The TikTok video app is taking the world by storm. It has 500 million active users worldwide, and 41 percent of them are between 16 and 24 years old. (And who knows how many that are YOUNGER than 16 that use it anyway?)
Kids and adults are excitedly shooting, uploading and sharing videos on TikTok.
How can we use that excitement in the classroom?
There’s good news, though …
You don’t need the app to create the experience!
Let’s use an app that millions of students already have access to — Google Slides — to recreate the experience instead of using the app.
Use the TikTok-inspired Google Slides template below to get your students creating!
(Note: Please make a copy of this template and don’t request access for it. You can also make a copy by opening it with this link and going to File > Make a copy. Again, please don’t request access! Thank you.)
If you like this idea, check out other social media-inspired templates I’ve created:
After you make a copy of the template, here’s what you can do with it!
1. Teachers: Assign it to your students.
The easiest way to do this is through Google Classroom. Take your copy of this template and attach it to an assignment in Google Classroom. (Use the Drive button to attach it.) Choose “Make a copy for each student” in the dropdown menu.
If you have another learning management system (LMS) like Canvas or Schoology, copy the link I provided above and add it to an assignment in your LMS. Students can click on the link and make their own copies.
Another option is to create a single slide deck where each student has his/her own slide. In the slides template, duplicate the template slide you want students to use so there’s enough of them for each student. Then use the “Share” button to create a shareable link: anyone with the link can edit. Provide students that link. Read more details on how to do one collaborative slide deck like this by clicking here.
Note: There are instructions for students on the first two slides of the template, too!
2. Choose which template slide you want to use.
You’ll find that, after you make a copy of the Google Slides template, there are several versions of it:
- Simple version: This one has one image that serves as the TikTok-inspired template. No text to change or images to replace. This is the easiest one to get started with.
- Customizable version: This has pretty much the same image as a template. However, students can customize some of the text (username and song name) and the icons for the profile pictures. There are instructions on the first slide for this.
- Icon colors: The simple version and the customizable version comes with black icons or white icons. TikTok uses white icons, but if it’s easier to use with black icons, you have that choice.
Once you and your students decide which one is the best for them, it may be a good idea to delete the rest of the templates to avoid confusion. (Your students can always make a new copy of the original template if they want to start over. Or they can use version history to revert back to the version of the slide deck when all the slides were still there.)
3. Add an image or a video.
What would a character do in a TikTok-style video? What music would he/she play in it? What would that person say in that video?
How would you use a TikTok-style video to describe a new concept?
These types of questions can serve as fun prompts to get students creating with what they’re learning.
There are lots of ways they can get images and videos into the templates:
- Webcam: Go to Insert > Image > Camera to use your device’s webcam to snap a picture and add it to the template slide.
- Upload: Grab a picture that already exists on your device.
- Search the web: Find a picture that works. (Note: Remember usage rights. If your students are going to publish work outside of class, they’ll need to make sure they have appropriate usage rights. Appropriately-licensed Creative Commons images and public domain images will do the trick.)
- Flipgrid videos: Flipgrid (flipgrid.com) is a really fun medium for creating these videos! Record vertical videos on a cell phone if possible so they fit the template. Flipgrid’s camera lets you add stickers, text, ink and filters. When finished, download the video from Flipgrid and upload it to the student’s Google Drive. Insert the video from Google Drive into the template.
- Camera videos: Record videos with the camera on a cell phone in the vertical position. Then upload to Google Drive and insert the video into the template.
Videos don’t go behind the template …
Here’s a problem with this template I’m still trying to solve. I envisioned putting a video behind the TikTok image template so you’d see the video through the transparent part of the image. However, Google Slides doesn’t work that way! You can only view videos on top of other items on a slide.
So far, I’ve seen only a few ways around this:
- Size the video so that it fits in the cell phone template without covering anything up. (See example video shot with Flipgrid mobile app at right. Not perfect, but better than nothing!)
- Use a series of images on multiple slides that (sort of) replicates the experience of a video.
- Create stop-motion animation with lots of slides. Here’s a tutorial article on how to do that with Google Slides.
You CAN put images behind the template, so a series of images may be better than nothing! I’m still looking for alternatives here, so if you have any suggestions, please email me ([email protected]). I’ll update the post with any new ideas.
4. Send images to the back.
If you insert an image, it will likely be placed on the slide on top of the cell phone template. That’s OK! It’s easy to move that image behind the template — and all the icons and text — so it looks like it’s on the phone.
- In the menu: Arrange > Order > Send to back … OR …
- Use the keyboard shortcut (Ctrl + Shift + down arrow / Mac: Cmd + Shift + down arrow)
Then, use the arrow keys to move that image into place.
Think of them like two pieces of paper — your picture and the cell phone template image. When you send one to the back, the other is at the front and you can click on it.
If you want to adjust your image again, just click on the cell phone template image and send it to the back, then click on the image.
5. Share, collaborate and enjoy!
Once your students have created something fun like this, let them see each other’s work! A couple ideas:
- Display some on the projector screen at the front of class.
- Do a digital gallery walk where they load their TikTok templates on their computers, get up and walk around to see classmates’ work on each other’s devices.
- If students created in a collaborative shared slide deck, they are already in the same file and can look at each other’s slides. Add a layer of collaboration by asking them to leave comments on each other’s slides.
- Print them out! There’s no shame in using paper! Print some (or all) out to hang on the wall so others can see.
If students are already dreaming in TikTok videos — or if they’re just excited about the app — let’s use that in class! Let them create with the content they’re learning in a TikTok-inspired way to add a little electricity to class!