Schrödinger’s kittens: How TikTok can help educate your kids

At first glance, TikTok, the fun and fresh social media platform doesn’t seem to offer much beyond addictive dance videos and risky challenges, but TikTok does host educational content as well, with more added every day. You just need to know how to find it.

The search for knowledge — on TikTok?

Social media feeds don’t come together randomly; they’re based on users’ interests. If you keep liking funny cat videos, more of them will appear in your recommendations. It’s that simple.

You can find more practical kinds of content on TikTok, however. For example, teachers from early childhood to higher education, scientists of all stripes, historians, art critics, and other professionals and enthusiasts from all over the world use their TikTok accounts to share short videos demonstrating lab experiments, solving math problems, recounting historical events, and much more.

Essentially, to make a TikTok account into an interesting educational resource, all you have to do is watch and like interesting educational videos.

How to find educational content on TikTok

So, how do you find that educational content? Start with hashtags — the # sign plus a word or short phrase on a specific topic from this year’s coursework, such as #antarctic or #climatechange.
Here are a few hashtags you can use to begin crafting your own educational TikTok feed:

#learnontiktok

This tag applies to educational videos, but it may also include various lifehacks, tips, and the like. Despite its extremely general mission, adding this hashtag to your searches may help you turn up some useful videos.

#[schoolsubject]

We’re in school for a long time, so use a variety of hashtags based on the learning level and subject matter at hand. For example, to find educational videos and accounts related to mathematics, you might start with #math or #algebra before drilling down (a little) to concepts such as #longdivision for younger learners or #planets for astrophysics. You can also search using specific key phrases such as “negative numbers.”

The #history tag has lots of educational videos about history. For more focused results, add #historyfacts, #ancientcivilizations, #wwii, and so on. Just like with math, using more specific terms narrows the results. Ditto any other subject, such as #geology, #anthropology, #paleontology, #economics, and more — it’s not rocket science (#rocketscience, however, is.)

Of course, TikTok also has tons of helpful videos for foreign-language learners. Add “speaking” or “language” to the name of the language: for example, #russianspeaking or #germanlanguage.

We offer the above simply as a taste — a way to think about how the TikTok platform can educate and inform, not just entertain. The first step is to train your newsfeed and recommendations properly. It may take a while, but it’s well worth the effort.

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