TikTok-ing about Math

Math LearningTikTok-ing about Math

November 10, 2021

Who knew TikTok could be harnessed to improve your math skills? Teens, of course.

One teen in particular has used the popular short-form video-sharing app to tutor hundreds of thousands of his peers.

Alex Loveraz, a recent high school graduate from the Bronx, is a self-described “Math TikToker”. In his videos - which have garnered 8 million likes and counting - he works through problems on a whiteboard in his room, tackling dozens of sample SAT math questions or covering topics ranging from inverse functions to proofs with polygons.

Peppered among the tutorials are short clips showing Loveraz empathizing with anyone struggling with their math and science subjects and promising to help, or soliciting questions and topics from his followers. And when Covid-19 began to cause schools like his own to shut down, Loveraz also launched a suite of Google Classrooms to offer even more help in subjects like Geometry and Algebra II - which he announced, of course, on TikTok. Loveraz shared with a local news station that students from all over the world have tuned in.

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Teens and technology-enabled learning

Even before the global pandemic moved learning from school buildings to screens, this kind of quick, at-your-fingertips virtual learning support system was a good match for teens’ preferences and habits.

In a 2018 survey of 13-17 year olds by the Pew Research Center, 95% of teens reported owning or having ready access to a smartphone, and 45% said they were online “almost constantly”. These numbers represent a big increase over Pew’s prior survey of teens and technology -- in 2015, 75% of teens had a smartphone and 24% described themselves as constantly online. It’s easy to imagine that these numbers may have jumped even higher since the 2018 survey.

Teens - not surprisingly - reported in the 2018 survey that they used their cell phones to “pass the time” or “connect with other people”. But 83% also described using their phones to “learn new things”. A 14-year old told Pew Researchers, “My mom had to get a ride to the library to get what I have in my hand all the time.”

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Loveraz, with his Math TikTok videos, tapped into these trends. It’s no wonder that he - and other teens and teachers creating popular online tutorials - gained such a huge following. Students want help with their math, but they want it in a format that integrates with their life.

  • Platforms like TikTok are familiar, fun, and easy to use for teens.
  • Convenience and immediacy are built into video tutorials like Loveraz’s. Students can access them on their smartphones anytime they need.
  • Unlike asking for help in class, students don’t have to feel concerned or embarrassed about seeking help by tuning into TikTok or other virtual spaces.

Yup can help in similar ways

  • For students who might feel too shy or busy to ask for help in person, our expert math tutors are available 24/7. So, students can reach us anywhere - the classroom, study hall, or at home - and anytime.
  • Students and Yup tutors work together to solve problems in our chat-based format using tools like a digital whiteboard, equation writing, and image sharing.
  • Students can maintain a list of “favorite” tutors. If these tutors are available when students request help, Yup’s Smart Matching prioritizes matching them together.

Teachers and Administrators: Yup is here to meet your students where they are and support and align with the work you do in the classroom. Contact partnerships@yup.com to learn more about bringing Yup to your school or district.

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