Educators around the globe have begun to take notice of the social media platform TikTok. A popular short-form video tool where an estimated 800 million users worldwide create and share short videos. What makes TikTok stand out against its competition? The fact that people of all ages can share their creative expression through short 15-second videos and share them with the world. What has educators so excited about this social media platform is the potential it has as a teaching and engagement tool within the classroom. While some educators are afraid it can cause a distraction, others want to embrace it as a new teaching tool to enhance and complement student learning.

Be Aware of Privacy Concerns

Before you introduce the popular theatrical platform of TikTok into your classroom, you must first be aware of the privacy concerns. Speak with your students and go over the appropriate privacy settings for your specific age group. Make students aware of how to protect their data and share with them why it’s important as well. TikTok’s privacy options make it possible that outsiders are unable to see uploaded content or leave unsolicited messages or comments on videos that students share, just as long as they have it set to the right settings. To avoid any privacy pitfalls, it’s also wise to get permission from parents. While you can’t always prevent the misuse of social media, you can make students aware of privacy issues and what can happen if they break the rules.

5 Ways to Use TikTok in the Classroom

Here are a few ways to harness your students’ creativity and increase engagement in the classroom using TikTok.

To Explain Concepts

Imagine if students had unlimited access to a video version of the most important points of a lesson. Now, with the TikTok app, they can! When students are learning a concept in the classroom and trying to take notes, they can easily become distracted by what’s around them. However, when teachers use TikTok to create short videos to explain concepts or highlight key points of a lesson, students can watch them again and again without the distraction of trying to capture every word the teacher is saying while taking notes.

TikTok can also be used to help students explain the content they are learning. For example, students can compare and contrast concepts learned. First students are presented with a lesson; then they are instructed to take the information learned and create a TikTok comparing and contrasting the information. Students love it because they get to use TikTok in the classroom and the teacher loves it because they know the students are engaged while learning.

To Generate School Awareness

TikTok can be used schoolwide to generate school awareness and pique the interest of students and their peers. For example, you can set up a channel for your school district and allow your students to be “influencers” and produce videos that will help students in each surrounding school become aware of what’s going on in each school. You can help spur students’ creativity by encouraging students to create videos about upcoming sporting events, dances, or other school events. Or you can even challenge students to spread a message about what’s happening in the community or to partake in TikTok challenges where different schools in the district compete with one another.

To Showcase a Final Project

TikTok can be used like other applications to showcase a students’ final project. Instead of using other apps like iMovie or Google Docs, students can use TikTok to create a video of their project. If you search the hashtag #finalproject on TikTok, you’ll see over one million videos of students’ showcasing their projects.

Another way to showcase a final project is to use TikTok as the final project. Separate students into small groups and have students decide on what their TikTok video is going to be about. Make sure that each group’s topic and title is relevant to your requirements. Next, have students decide which roles the participants will play (characters, filming, writing the script, etc.). Then, instruct students to write a detailed, organized script of their video they can turn in, in addition to creating the actual video.

To Teach a Lesson

TikTok lesson plans are now gaining steam, especially with history educators because theatrical history videos on going viral on TikTok. Students are taking information learned in class and sharing the knowledge by creating theatrical 15-second clips. While the videos only show the key points of a concept, history teachers are thrilled that students are using their knowledge to share with their peers.

To create a TikTok lesson plan, it can look something like this: students would watch a short video or review information already learned, then watch relevant TikToks of the same concept. Next, students would create a video based on information learned.

For Student Activism

TikTok has allowed students access to speak up on issues that they feel passionate about, such as climate change, politics, school safety, inequality, and discrimination. Young people are changing the world and becoming part of a movement by simply creating and sharing short video clips of issues that matter to them. Classroom teachers can help empower their students by allowing them to speak up on the issues that are important by creating TikTok videos in the classroom. These videos can be shared within the classroom or school to help spread a positive message that is relevant to other young people their age.

TikTok is certainly an entertaining and engaging app. By incorporating TikTok into your classroom, you can capture the TikTok excitement while still incorporating educational value.