Hashtag Bracketology

Editor’s note: This was written on April 3rd before this past weekend’s Final Four games.

Even non-fans probably have a hard time escaping the annual college basketball Madness that begins in March and inevitably, inexorably, continues on into April. Being most decidedly a fan, I love this time of year, and now that we’re down to the Final Four, I am fervently hoping both that UConn does indeed meet Notre Dame for the championship on the women’s side and that they reduce the number of Diet Cokes I owe Liz Feeley (our Director of Development and a former assistant coach at Notre Dame) from four to three.

Bill Ferriter, who blogs for the Center for Teaching Quality as “The Tempered Radical,” recently proposed a different kind of bracketology: hashtag bracketology. As he explained it, the idea is to pick your “Sweet Sixteen” hashtags that you as an educator find useful on Twitter and then match them up and role play a series of matches until your champion hashtag reigns supreme. As people playing along share their brackets, we could all learn from each other.

Of course, I am the sort of person who would have a hard time gradually eliminating my favourite hashtags one by one, especially since several of them are run by people I consider friends. So I’ve created four regions, each with four related hashtags I use and/or look for regularly, and we’ll just pretend this Sweet Sixteen is suspended in the present.

East: #isedchat, #mschat, #PubPriBridge, #t2030
West: #satchat, #sblchat, #sunchat, #TABSchat
Midwest: #educolor, #feminism, #girlslikeus, #LGBT
South: #d3hoops, #ncaaw, #RedSox, #WNBA

East: These are the four educational chats that take place when I am relatively easily able to join in, and in which I participate with some regularity. Each one brings together forward-thinking, cutting edge educators who want to share what they do, learn from each other, and find ways both to improve their schools and, more deeply, work toward a better world. #isedchat, moderated by Lorri Carroll from 9:00-10:00 ET on Thursday nights, targets independent school people. #mschat, moderated by Todd Bloch from 8:00-9:00 ET on Thursday nights and often joined by Dru Tomlin of the Association of Middle Level Education, focuses on middle school practice. #PubPriBridge is short for “Public-Private Bridge” and seeks specifically to build connections between public and private school educators. It takes place Monday nights from 8:30-9:30 ET and is co-led by Peter Gow, Laura Robertson, and Chris Thinnes. Finally, #t2030 is used by the Center for Teaching Quality for the monthly Thursday night chats we hold on a variety of different topics.

West: These are the four educational chats that take place at times when, for one reason or another, I often find it difficult to join in, yet when I do, I am always glad I did. #satchat and #sunchat, which take place Saturday and Sunday mornings respectively, are huge and often borderline overwhelming. Yet they are well worth the level of intellectual effort and focus they require to follow them closely. #sblchat takes place Wednesday nights and originally focused on standards-based grading but is now expanded to look at standards-based learning. Nationally known and respected educational consultant and thought-leader Rick Wormeli often drops by when he can. Finally, #TABSchat, often small and intimate, is the one with which I feel the strongest connection because several of my friends, respected educators all, hang out there every Wednesday night from 8:00-9:00. TABS stands for The Association of Boarding Schools, and the organization sends a representative when they can.

Midwest: Social Justice hashtags are sometimes short-lived, arising out of the moment, cresting, and then subsiding. However, the four hashtags listed here are more permanent. Many thoughtful and influential educators of colour hang out at the #educolor hashtag, including Melinda D. Anderson, Sabrina Stevens, José Vilson, and MRW. #girlslikeus was started by Janet Mock and is a rallying point for transwomen and allies. And #feminism and #LGBT need no explanation!

South: I love sports, and while women’s basketball is certainly my #1 passion (hence #d3hoops, #ncaaw, and #WNBA), I do still and for always love the #RedSox too. 🙂

So there you have it! This Sixteen is Sweet indeed, and my life would be less rich without any of them. I hope to meet some of you there!

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