USING HASHTAGS AS A TEACHING RESOURCE IN HIGHER EDUCATION
In recent years, social networks have been gradually incorporated into the educational landscape, becoming formative educational resources that integrate the teaching-learning processes. In addition, they constitute powerful tools for permanent lifelong education, which may ensure the autonomous use by students outside of the classroom. In this regard, much evidence exists which demonstrates that students have a positive attitude towards its academic use, fostering their involvement and knowledge. Among the most popular social networks in use, Twitter can be singled out, as it is currently having the greatest impact on the world of education due to its large size and ease of use.
In this submission we show the usefulness of hashtags in the field of higher education via an experiment carried out during the course "Information Technology and Communication applied to Education", taught in the first year of varying degrees of Teaching at the University of Burgos.
Hashtags, also known as labels, are preceded by symbols called hash marks (#) and are used to identify issues in a manner similar to key words, which help to highlight specific content in the classroom for easier identification by the student. Eighty-three Elementary Education degree students and sixty Teaching degree students took part in this trial and all used Twitter as an educational tool. Profiles were individually created by them and, simultaneously, a subject hashtag was generated for each of the two groups: # PRIMUBU15 and # PEDUBU15.
Over the course of the subject students’ tweeted diverse content related to information and communication technology for education using the hashtags created. At the same time, an educational radio project was developed, creating a new hashtag called #RadioEdUBU. This was used as a channel for the distribution of their projects, the progress made at the time and the results obtained.
The objectives of this educational practice were as follows:
• The comprehension and utilization of social networks from an educational perspective that allows students to bring it into professional practice, promoting interaction and communication with working teachers.
• To contribute to informal education and lifelong learning as a basic element of ones Personal Learning Network (PLN, Personal Learning Network) and promulgate through social networks the work done on the subject.
Once the experiment was finalised, and with a view to understanding the usage and development of hashtags, various monitoring tools were employed: TAGS (Twitter Archiving Google Spread sheet), TweetReach and Tweet Binder. All these tools were used in their free version, affirming their importance and significance while reflecting the evolution of these training processes.
Finally, we can conclude that students were satisfied with their experience, which was demonstrated by their massive involvement in the subject through the use of hashtags as a teaching resource.