Leadership · Curriculum · Lifelong Learning

For the last year, my friend and sixth grade science teacher Bill Ferriter has been creating videos that reflect the content being taught and learned in his #SalemProud learning spaces. These curriculum-hashtagged, video tweets have been populating on Bill’s Standards Based Portfolio on blogger as he posts them on twitter.

One of Bill’s recent content videos captured at least ten things I like about doing this practice–The process known as #Hashtag180.

1–Relationship-Building And Content-Learning Occur Simultaneously

Bill is spending time with his daughter. While out and about, they realize a learning opportunity, and celebrate it together. Educators can strengthen relationships with students in learning spaces during instruction, too. What’s alarming is how often the twitterverse and blogosphere will make anyone believe that relationship-building and content-learning must be separate processes. That’s a myth!

Some of the best relationship-building opportunities present themselves in the midst of the most boring, abstract, unexpected moments of the day.

Life is a spiderweb of the unexpected.

2–Learning Can Happen Anywhere

Bill and his daughter are at the park. They’re outside–The best learning space ever.

Think about this: Isn’t it fascinating how much time we spend in one space inside of one building? That’s signaling that learning only happens indoors, and in predictable spaces. That’s not real life–It’s 2018.

3–Learning Can Happen Anytime

Bill recorded this video outside of school hours. Perhaps, the best message we can send is that learning can happen outside of school hours.

Even more–The best message we can send is that learning happens in real time. That’s why I favor social media or platforms that can capture learning in real-time, instead of static, campus-based tools.

4–Video Killed The Radio Star

We live in the age of video–and beyond. How much more engaging is a video than an image? I admit, my fears of being on video hampered my effectiveness as an educator over recent years. Bill is unafraid to record videos on one-take. I admire that confidence so much.

5–The Midas Touch

By the very nature of recording a video, Bill’s personality comes out. I just watched another #sci6L11 content video in which he included his own vehicle in the example of pollen falling. I can’t help but think how cool it would be to see MY teacher’s personal side–Outside of school!

6–Know. Your. Stuff.

Believe it or not–One of the biggest challenges in education today is for educators to know their curriculum–And not just know their curriculum–But celebrate it! Professional educators should have their curriculum memorized. One of the best ways to embed expected learning outcomes into our second nature is to research, apply, and DO. That’s why hashtagging your curriculum every day is so meaningful.

No chef would ever cook a meal without knowing the exact recipe–That is, unless the chef had the recipe memorized, and can adapt the recipe to make connections with other elements in the process.

The reason why educators should know their curriculum like the back of their hands is because it will free up more time to invest in the very foundations of learning: personal connections and relationship-building opportunities.

7–Archiving The Dewey Decimal System of the 21st Century

By hashtagging this video with #sci6L11, Bill is creating an archive. That has huge implications, because Bill can recall this tweet at anytime, for his own practice, or to show his students, by twitter-searching: “@plugusin #sci6L11.” He can also access Bill’s Standards-Based Portfolio.

What if every NC sixth grade science teacher tweeted just one tweet to #sci6L11? How might that affect student learning?

8–Sharing Is Caring

Any North Carolina sixth grade science educator could twitter-search: “#sci6L11” and see Bill’s example. They could share it in class or use it to supplement their own learning.

9–Tell Your Story

Bill recognizes how sharing his specific sixth grade science content can help celebrate his school and community’s journey of learning. I never envisioned this as a function of #Hashtag180. Bill’s experienced, big-picture vision opened my eyes to that. And, really? Shouldn’t the community know exactly what we’re learning and teaching, and shouldn’t we be celebrating our students’ journey community-wide and beyond?

10–Unique Interpretations, Unintended Consequences

Right now, Bill has over 25.5k twitter followers. That’s nearly 26,000 twitter followers! But here’s the thing–He has probably x100 lurkers, and maybe more! That’s interesting, because each one of those followers makes personal inferences.

Every post’s meaning is inferred with varied depth, meaning, and value, per consumer.

Bill doesn’t know that I secretly, REALLY LOVE this tweet because all EIGHT of my great grandparents were born in the Netherlands. I’m not well-versed in flowers, but tulips are so precious to us Wooden Shoes, because they’re very symbolic of our heritage, culture, and faith. Seeing the inside of a tulip brought back memories of my last visit to my homeland, my hardworking farming roots back home again in Indiana, my longing to be with my family, and my appreciation as a proud, second-generation Dutch-American immigrant of a family that set voyage exactly 110 years ago this month… Albeit while North Carolina sixth graders can learn about plants.

The day upon returning from our vacation to Europe, I ran the Touch of Dutch 5k in my hometown of DeMotte, Indiana. And–I DID hashtag my 5k race experience with an NC science objective.

3 Replies to “1 Tweet 10 Likes”

  • ….and to take it one step further, it helps to #hashtag teacher evaluation components too…great for archiving your evidence toward your end of year evaluation for all those “not observed” areas throughout the year. Keep mentoring everyone to use Twitter in any capacity, Kyle! I had Underwood colleaguws/friends attend NCTIES wuth me last week and still comment that they are not big on Twitter. And one stranger in the stairwell of the parking garage commented that twitter was about movie stars! Ugh! Keep doing what you are doing and I will keep trying too! Congrats on your additional certification, too!

    • Thank you for your kind words, my friend! What I remember about #ncties18 was bragging to underwood folks about how proud I was to be your friend, because we were in each other’s first one hundred followers, back in 2013, just getting started in our twitter journey. While I love twitter so much, I guess you could argue that the power lies in the hashtag–On any platform. #Hashtag180 is about archiving, sharing, and telling our learning journey.

      How cool would it be if educators could share with a link with their administrators to demonstrate their growth in a post-observation meeting?

      When I hear educators say that they’re “not really into technology,” I recall a George Couros quote in which he said: “It’s not about YOU–It’s about the kids.”

      To “not be good with technology” is no longer acceptable. We can’t laugh that off anymore. To “not be good with technology” is now unprofessional. We need to move…

  • Hey Kyle,

    A few things:

    First, the most important thing you said in this entire piece was this: “Perhaps, the best message we can send is that learning can happen outside of school hours.”

    I’d nudge you a bit, though: I think our kids know that they are LEARNING outside of school. I just don’t think they see what happens at school as learning at all. It’s some other thing that they are required to do — not something that they are inspired to do. It’s the “Learning > Schooling” or “Learning ≠ Schooling” argument that I make from time to time.

    That sucks SO bad.

    And it’s another reason that #Hashtag180 content matters. What we are really doing is showing kids that there IS a connection between the two spaces where they spend their lives.

    Second, start recording video. Do it. Like now.

    It’s SO much more engaging than pictures — and it is SO much more useful to anyone and everyone in your audience. Sometimes when I look at the #hashtag180 stuff that you post, I can’t find the connections between your images and the curriculum just because I don’t know the curriculum well. The chances are that struggling teachers would be in the same boat even if they taught the same curriculum as you do. That limits the value of your posts to all but the most accomplished teachers, who can look at your images and understand your intent.

    That goes away in a video because the explanation is clearly articulated. And better yet, there’s almost no video content in any school’s social stream — particularly teachers articulating curricular concepts to kids. I’m not sure there’s any better content to add to a school’s stream.

    Finally, thanks for introducing me to #hashtag180. It really has changed the way that I think about my curriculum and the content that I create for social spaces. I can count the number of people who have significantly changed by practice in the last year on one hand — and you are one of them.



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