Educational Tool Review: TikTok

This week we were instructed to find a tool or app that I haven’t used before to utilize as a learning tool, and explore plus review it. I chose to try out the latest, greatest app called, “TikTok”. My 16 year old son uses it and tells me he likes it a lot. I thought, hmmm, wonder if I could use it for educational purposes? I did a search and came up with a web page which explored knowledge creation through content creation, from September, 2019. Their creation, #EduTok, has been consistently trending on TikTok for over three months, garnering over 35.6 billion views for educational videos across categories.

TikTok stated, “… the world’s leading short video platform, recently concluded its first phase of the offline initiative, EduTokXCampus. The campus program was aimed at encouraging knowledge sharing among the student community and motivating them to hone their talent by creating and sharing educational content on TikTok.” 

TikTok App Review

I had to first download this free application on my cellphone to start using it. It was quite straight forward to figure out how to upload a video or pictures from my phone to create a video. I was able to add in a song to the video and special effects or text as well. It was easy to scroll through the different videos created by other users, as well I was able to find educational content videos to watch. It was engaging that videos were short (15 – 30 seconds long).

I decided to upload a short video of me taking my art class for my major digital project and just play around a little to see what I could do. I didn’t like that I could only add either a video or pictures, not both. You are restricted to only one video, and not able to add any different content. I think that any videos on TikTok that seem ‘doctored’ are done separately through other applications, then uploaded to TikTok. I also couldn’t figure out how to narrate a video and have music at the same time. You can’t add more than one song snippet at a time either, so if your song clip finishes before the video is done, there is silence.

I was unable to upload the video in MP4 format, so I added this screenshot of my video – please click on pic to see video.

I struggled a little, but was able to find a video explaining how to upload the finished product to Twitter. At first the only options are to upload to Instagram and Facebook, but I figured it out and tweeted my final product after uploading it to my ‘Facebook story’.

I was also able to find a ‘pro’ version on the app, which had various options of user categories such as sports, art, food, NGO, pets, and many others. I chose education, but after that, it just reverted to the home screen and didn’t give me payment options. I’m not sure if it glitched, but the version I have still looks the same.

I tweeted a poll to ask,”Do you think the Tik Tok app could be used as an instructional tool to promote relevant knowledge sharing in the classroom?”. Six people replied and the polls revealed that 67% thought, ‘Yes’, and 33% thought, ‘No’. I think that this application definitely gets credit for promoting creativity in it’s users, however it does not appear to be very user friendly when attempting to do more complex videos. Therefore educational videos may be quite difficult using this application as an instruction tool. I didn’t have a whole lot of time to learn this app, so I’m sure there is more to it that I may have missed.

In the TikTok video I created, I showed a small portion of my painting in my art class that I recently took. Using the TikTok app would be a great way for students to document small parts of daily learning or growth, and share it among others. There does not appear to be a way to create specific private groups, but that would be a great option to ensure privacy with a student group. Overall I had a lot of fun and watching other user’s videos can be quite addictive!!!

6 thoughts on “Educational Tool Review: TikTok

  1. Dean Vendramin

    Great review. I was thinking of trying in my social 9 class. We are studying ancient civilizations and was thinking it would be fun to hi light the civilizations we are looking to the Bangles classic walk like an Egyptian. After your experience do you think that might be possible?

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hello Dean, thanks for your comments! I think that using TikTok would be a great way for your students to share learning in a fun way! I found it a little difficult to navigate at first, but my 16 yr old son uses it like a pro. I think Gr.9 students would really enjoy letting their creativity loose, ha, ha!

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  3. Matteo Di Muro

    I enjoyed your review! I am scratching my head trying to imagine how TikTok could be used as an educational app, just given the short nature of the video, but I am starting to think of places where that would actually require students to really synthesize information.

    Or in the case of classes where you demonstrate something it would be perfect! There are possibilities! Thanks for sharing, great read!

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  4. Thanks for your review of Tik Tok. I’m sure there are some ways to use it for educational purposes, but I can’t think of any myself. Maybe that’s something you can pose to students to see how they feel they could use it do demonstrate their understanding of a concept. They may be able to bring some good ideas forward. Much like your son, I’m sure they are experts at using it already.

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    1. Thanks for your comments! I agree that I wasn’t sure myself, how to apply the TikTok app as an educational tool. However, upon further research, I was surprised and delighted to see various creative videos showcasing education and student learning!

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