Yesterday we took a look at the history of hashtags and how teachers can use them to find information about different topics. Today, I would like to introduce you to the hashtag #ActualLivingScientists and the role it played in my World Geography classroom last year.
One of the projects required students to make contact with a specialist on their chosen topic. Many of the topics they selected were closely related to science in some way. Just by chance I happened to come across the hashtag #ActualLivingScientist that started gaining popularity just a month or so earlier. Scientists from all over the world began using this hashtag to in their tweets to showcase pictures of them working in the field and to help people understand what scientists do during the day. I began following the #actuallivingscientist hashtag and when I came across an expert that fit any of the topics my students had selected, I added them to a Twitter list which was linked on my classroom website to make it easy for my students to access. It was still up to my students to make the connection with a scientist, but the list made it pretty easy! For my students who did not use Twitter, they were able to use the information from the Twitter bio section to connect with them.
Applications for Education
The exchanges my students had with the scientists were great! If it had not been for this hashtag, my students would have wasted lots of valuable time tracking down experts who may or may not have been happy to hear from them. No matter what topic we are researching, hashtags save us time and provide a way for us to connect with experts around the globe in a matter of seconds.