4 Twitter Hashtags Every Principal Should Follow
January 2016, Volume 39, Issue 5
Social networking sites such as Twitter have created innovative ways for educators to connect and share ideas. In fact, when surveyed, 61 percent of principals found social networking very valuable for sharing information and resources.
Principals—who often lack opportunities to connect with peers—can start to fill that void with social media. Using hashtags (those words or phrases starting with a #), Twitter has the unique ability to organize conversations by topic. Some hashtags only last for a day. Others become a regular thread that provides an opportunity for like-minded people to connect, share, and chat about common topics.
For those new or reticent to use Twitter, you can find previous tweets that people have posted under a hashtag simply by searching for it on the Twitter website. (Search, for example #ThankaPrincipal for posts related to National Principals Month, or #NAESP16 for posts related to NAESP’s upcoming annual conference.) To contribute your own ideas, simply tag your own post with the appropriate hashtag.
Here are four hashtags—some long-standing, some newly minted—to which principals and other school leaders regularly contribute.
#edchat is a twice-weekly meeting of educators, thought leaders, and others built around a discussion topic meant to advance everyone’s thinking of the craft of education. Tom Whitby, Steven Anderson, and Shelley Sanchez Terrell started the movement in 2009. Topics can range from pedagogical theory to recent educational news or policy discussions. Participants vote on the topics they would like to discuss on a weekly basis and a moderator proposes questions and makes sure the conversation stays on track. Chats are held Tuesdays at 12 p.m. and 7 p.m. EST (for people who can’t spend their lunch on Twitter). #edchat has since spawned a weekly podcast as well.
This hashtag was a recent Friday morning brainstorm of California principal Adam Welcome. That day’s premise was simple: he beckoned fellow principals to go down the slide in their schools’ playground, including a photo or video if possible. This was all in the name of engagement with the school and their colleagues.
“[Education] leaders should be out of their office and in the action of their school,” Welcome says. “Get on the carpet. Read books with classes. Ride the slide. Get in the game!”
Although #principalsinaction has become a bit more freeform, with principals sharing ways they have recently “got in the game,” Welcome has also started a group on the messaging platform Voxer where principals have to respond to a specific challenge every week. According to Welcome, the group numbers about 30 leaders.
This hashtag was started by Adam Welcome and Texas principal Todd Nesloney as a place for educators to gather and motivate each other. Educators from around the world share relevant articles, motivational images, and spontaneous thoughts. The #kidsdeserveit movement has expanded to a blog maintained by Welcome and Nesloney as well as guest posters. They have also started a weekly interview with an education leader on the new streaming meeting app Blab.
The premise of #mondaymotivation is simple—starting the week off right. Many people post inspirational quotes. Others, pictures meant to get viewers excited. Some people just contribute their own thoughts that are helping them get through a case of the Mondays.
The best part of the hashtag (and Twitter in general)? Contributors range from regular people to celebrities and well-known organizations, like this recent tweet from the Smithsonian. Hashtags like this really make you feel as if you are part of one big world.
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