Teenagers across the world use the short video-sharing app TikTok to escape their schoolwork. Or, that's what teachers thought. Surprise! Creators on the app are now using it to teach Gen Z-ers everything science — ranging from genetics, to squid biology, and even science policy.
TikToks are easily digestible, 15 second videos which are accompanied by a song or audio-clip. The platform is geared towards entertaining middle and high schoolers. Nearly half of users are 10-20 years old, and the average user spends 53 minutes on the app every day. Scientists have spotted a niche in the TikTok market, and are starting to build science communities around the app, such as the Let’s TikTok about Science Twitter account.
What sort of videos have creators made so far? Here are a few examples.
Darrion is a Research Technician at Baylor College of Medicine, and uses a Nicki Minaj meme to explain gene expression:
Sarah McAnulty is a squid biologist and assistant research professor at the University of Connecticut, and in this video, uses Willow Smiths' dulcet tones to soundtrack a sea cucumber.
Megan McCuller specializes in non-molluscan invertebrates at a natural history museum, 1001 jars, and shows something which defies explanation.
Dr. Robert Lepenies is a research scientist in Berlin specializing in policy, environment, ethics, who wants to show other scientists what they are missing.