TikTok: The teaching tool of the future?

Author Kat Jordan

If you thought TikTok was all singing dogs, home makeovers and lockdown families-turned-amatuer dance troupes … think again. 

Although a lot of the content on this platform does satisfy the criteria listed above, TikTok is taking steps to bring new learning materials to the video creation platform.

My favourite TikTok singing dog. His name is Rolex.

TikTok first launched back in 2016 and since then its popularity has exploded; TikTok has 800 million active users worldwide. To put that into perspective, that ranks TikTok 7th in terms of users per social network site, ahead of better known sites such as LinkedIn, Snapchat and even Twitter.

Statistics taken from Influencer Marketing Hub

Roughly 50% of TikTok’s global audience is under the age of 34. With the opportunity to communicate with a young demographic via the convenience of a smartphone, it was only natural that TikTok saw an opportunity to pair up with leaders within the educational market. Teaming up with more than 800 educational institutions, media publishers, public figures and real-world professional experts, the team at TikTok launched the now trending #LearnOnTikTok campaign; an initiative to bring learning materials to the masses in the form of micro-learning style videos.

TikTok’s Response to COVID-19 

After the outbreak of the worldwide Coronavirus pandemic, TikTok made a pledge of $250 million to provide aid and support to those affected by the outbreak, as well as funding for new initiatives. 

“$50 million will go towards grants for educators, professional experts, and nonprofits that are working to provide distance learning resources during the global lockdowns.”
Social Media Today

Thanks to this large portion of funding, users are now able to view content on the #LearnOnTikTok thread which includes explainer videos on everything from exercise, DIY, cooking, wellness & even more classic subjects like maths & history.

“The joy of learning on TikTok is that the content offers instructional tips and takeaways in a creative format, teaching something useful and inspiring users to seek out more information in a way that is fun and engaging.”
Head of Content Partnerships for TikTok US, Bryan Thoensen

Who can we expect to see as our new “virtual teachers” of the future? Bill Nye the science guy is said to be running (you guessed it) science lessons. Rachel Riley has recently signed on to bring all of her Countdown mathematics skills to your phone screens. Plus, the charity English Heritage is sharing facts on history, as well as offering guided tours of historic sites such as Stonehenge.

Image courtesy of Sciencemag

The idea of “micro-learning” isn’t new; most of us will be familiar with the idea of going online to find instructional videos. However TikTok makes these resources accessible, easy to find and fun to consume.

TikTok’s short, sharp, bursts of educational resources to help people at home have been a shining positive action in a time of world crisis. Educators have been keeping up to date with the latest trends, ensuring content is engaging, relevant and in line with what students are interested in today.

The future looks bright for TikTok. An App that was developed in just 200 days back in 2016 has evolved to so much more than just a video-sharing social media network for our entertainment. It’s now an accessible platform for education and an outlet to be creative.

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