Jeff Carpenter shares insights about how much educators know about TikTok

Carpenter, professor of education and director of the Teaching Fellows Program, is a co-author on forthcoming research drawn from a survey of educators about how they use the platform and how much they understand about TikTok as a company.

A recent report by Education Week highlights research conducted by Professor of Education Jeff Carpenter about how much K-12 educators know about TikTok — how it functions as a company, how their schools regulate how the social media platform is used and how data from the platform is used by TikTok.

Jeff Carpenter, professor of education and director of Teaching Fellows Program

Education Week reporter Alyson Klein’s article, “TikTok Is Raising National Security, Privacy Concerns. Should Educators Steer Clear?,” offers an overview of what educators should know about the platform and the privacy concerns that stem from its use while also addressing some of the questions students and teachers alike should be asking as they use TikTok.

Klein talked with Carpenter to better understand he and colleagues from the University of Redlands and Northern Arizona University found when they asked more than 400 educators about how they use the platform and how much they know about its ins and outs. They found that more than half who use TikTok aren’t aware of their school’s policies regarding the platform and that nearly a quarter aren’t aware of how TikTok makes money. About a third said they weren’t aware of how the platform uses their data and more than one in five said they weren’t aware of ethical challenges educators may face as they use the platform, according to the findings, which will be featured in a forthcoming report by the researchers.

“Participants admitted at quite high levels that they don’t understand much about how the sausage is made at TikTok,” Carpenter told Klein. “They’re using TikTok for professional purposes, but they’re not really clear on whether their school or school district has policies. They don’t really understand what TikTok does with their data. It was just kind of an interesting combination.”