Adding TikTok To Your Digital Learning Toolkit

Concurrent Session 2
Streamed Session OLC Session

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Brief Abstract

TikTok has made a big splash of late, from news stories to tales of pandemic boredom busting. But, have you thought about the affordances of the TikTok medium as an engagement tool for teaching and learning? This session will explore what the tool is (and is not) and what it can mean for you and your students.



Pronouns: she, her, hers Twitter: @MaddieShellgren As the Director of Online Engagement, Madeline (Maddie) Shellgren serves as the lead innovator, designer, and project manager of the OLC's portfolio of online engagement opportunities. Known for her love of storytelling, play, and all things gameful, Maddie thrives on facilitating and designing meaningful ways for people to connect, learn, and grow together. Within the OLC, she has served on steering and operations committees for several of the organization’s conferences (including as Technology Test Kitchen and Innovation Studio lead, as well as Engagement Co-Chair) and has had the distinct honor of being the mastermind behind the OLC Escape Rooms. She looks forward to continuing supporting OLC community building efforts, is committed to sustainable, equitable, and anti-oppressive ecologies within education, and is genuinely excited to leverage her interdisciplinary scholarly and professional backgrounds as she helps lead the OLC towards truly innovative and transformative models for what’s possible for online and digital engagement. Maddie joins the OLC from Michigan State University (MSU), where she has served as the lead on numerous student success initiatives related to instructional design and technology, accessibility, and equity and inclusion. Over the past eleven years, Maddie has dedicated her professional life to teaching and learning related initiatives and has strategically sought out opportunities that give her a multi-dimensional perspective on teaching and learning, including working as a Standardized Patient training medical students, serving as Program Director for Teaching Assistant development, taking lead on a number of cross-institutional educator onboarding and professional development projects, and teaching across online and face-to-face contexts. She most recently worked as an Assistant Rowing Coach for the MSU Varsity Women’s Rowing Program. There she was given the opportunity to help redesign a community from the bottom up, story the team's new journey together in fun and multimodal ways, lead in the co-construction of community expectations and norms, help ensure alignment across a variety of stakeholders and initiatives, and develop and operationalize strategic structures for long-term sustainability (such as entirely new social media, marketing, communications, and content management strategies). She had the privilege of seeing the impact of her human-centered and equity-oriented approach each and every day as the team reimagined what it meant to be a Spartan on the MSU Rowing Team. With her move to the OLC, she will continue on as a volunteer coach, still supporting these efforts and the team, and is excited to get back on the water.

Extended Abstract


As is the case when other new technologies have surfaced, educators have begun to explore TikTok as a teaching tool. Recognizing that the adoption of new technologies has been a consistent trend in educator practice over time, this session will take a closer look at what exactly this new tool is and how it is (or can) be used. Through our discussion and exploration, we will collectively identify the various affordances of TikTok as a teaching / learning medium. Along the way, we will take into consideration recommended processes for identifying whether or not a given tool (like TikTok) meets the needs and goals of the different learning environments we work in. Afterall, just because the tool exists and people are using it doesn’t mean I should automatically incorporate it into my teaching. By doing so, we will ultimately explore the heart of engagement, and reflect on the core elements we should be considering when designing for intentional engagement in online, blended, and digital contexts. 

But...this session won’t be all talk - we’ll spend a good deal of time actively exploring the app, and trying out key creator tools and strategies. Not on TikTok? No worries - you can follow along or work with the others in the session. Don’t ever want to be on TikTok? This session has been designed with you in mind, as well. Regardless of your experience or comfort level with the tool, participants in this workshop will leave with a better understanding of what engagement is, as well as the many possibilities for what it can be. They will also leave with new ideas for key engagement practices they can begin to incorporate into their teaching. If you are excited about the possibilities for engagement or excited about collaboratively reimagining engagement online, this session is meant for you!