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Apps, Critical Thinking, Teaching Tools, Videos

Update on TikTok Thoughts

I want to thank those of you who filled out the form and/or commented on my post asking for your thoughts on TikTok. Though it definitely was not a very scientific survey, it did give me some idea on how some of you feel about this app, and I can tell that there is at least some mild interest — as well as some concern.

I want to address the concerns first. We know that TikTok has been used with ill-intentions by some. Whether it’s to share inappropriate things or to urge students to perpetrate harmful pranks, I think that all of you reading this right now would agree that those are unacceptable. But I also think we know that every social media platform out there as been abused for nefarious purposes. At this point, my current curiosity is not about impressionable young minds using TikTok, just about those of us who are adults using it as another way to share teaching ideas.

Another valid concern is that TikTok is “spying” on its users. Quite frankly, just about anything on the internet and our smart phones is mining information about us, and we only have some measure of control over how much privacy we have. Here is a good, recent article from Business Insider that seems like a well-balanced approach to understanding TikTok’s relative risk. It also gives tips for minimizing the risk using the app’s privacy settings. There are definitely no guarantees, but I think our first line of defense is to never overshare, regardless of the platform we are using.

unrecognizable hacker with smartphone typing on laptop at desk
Photo by Sora Shimazaki on Pexels.com

We often discussed the ethics of technology in my GT class, and the conclusion we always came to is that technology is just like knowledge in general because the sum benefits depend greatly on the users. I am personally choosing to use TikTok to be inspired by other educators, so I will take precautions but not boycott it because of some people who have maliciously exploited it.

There were a few of you who expressed an interest in TikTok, but you weren’t sure how to get started. I did a hunt for the best guide to getting started, and I like this one because, unlike many other articles, it does not assume you are just trying to find out how to post content on TikTok. It’s great for people like me who just want to “lurk” and get a feel for the app by watching other videos. I’d advise this article to get your account set up and start watching videos, and then the Business Insider article I linked above to adjust your privacy settings.

I asked for some recommendations of accounts on TikTok to follow for education-related videos, and here were some of the suggestions: mschanggifted, tiktokteachertips, and josiebensko. In addition to those I’m also following: strategicclassroom, randazzled, readitwriteitlearnit, and mr.kylecohen. And I’m finding more every day, so you can follow me at engagetheirminds on TikTok if you’d like to start seeing videos that I share. (I’m still debating if I will create my own content, so the ones I share from now will be from other people.)

Ok, I think I’ve figured out how to embed TikTok videos on this site, so I’m going to try this one from mr.kylecohen about the game, “Pancake or Waffle.” I’d love to hear from you if you try this with your students!

@mr.kylecohen Pancake or waffle? #teacher #teachersoftiktok #teacherlife ♬ Spongebob Tomfoolery – Dante9k Remix – David Snell

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