Who Wants to Play Hashtag Bracketology?

Let’s start with a simple truth:  Hashtags changed everything for digital learners.

Spending a few minutes identifying hashtags that are connected to your field can save you hours by providing instant access to a neverending stream of resources curated by practitioners who share the same interests.

Interested in elementary education?  So are the folks adding #elemchat to the end of their social media posts.  Working to integrate iPads into the work you do with students?  Find ideas AND intellectual doppelgangers to learn from by searching through the #ipaded stream.  Care a whole lot about the changing face of education in Iowa?  There’s a hashtag for you, too — #iaedchat — and it’s REALLY active.

But the challenge is figuring out WHICH hashtags are worth following, right?  In social spaces, change is a constant — and that includes in the kinds of hashtags that people are using to share content with one another.

So let’s play Hashtag Bracketology together.  

(download slide on Flickr here)

Here’s how to play: 

Start by downloading this PowerPoint slide which is an editable version of MY hashtag brackets.

Replace the 16 hashtags I’ve added with hashtags that that you’ve found useful in your own learning.  Maybe even match your favorite hashtags up against hashtags you only view once in awhile.  Add seeds if you want to.  We’ll call this final slide your “blank brackets.”

Don’t be afraid to include hashtags that are unique to your field and/or region.  Remember, no matter how unique you THINK you are, there are a TON of other educators working in similar positions.  Helping them to get connected matters.

Save your blank brackets as an image file and post it in your blog.  Consider writing a short explanation of each of your hashtags so that readers can quickly identify hashtags that they might dig.

Play an imaginary hashtag tournament sometime in the next two weeks.  Really consider which hashtags are the MOST important to your learning.  Cross out hashtags that would “lose” in head to head matchups.  Maybe even throw in an upset every now and then.  Keep working through your matchups until you have a “Hashtag Champion.”

Save your completed brackets as an image file and post it in your blog.  Consider writing a short explanation detailing the rationale for advancing and/or eliminating individual hashtags.

Tweet about your new posts using #edhashtagology

And if you want to, leave a link to your posts in the comment section of this post.  I’ll collect a master list of everyone who is playing and post it at some point in the near future.

I’m actually REALLY looking forward to seeing the hashtags that y’all include on your brackets.  While it is easy enough to search for lists of educational hashtags, those lists are rarely contextualized.  More importantly, those lists weren’t generated by folks that I know — and that I want to stumble across more often online.

Whose in?


Related Radical Reads:

Five Twitter Hashtags that Can Save School Leaders Time

Twitter Hashtags for Educators

Tips for Structuring Successful Classroom Blogging Projects


  • John Wink


    I totally love this idea, Bill.  It would be pretty amazing to see how this whole thing works out from everybody’s perspective. We are all unique individuals but it would be pretty amazing to see how many of us have the same brackets for our hashtags. Thanks for the cool idea. 

  • AnnByrd


    Bill: BRILLIANT! Definitely agree with John’s comment — thanks for the insightful charge for us to think about resources we draw upon. Looking forward to practicing some hashtag bracketology!

    • billferriter

      Hey Pal,

      Hey Pal,

      What always blows me away is the diversity of hashtags that educators are using to organize themselves.  In just the few brackets that other folks have filled out, I’ve already learned about two that I wasn’t following:

      #jedchat –  for Jewish Educators

      #mexedchat – for Mexican Educators


      Think about how specific those fields are and how alone their educators must feel sometimes — particularly if they’re working in remote locations here in the states. 

      Hashtags mean that NO ONE is truly alone.  They’re beautiful. 

      Rock on,




  • BillIvey


    … I just brainstormed in kind of random order, and came up with the following “Sweet Sixteen” which may not all relate directly to pedagogy but do all relate, in one way or another, to my work in trying to give my students the best possible experience and trying to give public education equal support. I look at them – and I feel they’re all deserving of focus. I’d still like to blog on them soon, but I’m suddenly all skittish about reducing them gradually down to just one. Anyway… here they are, in the random order in which I thought of them on this Saturday
    • billferriter

      What I love about your list,

      What I love about your list, Bill, is that they AREN’T education specific.  Adding diversity beyond the #edustream gives you broader access to ideas and opinions that CAN change your practice for the better.  That’s something I don’t do particularly well.

      And you SHOULD narrow them down to one.  While it won’t be comfortable to such an easy-going guy that keeps competition in its proper place like you, the reflection that goes into making choices will be good for you. It’ll push you, but pushing sometimes works.