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With the omnipresence of social media, it’s understandable why Generation Z doesn’t learn the same way as their parents—or even their older siblings. Gone are the days of dial-up Internet and cell phones that (gasp) only made calls!
Google changed the game when it came to search functionality, but applications like TikTok have transformed the way students engage with and absorb information.
What has this done to educators as we teach a newer generation and compete for their attention?
As an educator with a daughter on TikTok, I saw the opportunity to serve up learning opportunities where students already are: their phones.
If you’ve been holding out on TikTok and have already dismissed it as a distraction from “real learning,” I encourage you to take a few minutes to download it, explore its functionality, and just consider the opportunities. It can be a powerful tool to convey information in memorable ways that reaches across generations.
Here I outline three project ideas that I used with my students that combine TikTok and Dr. Stephen M. Kosslyn’s five principles of the science of learning: deep processing; chunking; building associations; dual coding; and deliberate practice.
Who knows? Maybe one of your projects will go viral, inspiring and educating millions more students!
🧠 Deepen their knowledge and understanding of their chosen topic and its historical and social significance.
🙏 Accurately and confidently describe their topic in a way that educates other students.
🗣 Improve their communication, presentation, and collaboration skills using technology.
Begin creating your own assessment by listing 3 learning objectives for your students
Begin creating your own assessment by listing 3 learning objectives for your students.
Idea 1: Virtual Field Trip
Take students from behind the camera and make them the star tour guide of their own videos.
1. Students will select a place they want to visit.
2. They’ll research at least 5–10 facts about their place and the landmarks they will encounter along their journey to their destination.
3. Based on their research, students will present on TikTok using pictures, videos, and captions to take viewers on a virtual field trip.
As of this publication, TikTok videos can only be 3 minutes long max. Challenge your students to inject the most meaning into their videos within this limited time frame.
Idea 2: Group Project
Make social media just that: social. Build collaboration and communication skills by bringing students together on TikTok.
1. Create an interprofessional educational team. As an instructor of medicine, my student groups might look something like this: a medical student, a nursing student, a public health student, and a biotechnology student. What might this look like for your discipline?
2. Students will discuss a scenario and topic that is relevant to all of their disciplines. In medicine, this could be how they would handle a patient who needs medical treatment addressing such items as social determinants of health, prescription, treatment plans, etc.
3. Students will create and act out the scenario through TikTok that showcases each of their areas and how they would interact with each other and any involved parties, like a patient. I would encourage the group to make one video together instead of separate videos.
Have fun with how you structure your groups. It can be based on the student’s program of study, years of experience, or even birthday month.
Idea 3: Teach a Lesson
Keep it simple and straightforward. Have the student become the teacher using TikTok instead of the traditional PowerPoint.
Let’s say the student is teaching a lesson on the Baroque musical period.
1. Students will research and select one composer from this era. They will collect facts, supporting imagery, and a musical composition for their video.
2. They will use the green screen feature in TikTok to add photos.
3. To present their lesson, students will sync the photos and captions with music from the composer.
Considerations for TikTok Projects
🤝 TikTok projects can be integrated into any modality, age group, or class size, making it a flexible assessment technique to experiment with.
📊 While smartphones are commonplace, not everyone may have one. You may want to poll your class anonymously to see if accommodations need to
🔐 Some students may not be comfortable uploading their videos publicly. TikTok videos can be saved without having to publish them.
Your TikTok Activity
Step 1: Think of a TikTok activity that supports your learning objectives.
Step 2: List 3-5 steps your students can follow to complete the activity.
Step 3: Think of ways you can evaluate what your students have learned.
Download the Ebook
- Ideas for using TikTok in the classroom.
- Steps to think through when creating a TikTok project for students.
- Things to consider when using TikTok for educational purposes.
- Active Learning Online: Five Principles that Make Online Courses Come Alive by Stephen M. Kosslyn
- How Can TikTok Be Used in the Classroom?
- 4-minute Video: Empowering Students to Own the Assessment Process
- 12-minute Video: Top 5 Apps to Make Virtual Lesson Interactive
- How to Make Online Learning More Engaging
- Top 30 Educational TikTok Accounts