Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest, oh my! Twitter and Discord now give TikTok a try.
This week I signed up for an account and started exploring TikTok. Truth be told, I am not into it yet. My little interaction with the platform hasn’t drawn me in. When I use other platforms such as Facebook or Instagram, I rarely watch the videos. Since TikTok is all videos, perhaps that is why it isn’t drawing me in. I found this video to see what I was missing from exploring blindly for a few days. It goes through all the features of Tiktok and how to use the mobile app on an iPhone.
I started looking for teachers and other educators to follow. I have found a few. I am not seeing the content that I would look for in social media such as lesson ideas, classroom management and reading intervention/strategies. What I am seeing are teacher outfits and classroom setups. However, I recently found this article with more ideas for using hashtags to help me find teachers using TikTok. Some of the most popular hashtags are #teachertips, #classroommanagement and #studentengagment. These are more of my area of interest that I will dive into in the coming weeks.
This next article is a must-read for teachers and parents. It is CBC article called Some teachers are using TikTok to reach teens but concerns over app’s effects persist. It presents many interesting ideas to consider. One is that TikTok is where many teens are getting their news from. This could be an opportunity for the teens to ask questions about what they are seeing but also for teachers and parents to talk to their children/ students about what news they are seeing. Opening up the chance for discussion. TikTok can capture attention and spark curiosity as one of the contributors says. This article points out the fact that the videos are all short and you move on to the next. What is this doing to the attention span of youth and how will this affect them at school?
This week, I also had a conversation with my 12-year-old nephew about TikTok. I learned that he does have an account and thinks that there are some bad things on there. I asked if he felt there was any educational value. He thought there was because he could watch cooking and baking videos to help him learn new things as baking is one of his interests. Otherwise, Auntie, it’s not very good. That got me thinkings and searching for more articles. My takeaway from these articles is that TikTok is really no different from other social media platforms when it comes to pros and cons. Cyberbullying can happen on any of the platforms as well as getting down “rabbit holes” looking for information.
The first article is 8 Pros and Cons of TikTok. I found that these pros and cons could apply to any platform. For example, some pros are: it’s entertaining, it’s a creative outlet and you could make friends. Making friends is one that makes me a bit nervous. The cons are: being exposed to sexual predators, it can harm your privacy and the negative comments that can be received. All of this leads me to the importance of educating our children/ students on how we can protect our privacy and being aware of the other cons.
The next two articles that would be important for parents and teachers to be aware of comes from the Cyber Bullying Research Centre website. The first is another list of pros and cons. There are some great points here that would be important for adults to be aware of to share with children. One is that when you sign up for an account it is automatically public. You have to go into the setting to set up your privacy settings. That article led me to the TikTok Top Ten Tips for Teens. This is a great place for parents and teens to start having a conversation about the platform and how to use it more safely.
I also went looking for #gardening ideas to help with my major project. This is where I found some success and a few accounts that will be helpful going forward. Stay tuned for more from @texasgardenguy . He has lots of great gardening tips.
I see both pros and cons of using TikTok. Will I continue once this class is complete, I am not sure, yet! My biggest takeaway is to continue to have conversations with students and children about the social media they are using to help them use it safely but also as connection point. I look forward to having further conversations with my nephew on the topic.
What are some of your favourite accounts to follow as an educator or other?