“What are we doing to help kids achieve?”
Let me start by saying, I am not a fan of social media. I have been described by my students as “old” if that helps explain things. I only try to get on Facebook to post positive statements or follow my many family members who are spread all over the world. I do admit that I am on Twitter (@ChadHusting). I pretty much am on Twitter so I can stalk other science teachers (by the way, if you are not following Tom Kuntzleman he is @pchemstud…love his tweets).
One day a students came in and said, “You should be on Tik-Tok Mr. Husting!”
I replied, “Huh?”
Tough to tell if she was serious or she just heard a bunch of other students say, “Hey….here is a new way to publicly humiliate a teacher. Let’s try it!” After all, she is friends with another student who said I had the perfect face for podcasting.
I timidly decided to give it a try. I was not crazy about Tik Tok but realized that is where many of my students live. I was going to try to meet students where they are at. I downloaded the app. I wanted to delete it. Some stranger in the first video that popped up said a bunch of words within two minutes that I cannot print in this space. I immediately hired a social media expert as a consultant. It was my 18 year old son. I say “hired” because at first he grunted and rolled his eyes. I then told him that his payment would be that I would allow him to eat dinner in my house and he would get a break on room and board. He reluctantly agreed. Slowly but surely I started to kind of figure it out.
I started recording experiments. I slowly developed some unwritten rules. I would always try to show students work and would never record student faces for privacy reasons. I would never push a political agenda. I would never ever involve myself in negative comments or behavior. I would never be afraid to laugh at myself or show myself making mistakes. I used the “I movie” app on my phone to edit videos. It was easy to make and upload videos with this app. Video 1 is an example.
Video 1: Finding the formula of a hydrate, @0gochemistry on TikTok, accessed April 19, 2022.
I actually started to have students follow me. Some would even come in the next day talking about the experiment I posted on Tik Tok. Word got around. During labs, students wanted their experiment recorded and put on my Tik Tok account (see Video 2 for an example). I felt this was hopeful. Maybe this could get my students excited even if my Tik Tok videos were less than ideal.
Video 2: Molarity and hydrometers, @0gochemistry on TikTok, accessed April 19, 2022.
I then started talking with other teachers and had a major revelation as we were looking at the schedule for our upcoming professional development day. We all felt that 90% of the material we were going to go over really did not apply to us (as good intentioned as the planners were). We really just wanted time to spend together working on labs, plans and activities. What if professional development were on Tik Tok? Imagine this…you see a topic and start to watch the two minute video. You can probably tell in a minute and a half if you want more information or just swipe and check out the next activity. In ten to fifteen minutes you could cover about 5-7 activities and decide which if any you might want to try. You could also get an idea of how students responded. So here goes…
Here are some of the shorts you can check out.
- Determining the empirical formula of Magnesium Oxide
- Determining the formula of a hydrate
- Cool reaction with hydrogen and copper(II)oxide
- Microscale reactivity series
- Radioactive Fiestaware
- Liquid Nitrogen Day
- Microscale and Net Ionic Reactions
- All about limiting reagents
- Molarity and Hydrometers
Here are a few other things I have learned. It helps to add the hashtags #teachersoftiktok and #chemedx. This will make it easier to find others and waste less time searching for items. I also am going to start to put either contact information or information about where to find the activity at the end of each video.
The goal of this is twofold. Hopefully, we can get students engaged by meeting them where they are at. Also, perhaps we can help each other as teachers work smarter and not harder.
I would love your feedback and suggestions for this. Hope to see you on TikTok.