Last week, I pitched an idea to all y’all called Hashtag Bracketology that is designed to (1). force you to reflect on the hashtags that are driving your own learning and (2). introduce others to hashtags they may never have heard of.

Just finished my final brackets.  Here they are:

Now let me explain some of my choices:

Perhaps the most surprising hashtag in my bracket is #sd36learn, which knocked off the better known #edtech and #scichat to make it to the championship game.

If you haven’t heard of #sd36learn, it is the hashtag of the Surrey School District, outside of Vancouver, British Columbia.  It’s a hashtag that I LOVE to follow because Surrey is doing REMARKABLE work that leaves me inspired.  I also love to follow #sd36learn because it is an example of how a district can use a hashtag to build community across all stakeholders.


#sd36learn also proves that people sometimes matter more than content when picking a hashtag to follow.

One of the most meaningful opportunities I’ve had in the past few years was being invited to present at Surrey’s Engaging Digital Learners dinner series.  I spent four full days hanging out in the hinterlands with an unbelievably powerful collection of people who are passionate about doing great things for kids.

The trip left me energized.  More importantly, the trip left me with connections to energizing people — and visiting the #sd36learn hashtag gives me a chance to rekindle those connections.  There are literally so many people in Surrey that I love and learn from that I won’t even begin to name them here for genuine fear of leaving someone out and hurting feelings.  Suffice it to say that the next best thing to BEING in Surrey is LEARNING with Surrey-ites from afar.

What does that mean for you?  Look for familiar faces in the hashtag streams that you follow.  It’ll remind you that Twitter isn’t JUST about scarfing ideas from other people.  It’s about building relationships and learning together.

You might be surprised to see both #edtech AND #edchat — two of the most popular hashtags used by educators — go out so early in my brackets.

There’s a simple reason for that:  SO many people use those hashtags that the stream gets “polluted” easily.  There’s too much information being shared by too many people to make it easy for me to find content of value there.  The lesson: Access to MORE information doesn’t automatically mean BETTER learning.

#scichat and #geniushour both made it to my Final Four simply because they are specific to the work that I am doing right now in my classroom.

When I poke through those streams, I almost always find content that I can use immediately in my work — and that matters.  I don’t follow hashtags because it’s the hipster thing to do.  I follow hashtags because I’m trying to get better at my craft. That means the hashtags that are the most directly related to the work I do on a daily basis are INCREDIBLY important to me.

#geniushour knocked off #sd36learn for the title because I’m just starting a Genius Hour in my classroom.

I’m still wrestling with both the pedagogical and practical implications of turning over time during the day to my students — and I’m struggling to build momentum for more self-directed learning experiences, both in myself and my students.  That means I need all the help that I can get.

#geniushour provides something new and useful at every turn.  It might be sample projects that I can share with my students or handouts that I can use to structure my Genius Hour period.  It might be articles that do a nice job articulating the rationale behind Genius Hour or success stories that leave me encouraged.  Regardless of the share, knowing that other people are making Genius Hour work and are sharing their ideas transparently matters to me.

Any of this make sense?  More importantly, anyone else interested in playing a bit of Hashtag Bracketology with John Wink, Derek Hatch and I?  

If you are curious, you can find your own editable brackets here.


Related Radical Reads:

Who Wants to Play Hashtag Bracketology?

Five Twitter Hashtags that Can Save School Leaders Time

Twitter Hashtags for Educators

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