Hashtagging Education in Missouri
Social media is a platform for discussion, and education policy is a popular topic. In a recent study, researchers looked at the Twitter hashtag, #commoncore. Over a six-month period, there were 25,000 to 35,000 tweets per month using the CCSS hashtag. Not surprisingly, researchers found that the discussion more often surrounded larger political issues rather than the standards themselves.
I looked at two popular Missouri education hashtags: #moedchat and #motransfers from March 9 to March 11. Using arguably less sophisticated methods, here are a few interesting things I found.
On just one of the days, most of the Twitter users participating in discussions were educators, administrators, or fell under an “other” category. At a glance, these were usually tech specialists or professional development representatives. Looking at only the #motransfers hashtag, there were seven Twitter users participating (including myself, Show-Me Distinguished Fellow James Shuls, DESE, and state house reporter Alex Stuckey).
Over a three-day period, several issues were discussed. The content was related to technology, teaching and learning, policy, and testing. Here is the breakdown:
The more popular hashtag is #moedchat, despite recent legislative actions concerning interdistrict choice. From my very short and quick dive into the data, I found that Missouri educators use Twitter to find out about professional development events, as well as connect with other educators to share ideas. The area that receives the most action is teaching and learning, but connecting and promoting is second.
I’m glad to see Missouri educators engaging in Twitter. Technology is a useful tool both in and out of the classroom, but if this small glimpse is any indication of social media participation among all educators in Missouri on a daily basis, there is room for improvement.
More teachers should participate in policy conversations—140 characters can go a long way.