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Why TikTok Might Be Worth a Teacher’s Time

May 28, 2021

Have you considered TikTok as a resource for educators? I’ve been a fan of TikTok for awhile now, and no, you won’t catch me posting videos with dance routines. TikTok is full of useful information, from pasta recipes like the viral feta and penne trend, to how-to videos. In today’s blog post we’ll take a look at videos for teachers that fall somewhere in between the categories of new recipes to try out and step-by-step videos. You can learn on TikTok — here’s how!

TikTok videos made by educators and for educators are full of helpful information. 

Below you’ll learn a few reasons why TikTok might be worth your time and tips for using this app to gather ideas. You’ll discover how this app has changed my view on professional learning and how it might just inspire student creations!

This blog post is a modified version of the transcript to a past episode of the Easy EdTech Podcast. It’s a little more conversational than how I normally write — because this is taken from a favorite podcast episode. Rather listen than read? Click here or press play below.

What is TikTok? 

TikTok is a social app where you can make, watch, and share vertical videos that are 60-seconds or less. You don’t have to make TikTok videos to get value out of the app. Although I’ve made a handful of videos to post to TikTok, today’s blog post is all about consuming TikTok videos and why it might be worth it to spend a few minutes each day checking out content on this platform.

Learn With TikTok on the Go

The short videos on TikTok often pack a punch, and are all much shorter than watching a series of YouTube videos. A YouTube clip is great for a true step-by-step guide when you want to learn something new. But what about all the things you don’t know that you don’t know? I find that this is where TikTok comes in handy. 

You can watch a few videos back-to-back and decide if there is something you’d like to dive into a little deeper. For example, you might see a video with a classroom tip that is interesting, but not related to your practice. Then another video might pop up with a tip for student responses you never even considered. This might lead you to “favorite” or bookmark the video and come back to it later.

Although TikTok videos are accessible on the web, most of my viewing takes place on the mobile app. Maybe I’m waiting for hot water to boil as I’m making tea in the morning and watch a few clips. Or perhaps it’s the end of the day and I take a quick look to check out new videos. The TikTok algorithm will suggest plenty of videos for you, but you can go to the “Discover” part of the app and search for hashtags like #TeacherTikTok or #GoogleClassroom to find tips. Similar to how you might already use Twitter, if you see a user or hashtag you like, you can click on it to find related content.

If you like to learn on the go, quick TikTok videos are a great way to learn something new while you’re on the move. 

TikTok videos made by educators and for educators are full of helpful information. You can learn on TIkTok, here's how!

Find Tips to Save You Time

TikTok is full of quick tips, and my favorite ones are the time-saving tips posted in this rapid-fire format. What do these look like? Time-saving tips on TikTok typically show you a quick fix or hack for a task you regularly do. One of my favorite examples of tips to save you time comes from Mike Tholfsen. His TikTok channel is full of micro tips where he shares quick ideas on how to save time using Microsoft tools. 

Because TikTok is a short video format, the tips you find on this app often fall into the time-saving category. From keyboard shortcuts that make it easier to work within a slide deck or document, to tips on how to save time when setting up an assignment in Teams or Schoology, TikTok is full of time-saving tips.

TikTok videos are very shareable, even if you have colleagues who are not a fan of this app. You have a few options to share a time-saving tip with a colleague. There is the option to share the video as a link or to download the video and save it to your device. If you have a colleague who is a bit skeptical about TikTok, sharing the video file might be the best option. If you decide to share the video on another social media platform you use, like Twitter or Facebook, then the link is the best option.

Get Inspiration for Student Projects

Now for the last tip on the list, I am not advocating for bringing TikTok directly into your classroom. And I’m not encouraging you to upload student videos to TikTok. Instead, a reason you should consider exploring this platform, might include a commitment to using these types of videos for inspiration for student creations. Creating a short video might seem easy but it takes a lot of planning to communicate an idea in 60 seconds or less.

You might use a video tool like Apple Clips, Premiere Rush, Spark Video, or others to have students create short videos. These videos might include topics like a series on lab safety where students each make a short video with a different tip. Or you might have students give a concise recap of a current events article or share an argument from a persuasive essay. The possibilities are endless if you think of this style of video being “open-ended” and ready to go in any direction.

Ready to learn with TikTok?

Whether I’ve convinced you to take a look at TikTok for the first time or simply revisit it with a new lens, I hope you’ve found this blog post helpful. If you find some helpful TikTok accounts for teachers I would love to hear about them. Send me a message or tag me @classtechtips on all socials!

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Dr. Monica Burns is a former classroom teacher, Author, Speaker, and Curriculum & EdTech Consultant. Visit her site ClassTechTips.com for more ideas on how to become a tech-savvy teacher.

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