Home Digital Literacy Hashtag Heroism: Rise Against the Wind

Hashtag Heroism: Rise Against the Wind

by Miguel Guhlin
hashtag heroism

Are you ready to save the world, one hashtag at a time? Why not engage in hashtag heroism? This is an attempt to save the world with hashtags that show unity and respect. It is life-affirming to engage in hashtag heroism, and I invite you to share your positive story. Tag your efforts on the behalf of others using these hashtags:

#hashtagheroism #tcea

Be unafraid to show how you, or perhaps others who have have helped you, have risen against the wind…the winds of adversity, oppression, and personal obstacles. Of course, how is this relevant in the classroom? Empowering children to speak up and to find their voices can be one of the most important actions adults model for younger learners.

What is a hashtag?
A hashtag…make[s] it less demanding for users to discover messages on a particular topic or substance.


My first introduction to hashtag heroism came during the 2017 TCEA Convention & Exposition. I found myself fascinated by the evening news. Since I happened to be playing with Typorama (a quote-making iOS app), I felt compelled to make a few images. I shared them via Instagram and then Twitter. Were these acts of hashtag heroism? It depends on your perspective. While hashtag heroism never replaces action, it does offer a way to galvanize others to action. In this blog entry, we’ll explore hashtag heroism and how technology can amplify student voices.

hashtag heroism

Frederick Douglass’ words, which I heard for the first time at an AVID Conference from Mary Catherine Swanson, have stuck with me down the long years.

Power Concedes Nothing

One event that exemplifies the power of a hashtag is the use of the #ShePersisted hashtag, which was meant to show the indomitable spirit of women in the face of oppression. It’s about standing up and helping others. Hashtag heroism is often about turning a negative experience into an opportunity to connect, to join hands, and to move forward. In the past, the time lag between a problem that needed solving and the communication efforts required to address it was long. Now, that time gap has been closed and the lag shortened.

#ShePersisted – Add Your Own to this Google Photos Album

As you might imagine, women who persist in the face of adversity and oppression of all sorts rise against the wind. Consider Malala’s story (read her children’s book) as one example. The hashtag #metoo highlights the struggle against sexual harassment and oppression. Whether you agree with hashtag heroism efforts like #metoo or not, it’s clear that these efforts have the potential to go global.

Today, our children have access to powerful communication tools. These empower them, as transmediated learners, to take action in the ways that are as effective as those of adults. Our children are introduced to these social media approaches at home, in school, and on their own. As educators, it is our responsibility to introduce them to social media uses that are responsible and appropriate and that focus on learning. Young learners are becoming hashtag heroes with the help of teachers. “If one girl can change the world, imagine what 130 million could do?,” asks Malala. It is a question each of us would do well to ask our own children and our own students.

#OneSmall Thing

Another example of #hashtagheroism is  the #OneSmallThing hashtag that encourages users to share one small step they are taking toward a larger goal. “We invite teachers to tackle small change in a big way,” say Melissa White and Lacey Snyder (Teacher2Teacher). Big impacts can come from making small changes, one at a time. These can add up to big changes, these teachers assert. This is a great example of #hashtagheroism.

#OneSmallThing’s free toolkit (@Teacher2Teacher) offers some suggestions to get started, such as:

  1. Give yourself some time to think. Consider an area of practice you’ve been wanting to improve.
  2. Zoom in. Ask yourself “What’s a single, concrete step I can take toward this goal?” Use this framing: I will [your #OneSmallThing] to [your larger goal].
  3. Check out the #OneSmallThing inspiration library. Their inspiration library features other teachers’ #OneSmallThing ideas. You can pick one from the library to serve as inspiration while you write your own.
  4. Enter your own #OneSmallThing into their generator in 100 characters or less.
  5. Share your #OneSmallThing!

Their efforts have spurred more #hashtagheroism:

Call to Action

How will you empower your students to become hashtag heroes, to “make small changes in a big way?” Allow me to invite you to pick a local problem and make an effort to shine some sunlight on it. Rely on social media to focus the spotlight of human interest that will engage your learners, no matter their age. Will you rise up and show others how you do it?

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