Author Archives: Christopher Weber

All about me – but not really ALL!

I am very excited to begin learning about Blended and Online Learning in EC&I834 with Katia Hildebrandt

My name is Chris Weber and I have been Teaching for almost 15 years. The first 9 years were spent teaching in New Westminster, B.C. and included everything from grade 3 to grade 8 including teaching in a public Montessori school and two middle schools. For the last 6 years I have been teaching in Regina at École Dr. A.E. Perry School where I have been the Vice Principal for the last 2 years. GOOOOOO Panthers!

As a side hustle, I help out my husband when I have time doing deliveries or working the front counter for his business: Queen City Cakes (insert shameless business plug here, what can I say?). When I am not busy helping him out I spend a lot of time with our dog Murphy and shoveling the endless amount of snow we are getting this winter.

I am usually pretty active on Twitter – I just recently won a signed copy of a graphic novel by Hiromi Goto, and I am very excited to read it.  If you would like to follow me on Twitter – and I will definitely follow you back – you can find my account right HERE!

Three Goals For Learning in EC&I 834

  1. First and foremost I am really interested in learning about the different ways in which I can incorporate blended learning into my teaching. Being that I am not teaching online, at all, I see it as an opportunity to run a Flipped classroom model style of teaching that incorporates more digital content.
  2. I want to do a better job this term in staying up to date with classmates blogs and to make sure I make contributions to them by commenting on the blogs.
  3. My last goal is to make a conscious effort to try out what we are learning week-to-week in the classroom. I am hoping to make this learning relevant for me and my students.

Final Learning Project Summary

It all started with a book, a book I read this summer, a book that became more than just a book. This book became a learning project for EC&I 831 and evolved into something quite special. This book is called “Fish out of Water” by Joanne Levy.

“Fish out of Water” is about a boy named Fishel who needs to come up with a bar Mitzvah project that “gives of himself” back to the community. Fishel or Fish as his family and friends call him has always loved the green, pink, and purple socks his grandmother has knit him. He described them as a loving hug from his Bubby even when she was not there. For his Mitzvah project he decided he would like to learn how to knit and then knit socks for children who were living in shelters or in care to let them know that someone in the world was thinking of them.

Fishel is met with resistance by his Bubby who believes that knitting is for old women, and his friends who think that knitting is for girls. For a long time he didn’t want to tell anyone about his project because he didn’t understand why so many people didn’t think he should do it. When he finally told his teacher, then his Rabbi, and then his mother they showed him that knitting is for whoever wants to do it, even his grandfather – Zaida – thought it was a great idea. In fact #boyscanknit!

When Professor Alec Couros introduced this learning project to our class, it didn’t take me long to decide that I was going to learn how to knit. I already knew that I was going to read this book to my classes, but I didn’t know that I would be able to show them in reality that #boyscanknit. I was super excited to get started!

In my first blog post I showed how I started by exploring different tutorial websites and YouTube videos. I ended up settling on Sheep and Stich with Devina because of the high quality videos that didn’t have much advertising. I really liked her videos because they got straight to the point, and the high quality videos were easy to focus on while also trying out what I was learning at the same time.

My learning started to take off. I learned pretty quickly how to cast on – getting the yarn ready on the needle to start knitting. It is the first step, and then the basic knit stich. I was pretty slow at first (and lets face it I still am pretty slow, but much faster than I was), but soon enough I had completed a dish cloth. As I showed in my second blog post I had a lot of difficulty figuring out how to cast off. Casting off is necessary to complete your work so it doesn’t all unravel. It was difficult to tell in the video just how to do it properly, and I thought I was messing it up. A few of my loops ended up coming off the needle and I had no idea how to recover from that. I ended up with:

Image

I decided that I couldn’t wait a long time before getting another chance to cast off, so I decided to quickly knit a swatch and then attempt it again. This second time was a success. I did it! In my video at the 2:50 mark you can see what I was able to accomplish.

Once I figured out how to cast off the next thing I wanted to learn was how to knit faster, and how to add a different colour into a project. Ohh boy! I didn’t quite realize what I was getting myself into. Hours, and hours, and hours later I finally finished a spool of yarn and was ready to add another. My sister in law was super helpful here. It just happened to be Thanksgiving so her family was in town and she is a knitter. She also happens to be a great teacher (so thank-you very much Amanda Thompson).

Once I started it took another very long stretch of time to finish something. Knitting is a perfect example of needing to practice the art of patience because when you are first starting up it is a slow and steady art form. However, after a lot of time and patience I finished something that I am very proud of. You can watch the big reveal in my third blog update video or just see the pic below.

After knitting the above shawl I attempted to knit a toque by using circular needles. I was able to figure out how to use them, however as I demonstrated in the video from my forth blog post what I was hoping would be a toque ended up for a giant head, so my attempt was a failure, but the lessons I learned were valuable. I learned that patterns are available for a reason and I should try to use one the next time I am going to attempt a toque, and based on how curly my finished product ended up I needed to learn how to do a different stich.

Since my last post I learned how to purl with the following video:

I’m still working on it as it is another one that takes a long time. It is basically like reverse knitting so you have to unlearn everything you thought you knew and start all over again. In my first attempt I have no idea what happened but I started with 25 stiches and ended up with over 30. You’ll notice that in one part of the project it gets wider and that is exactly where I ended up with more stiches. The one part I found difficult was once I had finished a row of purl stich, I had to do the next row regular knit stich and I had a hard time figuring out where to start. Perhaps that is why it ended up with extra loops???

You can tell the purl stich by looking at how the pattern changes.

The project I am currently working on is a scarf. I started with a regular knit stich followed by 1 row of purl 3 regular then another row of purl stich. I plan on finishing the scarf with the same pattern. Below is what I have so far.

I have really enjoyed doing this project because of the interesting conversations I have had with others, such as one parent who ended up sending me a book to peruse through.

I haven’t had an opportunity to really look through it yet but the few pages I looked at were super confusing. I am definitely a learner who has so see something being done and then have the opportunity to do it myself. The images and explanations in this book are daunting to me however I may give a pattern a try over the Christmas break.

I think the most significant thing to come from this learning project has been the conversations I have had with my students. Because we are reading the book “Fish out of Water” in class and I have shown students my own knitting projects, I have found that opening up about myself in the classroom, students have opened up about themselves a little bit more. We have had some really deep conversations and have been able to connect at a completely different level. Many more students have told me about the stereotypes that affect them, and how they don’t fit into societies mold of how boys and girls should be and the things they should do. Another thing I have noticed is the number of students who have felt comfortable talking to me about their sexuality, or about being transgender. They have told me many times that there are more than two genders and we have all decided that we need to be careful about using the words boys and girls.

The lesson in “Fish out of Water” is to trust yourself and to do the things that make you happy. The main character Fish doesn’t like typical boy things and as he challenges gender stereotypes be breaks down barriers and show to the reader how harmful these stereotypes can be and the value of being true to yourself. I won’t give away the ending but I would be lying if I said that I didn’t cry a little (out of happiness for Fish) because #BoysCanCry and they certainly can #knit. #BoysCanKnit

OER – Open Learn

First off I’d like to say thank-you to Dalton for posting about Merlot. I was thinking of exploring that website, however after Dalton’s evaluation of the website I decided my time would be better spent on another one. I wanted to explore a website that I had never used before, so a few of them were out – OER Commons, TED Ed, Khan Academy, and Wiki Educator, but it still left me with a pretty extensive list to go from. I settle on Open Learn because I really liked the look of the website.

Snapshot of open.edu/openlearn/ website

The look of the website is what really drew me in. The set up is super easy to navigate and the colourful, vibrant pictures make it very visually stimulating. So I decided to sign up for an account and start exploring to see what I could find.

First off all it is extremely user friendly. If the navigation bar doesn’t help you to find what you want then you can scroll down the page to the “Get Inspired” section of the home page and do exactly as it says Get Inspired!

Get Inspired course topics

I really like how every course has the number of hours it will take to complete the course as well as a level. Within the open education courses there are three levels. 1 – Beginner, 2 – Intermediate, and 3 – advanced. In the frequently asked questions section say that the levels indicate how much of the information is accessible to you given your educational background. The website creators recommend starting with courses rated level 1 if you have no background in the subject matter. In addition to the courses they also have links to articles, videos, and activities in multiple subject areas. So, if you don’t have 24 hours to complete a course you can search for one of these time saver options.

Open Education has over 1000 courses, videos, and content that you can access with your free account and starting is very easy. You can either type in your search at the top of the site, or scroll down the home page and choose a subject area. All easy to navigate and user friendly.

Topics on Open.edu

Are the resources high quality? Yes I would definitely say they are – most videos are user generated so they don’t have all the bells and whistles of a studio, however the sound quality is good and the information being presented is pretty good. The only thing I would mention is that the website is based out of England and Wales so some of the content is related to the UK so that is important to keep in mind. However, most of the subjects offered have universal benefits and can be used by anyone.

I looked up subjects in a few different areas and the content is really well organized and pretty easy to follow. For example if you want to know about earthquakes there are several options that come up.

Just searching Earthquakes I received 784 results. When I opened up a course that I really found interesting it took me to a page that laid out the course for me.

And gave me options to download the course content. I think it is great that users have four different options for downloading course content.

One other course that I evaluated was a Beginner French course, and for this course I would have to give it a failing grade. The course was supposed to teach me how to order food at a restaurant. Full disclosure: I know a little French so I was able to work through the course, however the actual course is not beginner and there is not much teaching. The first activity had me pair French foods to their English counterparts. If I didn’t know what they were I wouldn’t have been able to match them let alone pronounce them. How would I order anything at a restaurant if I didn’t learn how to say the words. So user beware, most of the courses are great, however there will definitely be some on the site that may not meet the users needs.

Lastly, would this website be a valuable tool to the educators that I work with? 100%, because we are asked to present information every day to our students. The thing I love about being an educator is the ability to engage in life long learning. Before I teach any lesson I always educate myself first. Sadly, in the past, this sometimes looked like reading ahead in a textbook. With https://www.open.edu/openlearn/ there are several courses that can give teachers the background knowledge that they need to work through course content. In addition they may also come across a video or pictures that may be of interest to their class as they work through the content of the course. The user can use open learn to do a variety of different things as seen in the graphic below. The one thing that I didn’t explore and will definitely look at in the future is the sister site OpenLearn Create.

Overall I think this website is a valuable resource that I will be recommending it to colleagues.

Improving the speed and quality of research via shared algorithm implementations
“Improving the speed and quality of research via shared algorithm implementations” by opensourceway is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

Open Education – our ultimate future in education

If you were to go back 30 years and look into a classroom what would you see? Even more importantly what would it look like in a staffroom or in the halls before school starts or at the end of the day? In some schools and with some teachers you may see some collaboration but for the most part there would not be a lot of sharing. For whatever reason teachers liked to keep things to themselves. Maybe they thought about the amount of time and effort they put into a lesson and didn’t want to give anyone else a short cut?

50 Teacher Memes That Will Make Teachers Laugh, Then Cry | Bored Panda
https://www.boredpanda.com/funny-teachers-memes/?utm_source=google&utm_medium=organic&utm_campaign=organic

Teaching is stressful and takes a lot of work so why didn’t more teachers support each other in the past. When I was in my first few years of teaching I would often hear conversations about how hard it used to be and how everyone kept everything so guarded. Fast-forward to the present and I think we are doing a much better job in sharing our resources and helping each other out, however when it comes to our teaching style have we adapted to the learning environment enough? How do we keep our students engaged in their education? How do we make them feel in control of their education? Or, do they feel as though they have a voice in their education?

My mind continuously goes back to Teachers Pay Teachers and I wonder why they are so popular. As Curtis stated in his blog TPT is a rip off, and I would like to add that having students fill out worksheet after worksheet doesn’t really lend itself to any critical thought.

However, when you go to the about page on the TPT site they say their vision is to:

“Unlock the collective wisdom of teachers.”

TPT

I think the founder Paul Edelman’s initial idea was a good one. He said that when he used ideas from other teachers in his classroom his students did better. The whole idea behind TPT was to allow teachers to share their expertise and resources. All-in-all a great idea right? But, ask yourself: how have I used TPT resources in my classroom? For me the answer is simple, they are filler, they don’t really add anything that I couldn’t have come up with on my own, however they have saved me time. So why are we still paying for this stuff, in American dollars I may add, when there is tonnes of great stuff available on the internet FOR FREE!!!!!!!?

Free Trial — Empower Engine

Enter Open Education

When thinking about Open education there are two things to really think about, Open Education Practices, and Open Education Resources. According to the website Carl-abrc.ca they define Open Education practice as: “teaching and learning practices where openness is enacted within all aspects of instructional practice, including the design of learning outcomes, the selection of teaching resources, and the planning of activities and assessment.” It goes on to say that both teachers and learners work to collaborate and share knowledge which in turn empowers students to be a part of their learning journey.

They go on to define Open education resources as being “free to use and openly licensed teaching and learning materials which can include textbooks, course reading lists, assignments, case studies, lectures and other forms of learning materials that have been produced by experts and educators in the field.” Blink Tower created an excellent video that explains open education. They have done a great job explaining it in easy to understand terms that really make sense.

I have to admit that prior to watching this video and having the lesson on Nov.2 with Dr. Alec Couros I really didn’t know what open education was. However, after reading about it in others blogs such as Amanda from the class in 2019, Edutopia on different sharing platforms, and then the jackpot!!!! Finding OER Commons and the plethora of resources available on their site, I have really begun the personal journey of rethinking my pedagogy and how I look at teaching in the 21st century.

My Thoughts on Open Education

I Love it! As educators we need to share, and we need to discuss, and collaborate. Create sharing communities all around the world. The best unit I ever taught was in career Ed and it seems like eons ago. The unit had students choose a profession they were interested in, research it, and then contact and interview someone who was working in the field. Students were super excited about the project and loved the knowledge they learned from their “expert.” One of my students, who interviewed a pilot, got to go up in a plane and get a tour of the lower mainland from a pilot’s perspective. Another interviewed a paleontologist at the Drumheller museum and got to see dinosaur fossils that weren’t on display. I remember thinking that this was an amazing assignment so why haven’t I done it more? It wasn’t difficult for me, but I didn’t have anyone else to really talk about it with.

As educators we need our sounding boards, we need other teachers who are just as passionate about sharing ideas and creating opportunities that involve our students in their own learning. I have to say that this project that I had my students work on died a slow death and cannot be classified as open education because I didn’t share it with anyone, there was no open blog post about it, no tweets, nothing! How would I do it differently now? I would share with the world, and have my students share it. They could document their learning through a blog, or by making a YouTube video, or using a class Twitter account. In addition, we could share the assignment with other classrooms and think about a way to make a lesson plan accessible to other teachers. I strongly believe that students would be able to assist in the lesson plan creation.

To conclude, I strongly believe that what Dean Shareski states in his video: “Sharing the moral imperative” to be so true. Education is sharing and we have a moral imperative to share with a greater audience that just the students in front of us every day. “People come to know about things through stories.” Well, I love telling stories and having an audience to listen to them. I can’t wait to see where this new journey takes me.

Technical knowledge sharing could be the future of the channel | Channel Pro
https://www.channelpro.co.uk/advice/11995/technical-knowledge-sharing-could-be-the-future-of-the-channel

Thanks for reading!

Learning Project Update

It has been awhile since I have done an update, and for good reason. I wanted to have something finished to show everyone, and I have finally done it. Before I share with you I should probably explain where I started, my purpose, and then finally the big reveal.

“Wool – oops, no it’s mostly ‘yarn'” by Daffydil is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

As you all presumably know I have been teaching myself to knit. It all started thanks to a book called “Fish out of Water” by Joanne Levy. In the book a boy wants to learn how to knit because he wants to make people socks just like his grandma. However, he takes a lot of slack from his friends, and his grandma for wanting to knit because “boys don’t knit.” I have been reading this book to both my 4/5 and 5/6 ELA classes and they are loving it. Many of them are annoyed by the stereotype that boys can’t knit and we have had several chats about this and other harmful stereotypes in society. I am getting ahead of myself because I decided that this “boy” aka me, was going to learn how to knit before I started reading my classes the book. I wanted to show them a real life example of going against the grain, and not listening to what others say.

So far it has been a really interesting journey of learning, talking with others, sharing, and working really hard to accomplish something that started out to be pretty difficult but ended up becoming something that I a proud of.

My journey started here:

I had to watch the videos several times, to try to actually figure out what she was doing. I found casting on pretty easy but everything after that was painstakingly slow and full of growing pains. Once I was pretty sure I wanted to start I headed to Michaels to purchase knitting needles and yarn, and there was my first mistake. In the video Davina (the instructor) talks about getting the correct sized needles as well as the right type of yarn to start learning with. I didn’t listen at all and bought what I wanted to buy. Of course when I got home, in all my excitement, I wanted to start immediately. AND…I failed right off the bat. The needles I purchased were to thin (5mm) and the yarn was also to small. I couldn’t see what I was supposed to be doing because everything was too tightly wound and close together. Oppps.

The journey back to Michaels

I had to go back and get the right size needles – now I was on a mission, I knew that I needed 9 mm or 10 mm needles and a thicker yarn. This time I got it right and came home with:

So that’s where I started. I have had great conversations with colleagues who have all offered to help. One in particular – Pat – showed me how I can sew in the tails of yarn. In the video below you will see what I mean.

The Big Reveal

The last time I made a post I was only about 8 inches into making my scarf and I can’t wait to show you the finished project. Please sit back and enjoy!

Thanks for watching!

Be the Change

For this week’s blog post we have been asked to address three questions:

  1. Can online social media activism be meaningful and worthwhile?
  2. Is it possible to have productive conversations about social justice online?
  3. What is our responsibility as educators to model active citizenship online?

The easy answer to these questions are yes, yes, and to some degree, I think? However, like many of the other students in this class have already mentioned, these questions are actually not as easy as that to answer. Having said that I do stand by my original answers. Yes I do believe that social media activism can be meaningful and worthwhile. Is it always? Absolutely not, but the question asks can it be – so yes I believe it can. Is it possible to have productive conversations about social justice online? Yes it is possible, does it always happen? No, but again it can happen. Lastly, what is our responsibility as educators to model active citizenship online? I think it is our responsibility to some degree, however, as Curtis mentioned in his blog there need to be some personal rules around posting, and critical thought needs to go into the post.

“Yes!” by Joe Shlabotnik is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

Can social media activism be meaningful and worthwhile?

In The Second Act of Social Media Activism Jane Hu defends the position that social media can in fact be meaningful and worthwhile. She brings up topics such as police abolition, occupy Wall Street, Black Lives Matter, #takeaknee, and women’s rights just to name a few. She mentions that “

In The Second Act of Social Media Activism Jane Hu defends the position that social media can in fact be meaningful and worthwhile. She brings up topics such as police abolition, occupy Wall Street, Black Lives Matter, #takeaknee, and women’s rights just to name a few. She mentions that “The uprisings might have unfolded organically, but what has sustained them is precisely what many prior networked protests lacked: preexisting organizations with specific demands for a better world.” Social media has allowed information to be disseminated at a rapid pace, and it brings people of a like mind together to demand change.

Hu finishes the piece by saying that memes and headlines help “codify the message that leads to broader, deeper conversations offline, which, in turn, build on a long history of radical pedagogy. As more and more of us join those conversations, prompted by the words and images we see on our screens, it’s clear that the revolution will not be tweeted—at least, not entirely.”

In Curtis’ blog I left a metaphor about planting a seed, that seems to fit with Hu’s message. If we can take a moment to plant a simple seed and and we think about where it is sowed, is it the right time, and we give it a lot of care and attention you can end up with a brilliant bloom. I like to think that some of my shares on Social Media can be the seed that creates the opportunity for someone else to think critically about a topic. Hopefully we can join in on conversations, or at least give us the right words to take part in conversations with our friends and families that will be the seeds of change to a better, brighter future.

Day Lilies Photo by Chris Weber

So if Social Media Activism can be meaningful, is it possible to have productive conversations about social justice online?

I feel like this topic is much more complicated. We live in a world right now full of disinformation, full of people who are either right wing, or left wing and will argue their point without even listening to what the other person is saying. It leaves you feeling frustrated, angry, and annoyed. Most of us end up surrounding ourselves with like minded people where we can have good conversations but in these circumstances we all agree. On the other hand, I have seen friends post on Facebook: “If you don’t agree with this please delete me as a friend” which is kind of ridiculous. Why can’t I disagree with you? Me disagreeing with you doesn’t mean that I don’t value our friendship, it just means that we don’t see eye to eye on a particular topic, shouldn’t we be able to discuss it?

I have made comments on people’s tweets and they come back swinging so hard I end up deleting my comment – so now I have entered the realm of self-censorship because it isn’t worth it to argue with a complete stranger on social media. I am very interested to hear other’s thoughts on this topic as I do believe it is “possible” however how likely is it to happen in this era of the web?

Educators modeling social activism online

As educators it is our job to help students become active citizens in society, this has been a teachers directive since schools have started in society. Where does this start and where does it end? According to Katya’s blog post we absolutely have a responsibility to model active citizenship online, and I 100% agree with her position IF we have students following us on social media. Students are deeply in tune with what is happening in the world, and they want to know that you are relevant and up-to-date on these issues. As long as I am being responsible and participating in a meaningful way, I do believe we have a commitment as educators to post.

Now, having said that, I would never criticize someone for not posting because we are all on separate journeys and may, for whatever reason, not feel comfortable posting about issues within society. My recommendation to those teachers is to start with one issue at first – chose an issue that your school board feels strongly about such as Truth and Reconciliation and start to “be the change you want to be in the world.”

"We but mirror the world. All the tendencies present in the outer world are to be found in the world of our body. If we could change ourselves, the tendencies in the world would also change. As a man changes his own nature, so does the attitude of the world change towards him. This is the divine mystery supreme. A wonderful thing it is and the source of our happiness. We need not wait to see what others do." - Mahatma Gandhi

The Legend of the Yarn

In the video above I talk about my knitting journey to date. Please have a watch and let me know what you think.

One thing I have learned about myself is that I am not a good visual learner when it comes to something intricate like knitting. I found it very difficult to figure out what they were doing in the videos until I had a knitting project in my hands.

With my newest project I am not really knitting anything, I am trying to get through the whole ball of yarn so I can learn how to add another ball of yarn to an existing project. This endeavor has taken me forever, but it has been pretty cool to see the progress as this piece of knitting gets longer.

I made a few posts on Twitter – including the author of “Fish Out of Water” Joanne Levy. Not only did she respond but she retweeted with a response. I thought that was pretty awesome.

For the rest of this project, I think I will continue with creating my “thought” videos, and will start to write reflections on my learning. My biggest worry about the project is how long it actually takes to knit, but I am determined to stick with it.

What do you think I should try next? I’ve been looking at knitting a toque and learning the long tail cast on using the video below. Any thoughts? Advice?

How many new TikTok accounts were in Regina this week?

Ohh where to start. I feel as though I am a Social Media junkie. I have Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Houseparty, Tumblr, Whatsapp, and of course Twitter. So what else is there right? In my head I kept thinking that I really, really did not want to add more addictive social media accounts to the many that I am already checking. So instead of instantly adding TikTok to my phone I did a little research into social media trends that kids are using.

108 Black Inlay on Steel Social Media Icons Set
“108 Black Inlay on Steel Social Media Icons Set” by webtreats is licensed under CC BY 2.0

There are so many that I have never even heard of, but out of all of them, the one that seems to be the most relevant (that I am not already using) is TikTok. I did however find a great article on Common Sense media that covers 18 Social Media Apps and Sites that kids are using. It is well worth a read as it tells parents (and teachers) what you need to know about the app/site. I didn’t realize how many of the sites were just chat apps that pair you with a random stranger. I thought it was better to avoid those apps and did finally succumb to the idea of downloading TikTok just like Leigh – I really didn’t want to but here we go!

Down the Rabbit Hole

First of all signing up was easy – really easy in fact. Once you download the app it asks you to select the topics you are interested in, and as you can see I chose many. I purposely left a few off like sports and food because I want to see if they creep into my feed even though I didn’t select them.

Next they ask for your birthday. I didn’t put in my real birthday and I thought to myself how easy it would be for our tech savvy youth (shout out to Dan Savage and the Tech Savvy Youth) to add any birthday they wanted and then I was in – I was able to start watching short videos and swipe up to the next one. After a couple minutes however it did have me create an account. I had options though – I could sign up through multiple options but settled on my gmail account.

Once I had an account it was easy to get lost in the land of TikTok. The videos are short and many of them are interesting or funny. For example:

@vancityreynolds

Late to the Grace Kelly trend but way early for our movie musical. I ❤ duets. (And Mika)

♬ original sound – Ryan Reynolds

And I couldn’t stop watching this one:

And sure enough “Food” did make it into my feed:

My Observations

This app is incredibly addicting and fun to watch. As my previous heading said: “down the rabbit hole” I went. I watched videos for way too many hours and I ended up missing a supper date with friends on Saturday night because I was watching TikTok videos and didn’t notice the time. I have to admit – it has been the most fun I have ever had doing research.

I think the biggest implications is has for kids is the fact that you can’t really control what is showing up in your feed. If you are worried about bad language then you are S.O.L. with this app. You never know when an F-bomb is going to drop, but I can tell you that it is dropped often and by people you would least expect to drop it – yes I’m talking about you vegan grandma TikTok lady! Another negative implication is that it is so addictive, our kids need to be getting outside and doing things not spending their free time watching other people on TikTok.

TikTok-im-Chat
“TikTok-im-Chat” by Christoph Scholz is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

On the positive side I found an article that talks about how the sharing of knowledge is an important side effect of TikTok. The article is an opinion piece but I do agree with what the author is saying. You can find just about anything on the app from cooking to making music. I like how kids now vs 10 years ago are more open to singing and dancing in front of each other, and even though some of the TikTok trends are destructive or dangerous there are other trends that encourage kindness, or working really hard on something to master it. TikTok is providing a means to show of what you have spent a long time perfecting or learning, and I don’t see anything wrong with that.

Implications for Education

Every parent/adult that plays a role in our students lives needs to know about the things they are interested in – knowing makes conversations so much easier. When we have a better understanding of the Social Media types that students are using we can talk with them about it and hope that we can help them make informed decisions. The Common Sense Media article that I posted earlier lists the following things that parents need to know:

  • Songs and videos contain lots of iffy content. Because the platform features popular music and a mix of teen and adult users, swearing and sexual content are commonplace.
  • There are often creepy comments. Though lots of comments are kind, videos often have comments about the performer’s body or other sexual references, and since kids under 13 and adults use the app, it’s especially creepy.
  • Gaining followers and fans feels important. Teens want a public profile to get exposure and approval, and many are highly motivated to get more followers and likes for their videos.

Lastly – to TikTok Trends

I have to admit I don’t like the trends that are showing up on TikTok. Before our last class I had no idea about the trends that were going on – I was clueless. We had a soap dispenser go missing from one of the changerooms at our school and we had no idea what had happened or why it had gone missing. My “ignorance is bliss” persona is now gone and I know that it is trending on TikTok. I was even able to find out who took the soap dispenser (not because I found the video – but because I have a pretty good relationship with parents at my school and I made a few calls. I found out pretty quickly who did it). All of this did lead to an idea.

I am going to try to start a new TikTok trend at my school!!! It is going to be through random acts of kindness. Students will record themselves doing something nice for someone. The video could end with a little reflection – maybe they could state why that person deserved having the deed done for them – or how it made them feel doing it. Just trying to look for a positive spin on the love of trends. If anyone has any other thoughts or suggestions please let me know.

I do believe there are many ways that TikTok could be incorporated into the classroom especially with the ability to record and inform. Students could record their understanding of a concept and post it to their account. Often times we learn so much better when we are the ones doing the teaching or explaining. It is just another avenue for students to solidify their knowledge. The other advantage is that unlike this blog post they have to be short and concise – as the maximum amount of time they would have to show their learning is 3 minutes. The list of hashtags below are the most popular Tiktok hashtags – check them out and enjoy!

#tiktok #foryoupage #fyp #foryou #viral #love #funny #memes #followme #cute #fun #music #happy #fashion #follow #comedy #bestvideo #tiktok4fun #thisis4u #loveyoutiktok