Thursday, September 26, 2013

Our living (hashtag) bulletin board

It is 2013. Almost 2014. The Pope tweets. Facebook has a billion users. Sticking with just the old standby of paper bulletin boards outside, and inside, your classroom no longer cuts it.

Now, I'm not trying to undercut the value of hanging student work on the walls, or reference materials crated on chart paper to help guide students during lessons. Creating paper artifacts in the classroom will always have value. What I'm talking about is truly showcasing the work. Hanging it up in the hall isn't showcasing beyond whom ever might walk by. It's time to showcase to the world, and never have to change it...

... This is where comes in. is a free service that takes a hashtag and creates a visual representation of all the social media platforms where that hashtag appears. They support Twitter, Instagram, Vine, Google+, Facebook, and

We have three hashtags @PS10Brooklyn:

At any time one or all three may be used, depending on what it being posted:

At the start of the year we send out "Photo release forms" that parents fill out granting permission for photos to be used for media, educational purposes, etc. Classroom teachers have copies of these, and there is a master list of who can & cannot be photographed - crucial for undertaking something like this.

The best part of the TagBoard is the aggregation. A parent doesn't need to have a Twitter or Facebook account to see what's happening at school. A teacher with an Instagram doesn't need to have a Twitter account to share with the community. The TagBoard is a great, central repository for community successes.

A great, related perk? Parents can share their photos of school events on the board too, just by adding the hashtags! During all-school events such as graduations & celebrations, parent-posted images appear alongside those of staff.

TagBoards are a great way to compile all those individual pictures from within a school community. It's a great way to engage parents (even if they don't post, parents say they love having the boards open at work so they can see what's happening).

Create a hashtag for your class or school. Create a free board using that tag. Now you have a living bulletin board accessible anywhere!

A point of reference - TagBoard doesn't keep any actual data, they just aggregate data from their linked sources, so the boards become empty over long vacations as services like Twitter purge API data after 7-14 days. For example, our #ps10st board is empty right now because students don't start tweeting until at least October (after appropriate lessons, etc)

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