TFMTF: Learning Through the Rabbit Hole

Instead of giving you a specific account to follow with this edition of Teaching From My Twitter Feed, I thought we’d have some fun with one my favorite Twitter joys:  The Rabbit Hole. There’s a Rabbit Hole for every topic you can imagine on Twitter, and probably for a few you can’t. There’s also lots of ways those Rabbit Holes get created, which is why I think a quick guide might be helpful before you go diving head first into the murky darkness…

If you’re brand new to Twitter–or reading this article because you’re thinking about trying it out–then you’ll want a real quick primer on the versions of Rabbit Holes that Twitter sort of does by design:

film twitter.PNG
Here’s a great film account–using its social media following to give the community MORE great film accounts!

First, there are #hashtags (I just hashtagged the WORD hashtag, so if the apocalypse starts in the next few days, I think that’s on me), which are simply clickable phrases writers place into their tweets in order to tie them quickly to a broader conversation on the topic.  This works particularly well for educators–I can’t recommend #disrupttexts or #cleartheair enough for rethinking diversity in your classroom–but can actually make for some joyous explorations in all sorts of random directions too (try #moviesunglasses for a recent Rabbit Hole started by one of my favorite film Twitter feeds, @BWDR).  

Then there’s the classic “thread”, wherein a writer creates a linked string of tweets that add up to a larger narrative or exploration of a topic.  Useful, insightful, sometimes hilarious, but not what I’m talking about today.

The other, user-driven Rabbit Holes are my real favorites though.  These Rabbit Holes harness the power of social media spaces to rapidly gather up a community’s knowledge and insight into one concentrated moment.  

fast research.PNG

The #nctevillage thread is a great example–If you tag @NCTE in your own tweet seeking insight (book recommendations, ideas for writing, you name it), they’ll retweet you to their larger audience and your replies will fill up with lovely recommendations from teachers around the globe (or at least as far as our buddy Jay up there in Canada!).  

ncte village

I know this might sound like a simple pleasure–or a simple tool, if you’re using it in the education context.  But consider what such social media access to other highly-motivated, thoughtful educators provides you! How much would you pay for a day of professional development about whatever topic you’re currently struggling with?  How long would it take you to track down extensive research to answer a question in all that spare time you have between grading and lesson planning?

On Twitter, the cost of new information at your fingertips turns out to be no more than 280 characters (as long as 6 of them spell “please”!).  

–Mike

What’s your favorite education hashtag or thread?  Share with us on Facebook or (obvi!) on Twitter @Zigthinks!

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