TikTok and Instagram Reels are two similar social media platforms that have become an unlikely place for education and learning. Most of us with internet access have had some exposure to these applications, and it’s been difficult to avoid their surge in popularity. There have been articles, video essays, and studies about the adverse effects of these applications due to their addictive nature. Both are easy-to-use platforms that only need their users to swipe up or down to access more content and have complex algorithms that continuously track your interests to offer exciting content related to your desires.
However, many users have used these platforms for good. I recently read a NY Times article about a girl who used a hand signal she learned on TikTok to indicate that she was at risk of abuse and needed help. It turns out that she had been abducted and was missing, and this hand signal helped authorities rescue her. According to an article by Fast Company, “TikTok has become one of the largest learning platforms in the world: It’s available in over 150 markets and is one of the most downloaded apps in 40-plus countries. On the app, which is available in 75 languages, creators make various short-form videos on everything from cooking hacks to dance moves to crafts and math skills. The hashtag #LearnOnTikTok currently has more than seven billion views.”
With more of us on social media nowadays, our attention span has also decreased significantly. We are continuously looking for novel entertaining content, so platforms like TikTok and Instagram Reels are the epitome of entertainment for our generation. Much of the content on these platforms is comedic, some even absurd, but all around, great videos for virality. These platforms have a vast potential to transcend to becoming a major player in education content due to their engaging, accessible, social, and entertaining approach.
What do you think? Do you think these platforms can rise to the forefront of education? Have you learned something on TikTok/Instagram Reels recently?