How TikTok is Changing the Way We Learn History

TikTok isn’t just for viral dances and fun challenges anymore; it’s becoming an educational hotspot. With 1 in 4 TikTok users in the US now seeking educational content, history has emerged as a major subject of interest.

Meet Kahlil Greene, popularly known as the Gen Z Historian. A Yale graduate, Greene took to the platform in 2021 to address the “whitewashing” of Martin Luther King Jr. Day. Impressed by the overwhelming response, he introduced a series named “hidden history,” focusing on lesser-known American historical events. From exposing the true origins of the Pledge of Allegiance to highlighting the existence of “human zoos,” Greene’s unique approach to history has resonated with over 600,000 followers.

Greene isn’t the only one filling gaps in history. Ernest Crim III, once a high school history teacher, uses TikTok to spotlight overlooked Black figures and racial issues in America. He not only educates but also contextualizes current events with historical backstories. For example, he introduced many to Moses Fleetwood Walker, a Black baseball player who preceded Jackie Robinson. With influential figures like Ava DuVernay and Mo’Nique among his followers, Crim has left traditional classroom teaching to become a full-time content creator.

Then there’s Aslan Pahari, an Australian TikToker with roots in Pakistan. With over 5 million followers, Pahari dives deep into ancient history, myths, and cultures, particularly focusing on South Asia and Central Asia. By delving into subjects like the tribal communities of India and the origins of “The Jungle Book,” Pahari provides invaluable insights, especially for South Asian youth looking to connect with their heritage.

However, TikTok’s vast sea of content comes with its own challenges. Alongside professional educators, there are many unqualified voices sharing “facts” that might not be accurate. While some creators cite sources, viewers should remember that not everything on TikTok is gospel truth. Like Pahari mentions, much of the content represents debated perspectives and not absolute facts.

So, while TikTok can be a great place to start your educational journey, it’s essential to approach it with a discerning mind. Dive in, but be sure to double-check your facts!


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