Education

Kids Are Using TikTok For History Lessons, and Teachers Are Here For It

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There’s finally a social media craze most parents can stand behind. Teens are making quick videos of historical events and sharing them on TikTok, and the internet can’t get enough. Kids and teachers alike are enjoying quick history lessons and a welcome change from the typical negativity surrounding social media.

Creative kids like Brooke Havek, a 17-year-old who has racked up over 81,000 followers on TikTok, are using their skills to share 15-second videos based on historical happenings, often cleverly paired with text and equally quick clips of popular music or movie dialogue. Havek’s fans alone have responded with over 3.5 million “hearts” on TikTok.

Lucky for us non-TikTok-ers, Twitter user Nadia Jaferey has been sharing some of her favorites — like this one about the Monroe Doctrine:

Some videos, like this one about the colonization of Africa in the 1400s, highlight a historical trend rather than one specific event:

Other times, the videos humorously focus on one very specific moment in history, like this look at the Titanic from avid TikTok historian, Danny Godlewski:

Former high school History teacher and current assistant principal in one Michigan school district, Jen Furkas, is thrilled with the TikTok trend. “I love the creativity that the students are showing and the way that [they’ve] made learning fun and interesting for others while reinforcing important skills.” 

Another neat benefit of the trend is the fact-checking some viewers are doing. If someone doesn’t quite get the facts right in their 15-second clip, commenters are quick to explain what really happened, reenforcing even more learning in the process. As Sharoon Bi, creator of the African colonization TikTok above, explained to TIME, he didn’t realize his dates weren’t completely accurate until other history buffs let him know in the comments. “I’m happy that they said it, because that let me know I should do more research,” he said. “For me, it was an actual learning experience.” 

If kids are going to use social media, most parents would much rather them follow the lead of these creative kids than do pretty much anything else. Dr. Tera Shamey, a Director of Curriculum and Assessment at Wayne-Westland Community Schools in the Greater Detroit area, feels that creating these quick history lessons is a welcome change “that sounds like a way better use of the program than what I have seen it used for [in the past]…like bullying other kids.”

The way our kids learn and communicate is changing by the day. The best we can hope for is combining the two into positive efforts like the ones being made by these talented TikTok users.



Jessica Watson is a freelance writer, author and the blogger behind Four Plus an Angel. Mom to five kids, four in her arms and one in her heart, she tries hard to enjoy them every moment but sometimes dreams of a week alone with a pile of her favorite books. "Four Plus an Angel" - https://fourplusanangel.com/