TikTok. Who’s there? Me. Kind of.

Getting into TikTok has been a slow moving process. I cannot stick a pin in the exact reason of my hesitancy towards the app, but I have some ideas…

  • preconceived thought that TikTok is for young people;
  • another excuse to be engaged with my phone – I am not actually looking for more reasons;
  • not really interested in creating content, which limits the function of the app;
  • the lack of digital literacy instruction in the classroom (so far) making me question how serious I am about actually using it as a learning tool;

Reasons cast aside, I have entered the world of TikTok under the front of @mrmihalicz. My activity has primarily been in the form of consuming content. Again, I am not too keen on putting myself out there in the way that I see producers.

Pessimist in Me

I definitely think student preferences would be something to be cognizant of regarding students. Just like the “shy” or introverted students may not like group work or presentations in person, there could be something very frightening to students about using TikTok, even if for educational purposes. Even the idea that independently looking at specific things associated with learning/school sounds like a great idea, but that brings us back to the question – how media literate are these students? I also think that having students use the app for educational purposes and only educational purposes could be a bit of a stretch.


I interpret this term to have something to do with hashtags and algorithms. The more you view something, the more it will show up in the “For You” department, and actually make other verticals less likely to be seen. This made me wonder about loyal student TikTokkers – how easy would it be for relevant education-related content to become seen and frequent on their personal feeds? Can the occasional use of TikTok for school purposes infiltrate their algorithms and actually become a gateway for more functional uses of the app? I guess there is only one way to find out. Something else that came to mind as I played around on TikTok was staying on task. After learning a little bit about verticals from @steve_boots and began to pay attention to that when viewing content, I know that I had some difficulty remaining focused on the different verticals I had intended on staying in!

Here are some of the verticals that I have attempted to flood myself with… and some that have been hard to ignore on my feed. It may be more of a tale of professional me v. regular me.

Person Holding Black Android Smartphone
Photo by cottonbro from Pexels
  • #teacher
  • #teachersoftiktok
  • #skpoli
  • #geotiktok
  • #math
  • #learnontiktok
  • #indigenoustiktok
  • #education
  • #golftiktok
  • #sakatchewan
  • #hockeytiktoks

In addition to verticals, there are some content creators that I have really enjoyed finding. Again, as you look at this list, it may be difficult to determine which ones are relevant to my job, and which are just for enjoyment. Hot tip… sometimes they fit both categories (and that’s when I knew I was old).

I think that I have become more aware of what I watch on TikTok and how it influences what I see more of. I am quite proud of myself when I start to follow someone and know how that will affect my verticals!

Other Help

I have garnered help from several different places over the last couple of months. Outside of class, I want to give a shout out to my Grade 7/8 class who field a few questions a day from me, and the billet who lives with my family. Just the other day he helped show me how to find the original video and how I could duet or stitch with it… I didn’t though. Sure is handy having a 21 year-old living in the basement. Even better, we know he will actually be moving out! Tok on!

5 thoughts on “TikTok. Who’s there? Me. Kind of.

  1. Hi Bart. Thanks for the honest update. I connect with some of your reasons for being hesitant on using TikTok as an educational app. I have had similar hesitancies with using Instagram as a personal tool too (teacher/PD/resources etc). I have been mainly consuming content rather than producing content. I also found Steve’s presentation and discussion about verticals very interesting and, like you, connected it to the algorithms used to present us content. And as you said, I think some introverted students could be quite bothered by using TikTok as a learning/classroom tool. You are right to question and examine the tools you bring in to your students learning. It seems to me that even though your journey with TikTok has been slow paced, you are nonetheless learning lots along the way. All the best as you continue with TikTok.

  2. I really connected to your post, Bart! I am also very hesitant about TikTok and do not plan to create content any time soon! This time last year, I was working really hard to keep TT out of my classroom and now I am blown away by how much I use it! For example, I recently asked my grade 11 students to complete a “Dramatic Reading” assignment. Many used Tik Tok to create their videos. They told me they would never post it, but they liked using a platform that they were already comfortable with. It was really neat to see how students that normally hate writing, reading and pretty much anything ELA sort of came to life for this project. I have also used TikTok to show parody, satire, and persuasive argument techniques. It usually sounds exactly like what I would have said, but when it comes from TikTok kids seem to just listen better!
    Anyways, good for you for trying this whole TikTok thing out. I went another way with my own final project, but as I read posts from others I am intrigued and can’t wait to try more TT in my own classroom!

  3. Hey Bart! I really enjoy reading your posts. They are always truthful and entertaining at the same time. I am very hesitant to use TikTok for many of the same reasons you mention. Immediately after Steve’s presentation, I downloaded the TikTok app but have done nothing with it, yet. Thanks for the list of your recommended creators to follow. I may just have to set up my account!

  4. Thanks for the refreshing post, Bart! One thing that really resonated with me from your post was the assumption that ‘TikTok is for young people.’ It’s so funny how social media quickly becomes outdated or stagnant. Facebook used to be a young people’s game, and now it is considered to be for ‘old people’, while platforms like Snapchat or TikTok have been ushered in as trendy. It makes me wonder if these newer platforms will eventually be replaced by something new and hip, or if they will be able to evolve and stay relevant?

  5. I appreciate your honest update. I too am a TikTok nonbeliever, and have a lot of preconceived notions of what it is and isn’t. I commend you for branching out and stepping outside of your comfort zone to navigate something that you were not comfortable with or really didn’t appreciate that much, to begin with. It’s interesting to me that certain demographics of people naturally gravitate to what they are used to in terms of comfort levels in social media. Younger kiddos today aren’t using Facebook as much as they are using TikTok, and so on. I appreciate reading your honest reflections.

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