gtchat.
  6. #yalitchat: Stay on top of young adult literature through #yalitchat.
  7. #hsc: Check out #hsc for Home School Chat.
  8. #engchat: Resources, learning, and more can be found on #engchat.
  9. #CollegeChat: Look ahead to college by participating in #CollegeChat.
  10. #edchat: Check out #edchat weekly for a discussion on technology and education.
  11. #musedchat: Chat about music education by joining #musedchat.
  12. #mathchat: Talk about math education on #mathchat.

Lisa Nielsen is best known as creator of The Innovative Educator blog and Transforming Education for the 21st Century learning network. Lisa is an outspoken and passionate advocate of innovative education. She is frequently covered by local and national media for her views on "Thinking Outside the Ban" and determining ways to harness the power of technology for instruction and providing a voice to educators and students. Based in New York City, Ms. Nielsen has worked for more than a decade in various capacities helping schools and districts to educate in innovative ways that will prepare students for 21st century success. Her first book “Teaching Generation Text” is set for a fall 2011 release. You can follow her on Twitter @InnovativeEdu.

Disclaimer: The information shared here is strictly that of the author and does not reflect the opinions or endorsement of her employer.