TikTok for Literacy
Many of us may not be very familiar with the social media platform TikTok. However, TikTok’s popularity is growing, especially with younger generations. In the spirit of meeting people where they are, literacy practitioners should take a look at how TikTok and similar platforms can be useful tools for literacy learning.
TikTok has over 1 billion users and its popularity grew by 180% during the pandemic. The platform’s users create, watch and share up to one minute-long videos shot on cellphones.
Recently, TikTok launched the #FactCheckYourFeed initiative to support media literacy. The campaign’s goals are to encourage critical thinking, offer advice for building an argument, teach how to spot fake news and misinformation, and explain how to consume a “balanced media diet.”
“We know that TikTok is not only a place where people come to be entertained, but also a place where people come to learn. That is why we launched #LearnOnTikTok last year, a major investment to deliver the widest experience of learning in a short-form content format.”
Prior to this official campaign, TikTok users took it upon themselves to demonstrate their media literacy skills and counter some of the misinformation they are observing in other media outlets by producing their own well-researched content.
“By observing how TikTokers create content to critically reframe narratives, we can see how valuable of a tool media-making can be in developing and demonstrating critical media literacy skills.” – Azsaneé Truss
TikTokers are also taking advantage of the platform to teach other literacy skills such as financial literacy, numeracy and critical literacy. Media outlets and other organizations are taking notice. For example, CBC is rebooting Street Cents as their first TikTok original series. The series is focused on financial literacy for teens. Canadian Drag Queen Kyne is teaching mathematics and promoting numeracy on TikTok. There are many videos and hashtags related to books and reading as well. A popular one is #BookTok. Literacy scholars and teachers are getting on board with the trend. Sarah Jerasa and Trevor Boffone explain in their video below.
Check out the resources below to read about some of the literacy initiatives on TikTok and how to make use of this popular platform in your teaching.
- BookTok 101: TikTok, Digital Literacies, and Out-of-School Reading Practices (request the pdf from the authors here)
- CBC reboots Street Cents for a new generation
- Demonstrating Critical Media Literacy Skills on TikTok
- Meet the Fabulous Drag Queen Teaching Math on TikTok
- New KMDI Study Examines How Academics Use TikTok, the Benefits and the Perils
- The Use of TikTok as a Literacy Learning Medium for Elementary School Students
- What I Learned From Teaching Algebra on TikTok
We’re looking forward to welcoming many of you to the Decoda Literacy Conference 2022 next week! It’s a great opportunity to hear wonderful speakers, attend inspirational sessions and connect in person. We’re taking a blog break to enjoy the conference; expect the next blog post on May 10.
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