Thanks to technological advances, traditional teaching methods are rapidly evolving.
Teachers are constantly finding innovative ways to engage students or integrate technology into the classroom — and with social media, sharing these insights allows educators to get behind a successful method and launch a trend. Think of online social media as a way to crowdsource professional development and build new communities of support. You can learn about the latest ways teachers are creating dynamic lessons and challenging students by following a teaching trend’s associated hashtags — words or phrases that start with a # — used to categorize content.
Below, you will find hashtags associated with nine of the most influential teaching trends that are making their way into classrooms around the world and inspiring students and educators.
1. Blended Learning
As technology gives classrooms access to a wealth of information and resources, teachers are working hard to create virtual learning environments (VLEs) that allow students to supplement what they learn in face-to-face instruction with high-quality learning materials found online. The name for this kind of combined instruction is blended learning.
Many free tools and apps allow teachers to create opportunities for students to learn online while letting educators keep track of grading, assessment, and attendance. These provide safe and private environments that allow access with logins and enable easy sharing of materials with students. These VLEs — the first two of which are higly-profiled innovative online tools — include Edmodo, Schoology, eduClipper, Google Classroom, Edublogs, Moodle, PBWorks, and Wikispaces. Discover more free Web tools and apps to integrate blended learning successfully by following the hashtag #BlendedLearning.
2. STEM and STEAM
The Obama Administration’s Educate to Innovate initiative has allocated millions to programs that get students interested in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) professions. The STEAM movement, which adds an arts focus to STEM education, has been gaining popularity in education circles, as well. Both STEM and STEAM education teach children valuable critical-thinking and creative problem-solving skills, and following these trends on social media will help you learn about activities and organizations that can support lessons in the classroom.
3. Flipped Learning
Hashtags: #FlipClass, #FlippedClassroom, #FlippedLearning, and #Flipped
Flipping the classroom, a teaching approach pioneered by influential educator Greg Green, entails having students listen to online lectures at home so they can prepare for an upcoming lesson in which they implement their new knowledge through activities and discussions — that is, what would be homework in a typical classroom setup — at school. Traditionally, flipped instruction meant teachers recorded lectures and students watched them at their own pace as homework. Now, flipped instruction can also include short, interactive videos made using free tools and apps like EDpuzzle, TouchCast, Blendspace, EduBuncee, EDTed, eduClipper, and Khan Academy, one of the programs profiled in the Noodle report on innovative online tools. Following this trend on social media will allow you to find great resources that your students can watch at home.
4. Maker Education
Hashtags: #Maker, #MakerEd, #MakerSpace, #3DPrinting, #3D, #3DPrint, #3Dprinter, and #3Dprinted
Schools all over the world are founding makerspaces in which students create anything from robots to 3-D print designs. Students are provided with a variety of materials for their creations, such as recyclables, maker kits, and old computer part. The hashtags above will allow you to see what students are making and learning in their own spaces — and offer you ideas about what you might bring to your own classroom or school.
Hashtags: #Coding, #Code, #KidsCanCode, #GirlsWhoCode, #CSK8, and #ComputerProgramming.
Learners of all ages are understanding how to use computer languages to program video games, drones, and websites. Coding doesn’t only take place in computer classes anymore! Teachers in all disciplines integrate coding to get students writing and creating while learning about all different subjects. Follow the hashtag #HourofCode to participate in the international Hour of Code event taking place in over 100 countries on December 7 through 13, 2015.
6. Growth Mindset vs. Fixed Mindset
Hashtags: #GrowthMindset, #Rigor, and #Grit
Growth mindset is based on the inspiring work of Carol Dweck, a psychologist from Stanford University, who advocates for educators to transform students' thinking from fixed mindsets, in which they believe their intelligence and talents are preset traits, to growth mindsets, in which they believe that their talents are malleable and can be developed. Many buzzwords used in schools today, like rigor and grit, have emerged out of research on the growth mindset. Follow these trends on social media to find information that can help your students learn — and grow — from challenges they face.
7. Game-Based Learning
Hashtags: #GameBasedLearning, #GBL, and #MinecraftEdu
Students can play various online games to learn just about anything, from digital citizenship to graphic design. Many educators will also use a popular game, like Minecraft, to create dynamic lessons about geography, math, and history. Some teachers even encourage students to design their own games for their peers using GetKahoot, Tiny Tap (iOS/Android) mobile app, and Scratch EDU.
Hashtags: #Gamification and #gamify
Gamification differs from game-based learning in that it involves teachers designing their curricula with game-like features, such as leveling up, badges, eggs, and points (instead of grades). For original ideas on how to gamify your own classroom, follow the above hashtags on social media.
9. Design Thinking
Design Thinking is described as a mindset and structured approach used to solve challenges at schools through the processes of discovery, interpretation, ideation, experimentation, and evolution. Teachers are using design thinking to discover how best to structure their classrooms. The hashtags above will help you explore design thinking in action.
This article is part of a series on the best hashtags for teachers and parents to follow. Read the first article, 10 Twitter Hashtags All Teachers Should Follow, and stay tuned for these upcoming posts: 10 Hashtags Every Education Leader Should Follow, 15 Must-Follow Hashtags for Parents (Don't Tell Your Kids!), and Follow These 14 Hashtags for Education Technology Updates.
Blackwell, L. S., Trzesniewski, K. H., & Dweck, C. S. (2007). Implicit theories of intelligence predict achievement across an adolescent transition: A longitudinal study and an intervention. Child Development, 78(1), 246–263. Retrieved October 2015, from Child Development
Davis, V. (2014, February 21). Gamifying education: Do we really know how to gamify the classroom? Retrieved October 2015, from Cool Cat Teacher
IDEO & Riverdale Country School (2014). Design Thinking for Educators Toolkit. 2nd ed. Retrieved October 2015, from Design Thinking for Educators
McGonigal, J. (2011). Reality is broken: Why games make us better and how they can change the world. New York, NY: Penguin Press.
The White House (2013). Educate to Innovate. Retrieved October 2015, from The White House