The Plan

I begin my personal wellness project tomorrow, and I have to say I am actually quite excited about it. In the next two-three months I hope to establish some new lifestyle habits that will improve my quality of living. While one of my goals is to lose 8-10 pounds, my main focus is on improving my eating habits.

The myfitnesspal site/app seems to be a pretty slick tool. Both the food and exercise sections have a full library of foods and activities that simply allow you to select and add them to your daily lists. It calculates caloric intakes and expenditures for daily and weekly periods. It also generates daily caloric intake targets and weekly expenditure targets to assist you in meeting your pre-determined goals.

My nutrition goals are to eat more fruits and vegetables, focus on portion control, and reduce the amount of snacking that I do, which will in turn help me reduce the number of sugary foods that I eat. My diet as it currently is is not really that bad, but replacing morning cereal with fruit, yogurt, and granola is one simple way to improve it. Also, bringing only healthy food to school for lunch and snacks will force me to eat healthy during the day. Night will be my most challenging time as it is when I snack most often. Not buying snack foods, and sheer will power will have to get me through the evenings.

I have always been very active and diligent with my exercise habits. Work, completing my masters, and a two-year-old have made that more difficult. This project will force me to workout diligently to ensure that I am meeting my weekly caloric expenditure goals. The exercise routine that I envision is:

Sunday – muscular strength

Monday – aerobic

Tuesday – rest day

Wednesday – muscular strength

Thursday – yoga

Friday – aerobic

Saturday – aerobic

Aerobic exercises will consist of mainly running as long as the weather allows, along with stationary cycling. Muscular strength exercises will be mainly body weight and abdominal workouts. Yoga is something that will be new to me, but I think I will experience the most significant gains from it. I hope it helps my strength and flexibility. I plan to use some virtual workouts through youtube and other apps for many of my workouts. I will post them as I use them.

As tomorrow is my first official day, I will be posting my baseline stats and my progress for the day.

Week 3: EC&I 831- Major Digital Project- Student Portfolios

https://www.picmonkey.com/graphics/clip-art/sorry-im-late-clock

Well this is late, but I’m finally excited to undertake this major digital project with a topic that I am excited about! After looking over the great examples of student work and having a Zoom meeting with Alec, I have finally decided on a direction for my major digital project. I’m excited to learn about student ePortfolios. I really wanted to find a topic that would align with my current position and be something that I could use in the coming years. While option B and learning to play the guitar or become a better photographer made my short list, I really wanted to narrow my topic to something that would be relevant with my job.

 With Student-Led Conferences (SLCs) moving away from the traditional parent teacher interview model with teachers in charge, SLCs are now student-led and are powerful “opportunities for students to prepare, reflect on, and discuss evidence of their learning and growth by way of student portfolios.”

After watching my wife, Kendra, make physical (paper copies) of student portfolios for roughly 5 years for her Kindergarten students, I remember the constant debate and questioning why not make use of digital portfolios. While initial expectations were for the physical portfolios, our division slowly evolved to allow for digital portfolios. As Kendra began using Seesaw to document learning in her classroom, it was obvious how this became a powerful tool to showcase learning to families.

https://www.teachkidsart.net/time-to-make-portfolios/

Help me learn about your experience with student portfolios

How many of you have made use of digital portfolios? https://forms.office.com/r/yskUyiek00

With SLCs quickly approaching, I would like to work with a few of my high school teachers to begin piloting a few different e-portfolio tools. The goal of piloting a few different e-portfolio tools would be to eventually identify our school’s preferred platform for developing digital portfolios. Over the next few weeks, I would like to become more familiar with the following portfolio tools:

  1. Edbsy Portfolios
  2. MyBluePrint Portfolios
  3. SeeSaw
  4. Book Creator

I would then like to collaborate with others in my school to design the official process of what authentic student-led conferences could look like/ sound like in the high school setting. We are currently using a homeroom model for interviews and many teachers note that they do not teach their homeroom students. Consequently, the interview becomes more challenging because teachers cannot comment directly on the student’s learning. Therefore, to really make these homeroom interviews work, we need students to lead their interview and showcase and discuss evidence of their learning.

http://stemteachingtools.org/brief/6

I will need to develop an implementation guide to help support teachers, students, and parents make use of digital portfolios.

While teachers are constantly bombarded with new ideas and waves, I want the use of digital portfolios to be beneficial to their practice. I hope that digital portfolios will allow teachers to move away from traditional product-based assessments and incorporate more authentic assessment opportunities, that might reduce workload and time spent marking. The use of digital portfolios will also support the growth and development of assessment practices in my school and will help teachers to integrate more observation and conversation assessments. Providing students with choice is key to their success, and hopefully the use of portfolios will allow students to communicate their learning in new ways.   Digital platforms use to capture evidence of learning will also be used to provide authentic and timely feedback.

I will seek to learn more about the advantages and disadvantages of using student portfolios. Finally, I will seek to understand how senior students might be able to transfer artifacts of learning into a professional portfolio that could be used for employment. Drop me a comment or feedback below and let me know your thoughts on using digital portfolios with your students.

Welcome to Flipgrid!

Friday was an exciting day for my Grade 3/4 Health class and I. It was our first attempt at using Flipgrid. For most of you this is going to sound silly because you are much more familiar with and comfortable using virtual learning platforms. Today I was able to add all students to our group, they were able to log-in, and I was able to demonstrate how to create an introductory video. This was a huge victory for all of us, especially me. We are now setup and ready to create our introductory videos to meet our new friends in @Farris0120‘s classroom. Hopefully tomorrow night I will be making another post celebrating the first video posts of my students.

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

The One Where I Instantly Regretted Adding an App

I have to start off this post by telling you that two things annoyed me about this app right from the get go.

  1. It made me feel old…like super old. Apparently you have to be 13 years old or older to have a snap chat account. So by default snap chat sets the year to 2008 when you are registering for an account (because nobody my age should be downloading this app). But in my case I felt like a contestant on The Price is Right spinning that giant wheel to try and get closest to a dollar without going over to get into the showcase round.
Actual attempt of me trying to get to my year of birth

2. They ask you to take a selfie so they can make an avatar for you that is supposed to look like you. Because of shadows and terrible lighting my avatar came out looking like AJ from the backstreet boys (post fame) when he was experimenting with his facial hair. Here is a whole post dedicated to terrible facial hair on 90’s boy bands.

I am going to add a third point right now because it just came to me after writing the first two points:

3. I have made reference to “The Price is Right” and “The Backstreet Boys” in a post about snap chat which is geared to an audience that won’t even get those two references which is making me feel even older.

Me walking in to teach Math on Monday to my 7/8 class

So just out of spite for the rest of this blog post I will use Backstreet Boys songs for my subheadings because I Want it that way:

Everybody

It seems to me that EVERYBODY that I have taught in a grade 7/8 class who has a phone has Snap Chat and at least once a day I tell them to get off Snap chat. So for the purpose of this blog let’s look at it from a different perspective and say why fight it and lets embrace it. Is there potential for this app in the classroom?

Quit Playing Games

Initially after playing around with this app I only see value in the filter feature.

This could be my album cover for my 90’s boy band tribute. Come to think of it maybe I should shave.
Here I am as Walter White (another reference that dates me) *sigh*

We’ve Got It Going On

Time to do some research and see how some educators have used this app in their classroom to engage their students because there has to be some educational potential to this app.

The first website I came across was Mud and Ink Teaching Adventurous Teaching Starts Here. Thirty seconds into reading this blog post about 6 ways to integrate Snap into your classroom my creative inquiry based teacher brain kicked into gear and started thinking about my lessons and projects I do with my students and how this app could take some of my ideas to another level.

One example they gave was #booksnap:

This is a great idea from Mud and Ink Teaching

Or this idea about raising awareness:

This is another great idea from Mud and Ink Teaching

I am already thinking about how I could use this strategy and connect it to Orange Shirt day coming up on September 30th. There are 4 levels to engagement:

  1. Informational    (ie. A tweet or facebook post, a handout)
  2. Involvement      (ie. Literature night, bagels and books)
  3. Engagement      (ie. You and the families come together by asking for their input, “What do you want to know” through Google Forms then maybe share strategies or hints for success through various platforms)
  4. Leadership        (ie. Where parents lead, we give up control)

I am thinking this app/activity could get the students past the first level (informational) and at least get them to level 2 if not level 3.

Ok Snapchat I might have to take back my initial thoughts about you because I am starting to see some value.

Ditch That Textbook is a great website I like to read and follow on twitter @DitchThatTxtbk:

It gave me the idea that you can subscribe to various Snapchat accounts and watch their stories. So I looked up some and found this cool Snapchat story to subscribe to called, “Craft It Yourself” and it had stories all about science experiments you could do at home with relative ease.

A cool science experiment talking about air pressure that I found on Snapchat stories

Ok so after a bit of research and some self reflection about my sensitivity to my age I can see some positive things with Snapchat. So why is there so much apprehension about this app in regards to teenagers.

Don’t Go Breaking My Heart

After a few conversations with parents and slao a few google searches I can see why so many people are apprehensive about letting their kids download the app.

  1. Exclusion — You can see everyone of your friends location who have the app. Which basically means you can see when you are not with that group of friends who are all hanging out. This would have destroyed me when I was that age to see all my buddies at one location and then realize I wasn’t part of that group. I can’t imagine what it does to the mental health of teenagers who are already a little insecure and trying to figure out their place in the world.
  2. Addiction — Streaks! Apparently there is this thing called streaks on your account. It tracks how many days in a row you have snapped with another person. Kids wear this like a badge of honor and it becomes very important for them to keep these streaks going. Heaven forbid if you go on a camping trip with no cell service. Business Insider goes into this aspect in more detail here.

3. Bullying — Back in my day if you were to define bullying it happened during school hours and probably resulted in some words or fists getting hurled your way in public. It was dealt with at the school and then you could retreat to your home and find some sanctuary or safety (because the internet wasn’t a common thing yet). But not in 2021… Kids can get bullied 24/7 in too many ways. Snapchat is just another way to bully another kid. “Although the Snaps disappear without a trace, their messages can leave lasting impacts.” This is a great quote from an article I found from Bayview Therapy. The one feature that made Snapchat stand out when it was first created might be the one thing that makes it so damaging to kids. Kids think that these images or texts that they send disappear after a certain time but they are quickly learning that this isn’t the case. Here is a news story about a lawsuit against Snapchat that forced the company to make some changes to better protect youth against cyberbullying.

Conclusion: No Place

I can honestly say because of this assignment I know no more about snap chat then i did at the start of the week. Are there pros to the app in terms of educational purposes 100% there is. Are there concerns for the mental health and well-being of students with this app 100% there is.

So my final thoughts on this app is that although I can see potential in it for future lessons I can’t in good faith use it in class knowing the potential drawbacks in regards to student safety. Student safety is always my top priority.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on my decision about snapchat! Thanks for taking the time to read this blog if you made it this far. I have to go now and delete an app from my phone.

Is It Too Late to Say Sorry? Cause I’m Missing Doing More Than I Should Be…

Exploring a ‘New’ Social Media Tool A Little Taste of Honesty Okay, I was five seconds away from giving into signing up for an account that just weeks ago I was adamant about not embarking on. Yes… when given this blog prompt the only thing I could think of was[Read more]

September 25, 2021: I Caved… I’m on the Tik Tok.

I had so much hesitancy about getting TikTok, yet it always intrigued me and I enjoyed watching them. When we were assigned to experiment with a social media platform that is somewhat, “uncharted territory” for us, TikTok seemed like a pretty solid option. In addition to my budding curiosity, TikTok has had multiple mentions in regard to its ability to entertain and educate.

These conversations have popped up in class discussions, Twitter, and our blogs. As a matter of fact, Curtis had commented on one of my previous blog posts about the educational opportunities TikTok has presented, especially during the pandemic. This prompted me to do a little reading on the subject. After taking a peek at some articles, I found one that resonated with me and posted it to my Twitter. After all of this conversation, it got the better of me and I caved. Folks, I’ve become (a very novice level) TikTok user.

Creating TikToks

To fully experience TikTok, I felt I needed to download the app, fall into the time waste trap everyone warned me about, swipe for endless entertainment, and then actually create some content. I wanted to experiment with trends and “original content” to see which of my videos got the most likes and/or views. When I was downloading the app I thought it was interesting that there is a prompt that asks you to choose what kind of content you would like to see. They offered a number of options and a lot of them appealed to me, so clickity click I went! Once my account was set up, I went to the Discover page and searched, “Cats of TikTok.” Wow. I was in heaven– endless entertainment of cats doing weird things. I honestly could have sat on my couch forever, just swiping away! The next day, I recruited my fiancé to help me capture some content of our feline fur baby, Salsa. I had felt like I watched enough cat content to make Salsa the next TikTok sensation and I went into full, “momager” mode (move over Kris Jenner). It was surprisingly difficult! I decided to start with a simple TikTok trend called, #kissyourpetshead. When working with animals, we learned that it is difficult to make them do things. We needed to wait for opportunity to strike. After multiple fails, we decided on another idea… If you own a cat, you need to try this with them! During the pandemic lockdown, my fiancé and I were on the constant pursuit for entertainment. We discovered something called, “Cat TV.” Basically, you just put on a video of squirrels running about and birds chirping, which in turn, provides endless hours of entertainment for a very bored self, fiancé, and cat. Salsa would sit at the computer and watch the birds and try batting them away. I think she was confused as to why she couldn’t capture them, which made it more entertaining! I sound like a crazy cat lady… and it’s because I am. Below is 8 hours of entertainment for the whole family… You’re welcome.

Once Salsa nestled into her spot on the stairs for the night, we turned on her Cat TV. It didn’t take long before she was on the kitchen table, fully engaged in her favourite feline show. This is how Salsa made her debut into stardom via TikTok:

Oh my goodness. Not only did we find it hilarious (I’m sorry, if you’re at this point in my post and don’t feel the same), but then we could also edit it! This presented a whole other facet of entertainment. We tried out all kinds of filters, techno music, you name it! Next, it was time to upload. Over the course of 24 hours, Salsa’s brilliance has gained 7 likes and 457 views. Stardom, here we come!

Since I was satisfied with how our first TikTok went, I wasn’t planning on making another. THEN, on Friday evening, Salsa was sitting on her cat tower. Opportunity had struck. It was time to give her a little smooch and examine her reaction. I got my fiancé to film me giving her a kiss and I got shot down. Hard. I think this was her way of telling me she’s had enough. FYI: We only have 16 views on this one.

Overall, TikTok was very user friendly and we didn’t need to do much research into how it works in terms of editing and uploading content. However, something that I found overwhelming was the sheer volume of content. When I say endless, it truly is.

The best helper…

I was reluctant to get TikTok at first, but I would be lying if I said that my fiancé and I didn’t have fun filming our cat and editing videos of her. Although, I don’t think Salsa felt the same. If anything she will probably be taking a step out of the lime light for a while, but not until she helps me finish writing this blog post.

Pros, Cons, & “Must Know” Info.

I’ve probably mentioned Common Sense Media a thousand times because I love their reviews on various social media platforms. I find their reviews are brief, cover the information people are most concerned about, and their information is framed in a way that makes sense to people who aren’t well-versed in social media lingo. Common Sense Media provides a very thorough review of TikTok, so I will speak to the pieces that stood out to me the most…

Safety

The safety piece was one of my biggest question marks, as I know lots of kids have TikTok. Common Sense Media highlights with any social media platform, there are always risks involved. However, it appears that TikTok has different rules depending on the age of the user. These rules include:

  1. Users under 13 years of age cannot post or comment on videos and the videos they are exposed to are curated for a younger age.
  2. Users 13-15 years of age accounts are private by default.
  3. Users 16 and over can livestream and use direct messaging.
  4. Users 18 and over can buy, send, and receive virtual gifts.

When I made my account, I don’t recall being asked about my age. It’s possible I missed something, as I am not an expert by any means. I guess I’m wondering how can TikTok monitor the ages of people using their platform and have these safety settings in place? I know kids who are under 13 years of age who create and post content, so I’m guessing that the, “work around” for this safety feature is quite simple. However, Common Sense Media also highlights that parents can enable certain settings such as Restricted Mode, Family Safety Mode, and limit the amount of time their child spends on the app. I also conducted a small survey with my students (more on that to come) and they explained that their parents also have created TikTok accounts and follow them in order to monitor their activity.

TikTok Challenges

Common Sense Media explains that these are basically trends or ideas that go viral and are copied by users of the app. I always thought they were more spontaneous creations or developed by creative TikTok users, but they are often planned by brands for marketing purposes. Some of these challenges are in good fun and seemingly harmless. They can even raise awareness about various causes. However, some can be dangerous such as The Skull Breaker Challenge, which we talked about in last week’s class. Common Sense Media shared an article outlining various challenges and the dangers associated with them. I don’t believe that all challenges are bad, but as parents and teachers it is imperative to have discussions with kids about these challenges and encourage them to be critical thinkers about the implications of them:

  1. Is this challenge funny at the expense of someone else’s feelings?
  2. Can I hurt myself or others doing this challenge?
  3. What is this challenge supporting? Is it for a good cause?
  4. Is this challenge disrespectful to others or involve the destruction of property?

This leads me to The Devious Licks Challenge. This article explains the challenge and highlights the value of teaching students about digital citizenship and the permanency of a digital footprint. In addition to these conversations, reading the community guidelines with kids to review expectations when using social media is a tedious task, but understanding the fine print is important.

Privacy and Security

My biggest hesitancy with getting TikTok was around the privacy and security piece. I’ve heard people voice concerns about this, which discouraged me from engaging with the app. However, I have other forms of social media, so I’m kidding myself if I think my information isn’t floating around out there somewhere. Although that may be true, I still think it is important to be aware of the privacy and security regulations about your social media platforms. Common Sense Media notes that some companies and the U.S. government are wary of TikTok being used as tool by China to spy on users of the platform in other countries. In addition to these concerns, they do have a bit of a shady record when it comes to managing their privacy and security…

Terms of Service, Didn’t Read (TOSDR) is a nifty little resource when you’re wanting to read the fine print that I mentioned previously, but don’t want to spend copious amounts of time on the task. According to the TOSDR, the privacy grade they gave TikTok was E. Grade E is not great… Actually, it’s the lowest possible grade you can get on TOSDR (check out their grading list here for more information). The “high flyer” areas noted are that personal messages can be read and TikTok can delete any content without notice or reason. Some of the, “good to go” areas are that personal data isn’t sold, you maintain ownership of data, and TikTok provides information about how your data is used. I think TikTok has a somewhat poor reputation, however, we need to keep in mind that other social media platforms that are commonly used (such as Instagram) were also given the same overall grade as TikTok on TOSDR. When I saw TikTok’s grade initially, I felt a little uneasy. However, after seeing that other social media platforms were in the same boat, it made me feel a little better, but also made me more cognoscente of the apps I use. I know that the above points sound somewhat negative, which isn’t necessarily my intention. My aim is to offer a critical perspective about TikTok to further inform my use of it, seeing as I now have the app.

Impact on Kids & Educational Value

When it comes to TikTok, kids are probably the best possible source of information. I was curious about my students’ use of social media and if any of them use TikTok or engage with the platform in any way. To dive into this a little deeper, I gave the students a survey. I was surprised to find that quite a few of my students did not use social media. Of course, the majority did, but there was a fair amount that did not. Overall, the kids mainly used TikTok, Snap Chat, and YouTube (on my survey I originally forgot to include YouTube, so the kids included it on their own if needed). Some responses from the student survey that I felt were noteworthy are:

  1. “I don’t use social media. I don’t even have a phone. I would rather read!” (I thought this was cute, so I had to include it!)
  2. “The coolest feature is the self-editor.” (2 students mentioned this.)
  3. “I like TikTok for the comedy side, but not the dance side.”
  4. Most TikTok users in my class create and watch TikToks. The rest mostly only watch on their own accounts or on an older sibling’s.
  5. “I like YouTube better because it’s like TikTok, but without the hate.” (2 students spoke to TikTok having more cyber bullying and strangers trying to connect with them.)
  6. “I like TikTok because it makes me known.”

After getting some feedback from my students, I started to think about the impact TikTok can have on kids. I thought comments #5 and #6 were interesting. TikTok is a way for kids to connect with others and feel a sense of belonging, but can also be isolating when cyber bullying starts or the platform becomes dangerous due to strangers with problematic intentions. The responses to these questions highlight the value of teaching kids about genuine relationships that they form, “in real life.” Not that relationships developed through social media are meaningless, but it is also important to share connections and relationships with people in your immediate circle. The self-editor comments caught my attention as well. Of course these features are fun, but I think it can skew what kids think they should look like… Or they see other TikTok users that look flawless, when in reality, it is just a filter or the effects of a ring light. Although this article is in relation to Snap Chat, it also shares connections with TikTok. It doesn’t surprise me that there is a connection between stress, mental health, and social media. I think managing your mental health and social media is all about balance and boundaries. Ridding yourself of all social media isn’t always the answer, but giving yourself a social media break or following accounts that, “spark joy” are helpful bits of advice to keep in mind.

The article I mentioned at the beginning of this post pointed out some interesting ways that TikTok can be used in regard to education. The mention of, “bite-sized” lessons was interesting to me. I find that I can ramble on in the classroom, but TikTok allows teachers to get the basics across in a short amount of time. In addition, by being open with students about engaging with social media platforms they use, it demonstrates a willingness to learn about their world. The most obvious benefit to me in regard to using TikTok is the relevancy of the app and connecting with students. So many kids use it in some capacity, making it more appealing to engage in their education. Kat shared a TikTok created by her school in this Twitter post. I appreciate that the creation of this TikTok brought the staff together with the common goal of enticing students to get their read on with the new books in their library.

Overall, I’m still learning about this app and how to harness its powers in the classroom… and even for my learning project! I’m still no expert, so please share any insights or clarification on the details I mentioned in this post. Out of curiosity…

  • Do you have TikTok? If so, how do you use it?
  • Do you have other social media platforms and not have TikTok? What are your hesitancies about getting TikTok, if any?

Thanks for making it through this very long post… Again.

Until next time,

Leigh