The Power of the Hashtag in Assessment

by Jodie Lopez

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If you use social media (Twitter/Facebook/LinkedIn or similar) then you will, by now, know about the power of the hashtag (#). A simple act of punctuation which, when added the the start of a word or phrase, can lead you to lots more messages on the same topic. On Twitter they are a great way of tweeting with others who are watching the same TV show as you at the same time (#DancingOnIce for example). They can also be used to find information on a particular thing or place (i.e. #DisneylandParis) or even to find a new job (#teachervacancyUK). The idea is that you can find all public posts relating to the same topic, even from people who you do not follow and are not friends with.

So why and how is the hashtag so important in assessment? Kinteract has the answer!

In Kinteract you can add hashtags when you are completing any of the 'cards' on the platform (Observations/Next Steps/Assessments/Assignments etc) in order to help you filter and search for other cards which match the same hashtag. In the first instance this works to tag all evidence relating to specific curriculum objectives as well as whole strands (#science). All objectives and strands will already have hashtags allocated to them and you, as a teacher, can add them to any card although you may restrict parents and students from adding hashtags to the curriculum areas if you wish (via the school admin account). If you do choose to have parents and students also adding curriculum hashtags it can be a great way to share ownership, especially where #NextSteps and #Assignments are involved!

Once you are using the hashtags Kinteract has a very special trick up its sleeve - a powerful AI engine which will cleverly and efficiently suggest hashtags for you based on the content of the card or post you are writing. The more you use the feature the more clever the AI becomes and this means your work gets faster every time! 

It works for any curriculum you are using in school and have added in to Kinteract, plus all of the global curricula we already have available for you to use. You may choose to add in criteria and hashtags past the traditional curricula too. Maybe you want to ask parents and students to add evidence from home to build up their #ActivityPassport portfolios? Or you want to have a more general check across school to see how much work is #crosscurricular. Maybe you want to add some #values based posts so you can track evidence for that or some #artsmark or #ecoschools work for building your school portfolio to get your awards.

You do not have to add every hashtag via the curricula you have in Kinteract - you can add your own user-created hashtags whenever you like. Maybe you are doing a topic on #superheroes and want to be able to collate all the photos later. Or you are studying #Shakespeare and want to gather all of the work for a display at a later point. Whatever you need to find later is worthy of a hashtag. You can go minimal on their use or do some multi-hashtag-bombing like you can see on Instagram posts. 

The brilliance and beauty of the hashtags in Kinteract is that they are as flexible as you need/want them to be. Imagine the scenarios below and how they could make a difference in your school:

1) You are the English Coordinator for a large primary school. You need evidence of the impact of the recent focus on #wholeclassreading. No need to conduct multiple book scrutinies and try and triangulate evidence from multiple sources next to your tracking sheets. A simple search in Kinteract reveals every post made by teachers for both observations, assessments and next steps. You can then filter by each type to see the overall impact and gather together great evidence for inspectors, the LA, governors and for in-school displays! 

2) You are a form tutor for a Year 9 class. You want to see if your work on #schoolvalues has had an impact outside of your classroom. You ask staff to add observations and tag in #schoolvalues each time one of your form class does something which exhibits one of the values - helping a friend, handing in homework on time, and so on. You also ask parents and students to get involved and add their own evidence from home and encourage them to live the #schoolvalues wherever they are. A quick search in Kinteract and then filtering by who the posts are by will show you how far your work is spreading!

3) You are the Science Head of Department in an all-through academy school. You are organising #scienceday2019 and want people to add ideas for planning as well as to evidence everything done in class and at home towards your special science day. You are also asking parent volunteers to get involved for the day and ask them to tag you and add the hashtag in any posts and photos added that day. With such a large school to gather evidence for this makes your search for the science day a breeze and helps you to compile a school book using an online photo website which can print out some of the posts with the comments attached into books that the parents can order copies of to keep too.

How will you use your hashtags in Kinteract? Do let us know, we would love to share your ideas with all of our community!