Jesuit Chronicle

Digital Learning: The Difference Between Synchronous and Asynchronous Learning

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Isabel Crespo

A student’s digital learning setup during distance synchronous learning at Jesuit High School.

With digital learning becoming the new reality for students due to COVID-19, administrators and teachers have developed new and innovative ways to conduct learning. 

Online learning can be categorized into three learning styles: synchronous, asynchronous, and a hybrid of the two.

At Jesuit High School, digital learning for the 2020-2021 school year is partially synchronous with intermittent periods of asynchronous learning through Zoom calls. In the spring of 2020, however, asynchronous learning was enforced.   

“When we talk about synchronous learning we are talking about activities that students are doing in real-time,” Alyssa Tormala, the vice principal of professional development and innovation at Jesuit, said. “It could consist of a class discussion over Zoom or online, as well as group projects as a class or in small groups.”

Asynchronous learning is taught without real-time interaction where assignments and instructions are posted online for students to work through.

According to TheBestSchools.org, asynchronous learning can take the form of pre-recorded videos, self-guided lessons, lecture notes, or online discussions. 

Based on the feedback Jesuit collected during the spring, while some students enjoyed the flexibility of self-paced asynchronous work, the majority of students struggled with a lack of structure. 

“There were students… struggling because they did not have that specific structure in the day to help them keep track with where they were and what they were doing in any given time,” Tormala said.

Other Portland area institutions, like Lincoln High School, are also online.

For Katlyn Kenney, a senior at Lincoln High School, her teachers’ material didn’t translate well through an online environment, which impacted her ability to retain information.

“I would rather have someone teaching and lecturing me, or showing me math problems to my face then giving me a worksheet to read,” Kenney said. “Watching a video a teacher made or watching a Khan Academy video just doesn’t really click.” 

Without face-to-face interaction during asynchronous learning, student morale also decreased because of a lack of connection with peers and teachers. 

“We got a lot of feedback from teachers and parents [saying] that they were missing the person-to-person contact,” Tormala said. “Students and parents reported that the lack of personal connection with classmates and teachers made students feel disconnected and isolated. Even though Zoom is not the same as being in-person, it still provides a level of connection that purely asynchronous learning did not.”

Because the asynchronous model wasn’t conducive to learning and mentally sustainable for students and teachers alike, Jesuit switched to a mainly synchronous model in the fall, consisting of three to four 80-minute zoom calls a day through a block schedule.

When asked about what led to the consensus on 80-minute Zoom calls, Tormala said it took a lot of research and communication with other schools nationwide and in the local Portland area.

“Most schools seemed to be moving toward that block schedule and 80 minutes appears to be the average,” Tormala said. “If you talk with other Catholic schools in the area, they are all using a similar structure of a block schedule of three to four classes a day somewhere between 65-85 minutes. So are many of our fellow Jesuit schools around the country.”

Throughout the 80 minutes provided for each class, whether or not students are required to stay on Zoom the entire period or break-off asynchronously is dependent on the teacher and subject they are teaching.

“If you as a teacher feel it’s important that students be in a synchronous learning situation, such as learning a new topic…where you want to keep everyone in the same sequence, you can use the 80 minutes for that,” Tormala said. “We trust our teachers to have good professional judgment about what the learning needs to look like at the point that they are in their unit and for a particular content area, and what their students are needing.”

Now six weeks into the school year, Jesuit has been gathering feedback from students, teachers, and parents on the new partially synchronous model.

“We all miss being in school with each other in person,” Tormala said. “But we have received deep gratitude from many of our students and our parents especially. We’ve had a lot of students say that they really like the block schedule as long as their teachers keep it interesting.” 

Among the students at Jesuit who are embracing synchronous learning is junior Eli Flamoe.

“It has actually gone a lot smoother than I was expecting it to, and it feels more like real school,” Flamoe said.

Tormala commented that having 80-minute class periods “gives teachers more flexibility” and a “clear structure so they know what is happening on any given day.”

Despite the synchronous model promoting more interactive and structured learning, the challenge that remains is maintaining engagement while spending hours on Zoom.

“It’s just so much harder to pay attention online,” Flamoe said.

“I think everyone is feeling Zoom fatigue which is kind of to be expected and kind of unavoidable,” Tormala said. “Yet we have to encounter each other through this lens. It is the only way we can right now.”

There are many factors determining the success of synchronous or asynchronous learning with the main takeaway being that there will have to have a lot of trial and error before consistency and normalcy is established.

“With anything new it takes a while,” Tormala said. “Learning is a struggle no matter what it is that we are learning and right now we are learning how to engage in this environment on a regular basis. It will get easier because our brains will build new pathways to figure it out.”

About the Writer
Photo of Isabel Crespo
Isabel Crespo, Editor

Isabel Crespo is an editor for the Jesuit Chronicle. She is a Junior at Jesuit High School and is excited to pursue her passion for writing on a deeper...

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I gave up my phone for a week: here’s what happened

By Steele Clevenger

COMIC COURTESY STEELE CLEVENGER, STAFF WRITER AND ART DIRECTOR

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“Technology, especially the now ubiquitous iPhone, can have extremely negative effects on teenagers’ mental health.”


Ron Srigley, a professor at both Humber College and Laurentian University, was disappointed when his students failed a midterm test, though he wasn’t surprised. He suspected technology played a role in the failed exam.

“I asked them what they thought had gone wrong. A young woman put up her hand and said: ‘We don’t understand what the books say, sir. We don’t understand the words.’ So I offered them extra credit if they would give me their phones and write about living without them” (MIT Technology Review).

Jean Twenge, author of the book iGen, says “Many parents and educators worry that teen’s … social media and texting, has created a … generation prone to depression … Forty-six percent more 15-to-19-year-olds committed suicide in 2015 than in 2007, and two-and-a-half times more 12-to-14-year-olds killed themselves” (100, 110).

It is clear that technology, especially the now ubiquitous iPhone, can have extremely negative effects on teenagers’ mental health.

Curious as to the effects of how giving up technology would affect my health, I decided to embark on a one week no-phone journey. The rules? No smartphone use for one week. iPads are allowed for homework only. Here’s what I found out:

Day One: It felt a little weird not checking my phone for texts in the morning, but the first day was not challenging. Most of the school day was spent on my iPad, so I didn’t feel like I was missing anything.

Day Two: Another comfortable day without my phone. Communication is tricky, though. I had an appointment today, and when my mom didn’t show up on time, I started to panic. However, my mom picked me up, and I was on time for my appointment.

Day Three: Ok, I cheated a little bit today: I used my iPad for something other than homework. There are so many times during the day I feel like looking up the answers to life’s mysteries. “Did Betty White go to jail?” was a question I answered using my iPad.

Day Four: Today was a work day, meaning I had no time to use technology. I have begun to notice how much sleep I am getting now; 9:30 pm was my bedtime today, as opposed to my usual 11:30 pm.

Day Five: Ah, Saturday. I went to the Farmer’s Market with my dad. Again, there was no time to stare at a screen, and I felt like I had so much more time to talk to my family.

Day Six: I spent most of my day cooking and relaxing. My head was clear and my energy was high. I finished my second book this week, and took a walk with my mom.

Day Seven: Over the course of this challenge, I have realized that I spend so much time on technology that I forget how much I have been given. I drew more, read more, and slept more, making me feel healthier and more fulfilled.

My friend, and fellow reporter, Jayla Lowery, who took part in this week-long challenge with me, also found herself with lots of empty time.

“I worked out, I went for a walk, I went for a bike ride; I did a lot of stuff I usually wouldn’t do [if I’d had my phone],” said Lowery. “I had fewer migraines [and] I felt like I could get a lot more work done.”

Overall, we both agreed we would take part in this challenge again. Though communication with friends and family was different, everything could be coordinated ahead of time, and neither of us felt like we were missing anything when we put our phones away.

If iPhones get in the way of reaching our potentials, do iPads have similar disadvantages?

In 2014, Jesuit introduced iPads to students. 

“We try to adapt to the evolving ways kids use technology,” said Principal Paul Hogan. “When cellphones began to proliferate, [administrators] said, ‘You can’t just have them out at any time.”

Hogan said that although iPads can be distracting for some students, he says giving students access to information and connection with the school and their peers outweighs the negative effects of a screen. 

Said Hogan, “Some people argue an iPad is just a glorified phone. I think there’s more use to it.” 

So, how about a “No iPad Day?”

Said Hogan, “I think it’s a great idea, [however] we would need to have plenty of notice.”

About the Contributor
Photo of Steele Clevenger
Steele Clevenger, Editor and Creative Director

Sarcastic. Artistic. Enthusiastic. These are three words Steele Clevenger would use to describe herself. A senior at Jesuit High School and a veteran journalism...

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.brz .brz-css-kzeay{z-index: auto;align-items:flex-start;}.brz .brz-css-kzeay > .brz-bg-media{border:0px solid rgba(102, 115, 141, 0);border-radius:0;}.brz .brz-css-kzeay > .brz-bg-media > .brz-bg-image{background-image:none;}.brz .brz-css-kzeay > .brz-bg-media > .brz-bg-color{background-color:rgba(0, 0, 0, 0);background-image:none;}.brz .brz-css-kzeay > .brz-bg-media > .brz-bg-map{display: none;}.brz .brz-css-kzeay > .brz-bg-content{border:0px solid transparent;}@media(min-width:991px){.brz .brz-css-kzeay{max-width:100%;min-height: auto;display:flex;}.brz .brz-css-kzeay > .brz-bg-media{transition-duration:0.50s;transition-property: filter, box-shadow, background, border-radius, border-color;}.brz .brz-css-kzeay > .brz-bg-media > .brz-bg-image{transition-duration:0.50s;transition-property: filter, box-shadow, background, border-radius, border-color;}.brz .brz-css-kzeay > .brz-bg-media > .brz-bg-color{transition-duration:0.50s;transition-property: filter, box-shadow, background, border-radius, border-color;}.brz .brz-css-kzeay > .brz-bg-media > .brz-bg-video{transition-duration:0.50s;transition-property: filter, box-shadow, background, border-radius, border-color;}.brz .brz-css-kzeay > .brz-bg-content{transition-duration:0.50s;transition-property: filter, box-shadow, background, border-radius, border-color;}}@media(max-width:991px) and (min-width:768px){.brz .brz-css-kzeay{z-index: auto;align-items:flex-start;}.brz .brz-css-kzeay > .brz-bg-media{border:0px solid rgba(102, 115, 141, 0);border-radius:0;}.brz .brz-css-kzeay > .brz-bg-media > .brz-bg-image{background-image:none;}.brz .brz-css-kzeay > .brz-bg-media > .brz-bg-color{background-color:rgba(0, 0, 0, 0);background-image:none;}.brz .brz-css-kzeay > .brz-bg-media > .brz-bg-map{display: none;}.brz .brz-css-kzeay > .brz-bg-content{border:0px solid transparent;}}@media(max-width:991px) and (min-width:768px){.brz .brz-css-kzeay{max-width:100%;min-height: auto;display:flex;}.brz .brz-css-kzeay > .brz-bg-media{transition-duration:0.50s;transition-property: filter, box-shadow, background, border-radius, border-color;}.brz .brz-css-kzeay > .brz-bg-media > .brz-bg-image{transition-duration:0.50s;transition-property: filter, box-shadow, background, border-radius, border-color;}.brz .brz-css-kzeay > .brz-bg-media > .brz-bg-color{transition-duration:0.50s;transition-property: filter, box-shadow, background, border-radius, border-color;}.brz .brz-css-kzeay > .brz-bg-media > .brz-bg-video{transition-duration:0.50s;transition-property: filter, box-shadow, background, border-radius, border-color;}.brz .brz-css-kzeay > .brz-bg-content{transition-duration:0.50s;transition-property: filter, box-shadow, background, border-radius, border-color;}.brz .brz-css-kzeay > .brz-bg-content > .brz-row{flex-direction:row;flex-wrap:wrap;justify-content:flex-start;}}@media(max-width:767px){.brz .brz-css-kzeay{z-index: auto;align-items:flex-start;}.brz .brz-css-kzeay > .brz-bg-media{border:0px solid rgba(102, 115, 141, 0);border-radius:0;}.brz .brz-css-kzeay > .brz-bg-media > .brz-bg-image{background-image:none;}.brz .brz-css-kzeay > .brz-bg-media > .brz-bg-color{background-color:rgba(0, 0, 0, 0);background-image:none;}.brz .brz-css-kzeay > .brz-bg-media > .brz-bg-map{display: none;}.brz .brz-css-kzeay > .brz-bg-content{border:0px solid transparent;}}@media(max-width:767px){.brz .brz-css-kzeay{max-width:100%;min-height: auto;display:flex;}.brz .brz-css-kzeay > .brz-bg-media{transition-duration:0.50s;transition-property: filter, box-shadow, background, border-radius, border-color;}.brz .brz-css-kzeay > .brz-bg-media > .brz-bg-image{transition-duration:0.50s;transition-property: filter, box-shadow, background, border-radius, border-color;}.brz .brz-css-kzeay > .brz-bg-media > .brz-bg-color{transition-duration:0.50s;transition-property: filter, box-shadow, background, border-radius, border-color;}.brz .brz-css-kzeay > .brz-bg-media > .brz-bg-video{transition-duration:0.50s;transition-property: filter, box-shadow, background, border-radius, border-color;}.brz .brz-css-kzeay > .brz-bg-content{transition-duration:0.50s;transition-property: filter, box-shadow, background, border-radius, border-color;}.brz .brz-css-kzeay > .brz-bg-content > .brz-row{flex-direction:row;flex-wrap:wrap;justify-content:flex-start;}}
.brz .brz-css-udrss{padding:10px;}@media(max-width:991px) and (min-width:768px){.brz .brz-css-udrss{padding:0;}}@media(max-width:767px){.brz .brz-css-udrss{padding:0;}}
.brz .brz-css-knajt{z-index: auto;flex:1 1 50%;max-width:50%;}@media(max-width:991px) and (min-width:768px){.brz .brz-css-knajt{z-index: auto;flex:1 1 50%;max-width:50%;}}@media(max-width:767px){.brz .brz-css-knajt{z-index: auto;flex:1 1 100%;max-width:100%;}}
.brz .brz-css-yzarb{z-index: auto;align-items:flex-start;padding:5px 15px 5px 15px;margin:0;}.brz .brz-css-yzarb > .brz-bg-content{border:0px solid transparent;}.brz .brz-css-yzarb > .brz-bg-media{border:0px solid rgba(102, 115, 141, 0);border-radius:0;}.brz .brz-css-yzarb > .brz-bg-media > .brz-bg-image{background-image:none;}.brz .brz-css-yzarb > .brz-bg-media > .brz-bg-color{background-color:rgba(0, 0, 0, 0);background-image:none;}@media(min-width:991px){.brz .brz-css-yzarb{display:flex;}.brz .brz-css-yzarb > .brz-bg-content{transition-duration:0.50s;transition-property: filter, box-shadow, background, border-radius, border-color;}.brz .brz-css-yzarb > .brz-bg-media{transition-duration:0.50s;transition-property: filter, box-shadow, background, border-radius, border-color;}.brz .brz-css-yzarb > .brz-bg-media > .brz-bg-image{transition-duration:0.50s;transition-property: filter, box-shadow, background, border-radius, border-color;}.brz .brz-css-yzarb > .brz-bg-media > .brz-bg-color{transition-duration:0.50s;transition-property: filter, box-shadow, background, border-radius, border-color;}}@media(max-width:991px) and (min-width:768px){.brz .brz-css-yzarb{z-index: auto;align-items:flex-start;padding:5px 15px 5px 15px;margin:0;}.brz .brz-css-yzarb > .brz-bg-content{border:0px solid transparent;}.brz .brz-css-yzarb > .brz-bg-media{border:0px solid rgba(102, 115, 141, 0);border-radius:0;}.brz .brz-css-yzarb > .brz-bg-media > .brz-bg-image{background-image:none;}.brz .brz-css-yzarb > .brz-bg-media > .brz-bg-color{background-color:rgba(0, 0, 0, 0);background-image:none;}}@media(max-width:991px) and (min-width:768px){.brz .brz-css-yzarb{display:flex;}.brz .brz-css-yzarb > .brz-bg-content{transition-duration:0.50s;transition-property: filter, box-shadow, background, border-radius, border-color;}.brz .brz-css-yzarb > .brz-bg-media{transition-duration:0.50s;transition-property: filter, box-shadow, background, border-radius, border-color;}.brz .brz-css-yzarb > .brz-bg-media > .brz-bg-image{transition-duration:0.50s;transition-property: filter, box-shadow, background, border-radius, border-color;}.brz .brz-css-yzarb > .brz-bg-media > .brz-bg-color{transition-duration:0.50s;transition-property: filter, box-shadow, background, border-radius, border-color;}}@media(max-width:767px){.brz .brz-css-yzarb{z-index: auto;align-items:flex-start;padding:0;margin:10px 0px 10px 0px;}.brz .brz-css-yzarb > .brz-bg-content{border:0px solid transparent;}.brz .brz-css-yzarb > .brz-bg-media{border:0px solid rgba(102, 115, 141, 0);border-radius:0;}.brz .brz-css-yzarb > .brz-bg-media > .brz-bg-image{background-image:none;}.brz .brz-css-yzarb > .brz-bg-media > .brz-bg-color{background-color:rgba(0, 0, 0, 0);background-image:none;}}@media(max-width:767px){.brz .brz-css-yzarb{display:flex;}.brz .brz-css-yzarb > .brz-bg-content{transition-duration:0.50s;transition-property: filter, box-shadow, background, border-radius, border-color;}.brz .brz-css-yzarb > .brz-bg-media{transition-duration:0.50s;transition-property: filter, box-shadow, background, border-radius, border-color;}.brz .brz-css-yzarb > .brz-bg-media > .brz-bg-image{transition-duration:0.50s;transition-property: filter, box-shadow, background, border-radius, border-color;}.brz .brz-css-yzarb > .brz-bg-media > .brz-bg-color{transition-duration:0.50s;transition-property: filter, box-shadow, background, border-radius, border-color;}}
@media(min-width:991px){.brz .brz-css-rsbpj{display:block;z-index: auto;position:relative;}}@media(max-width:991px) and (min-width:768px){.brz .brz-css-rsbpj{display:block;z-index: auto;position:relative;}}@media(max-width:767px){.brz .brz-css-rsbpj{display:block;z-index: auto;position:relative;}}
.brz .brz-css-ifipx{padding:0;margin:10px 0px 10px 0px;justify-content:center;position:relative;}@media(max-width:991px) and (min-width:768px){.brz .brz-css-ifipx{padding:0;margin:10px 0px 10px 0px;justify-content:center;position:relative;}}@media(max-width:767px){.brz .brz-css-ifipx{padding:0;margin:10px 0px 10px 0px;justify-content:center;position:relative;}}
.brz .brz-css-gmtsg .brz-ed-box__resizer{width:100%;}@media(max-width:991px) and (min-width:768px){.brz .brz-css-gmtsg .brz-ed-box__resizer{width:100%;}}@media(max-width:767px){.brz .brz-css-gmtsg .brz-ed-box__resizer{width:100%;}}
.brz .brz-css-lxrdu{max-width: 100%;height: 99px;border:0px solid rgba(102, 115, 141, 0);border-radius: 0px;}@media(min-width:991px){.brz .brz-css-lxrdu{transition-duration:0.50s;transition-property: border, box-shadow, filter;}.brz .brz-css-lxrdu:after{transition-duration:0.50s;transition-property: border, box-shadow, filter;}.brz .brz-css-lxrdu .brz-picture{transition-duration:0.50s;transition-property: border, box-shadow, filter;}}@media(max-width:991px) and (min-width:768px){.brz .brz-css-lxrdu{max-width: 100%;height: 51px;border:0px solid rgba(102, 115, 141, 0);border-radius: 0px;}}@media(max-width:991px) and (min-width:768px){.brz .brz-css-lxrdu{transition-duration:0.50s;transition-property: border, box-shadow, filter;}.brz .brz-css-lxrdu:after{transition-duration:0.50s;transition-property: border, box-shadow, filter;}.brz .brz-css-lxrdu .brz-picture{transition-duration:0.50s;transition-property: border, box-shadow, filter;}}@media(max-width:767px){.brz .brz-css-lxrdu{max-width: 46%;height: 47px;border:0px solid rgba(102, 115, 141, 0);border-radius: 0px;}}@media(max-width:767px){.brz .brz-css-lxrdu{transition-duration:0.50s;transition-property: border, box-shadow, filter;}.brz .brz-css-lxrdu:after{transition-duration:0.50s;transition-property: border, box-shadow, filter;}.brz .brz-css-lxrdu .brz-picture{transition-duration:0.50s;transition-property: border, box-shadow, filter;}}
.brz .brz-css-vmcwl{padding-top: 100%;}@media(max-width:991px) and (min-width:768px){.brz .brz-css-vmcwl{padding-top: 100%;}}@media(max-width:767px){.brz .brz-css-vmcwl{padding-top: 100%;}}
.brz .brz-css-ydqct{padding:0;}@media(max-width:991px) and (min-width:768px){.brz .brz-css-ydqct{padding:0;}}@media(max-width:767px){.brz .brz-css-ydqct{padding:0;}}
.brz .brz-css-vyesz > .brz-bg-media > .brz-bg-image{background-image:url({@[email protected]}/?brizy_media=wp-bd06672583450fe518cd79232d13ee1f&brizy_crop=iW%3D5000%26iH%3Dany&brizy_post=1465);background-position:49% 56%;}.brz .brz-css-vyesz > .brz-bg-media > .brz-bg-color{background-color:rgba(161, 112, 217, 0);}.brz .brz-css-vyesz > .brz-bg-content{padding:160px 0px 160px 0px;}@media(max-width:991px) and (min-width:768px){.brz .brz-css-vyesz > .brz-bg-media > .brz-bg-image{background-image:url({@[email protected]}/?brizy_media=wp-bd06672583450fe518cd79232d13ee1f&brizy_crop=iW%3D5000%26iH%3Dany&brizy_post=1465);background-position:49% 56%;}.brz .brz-css-vyesz > .brz-bg-media > .brz-bg-color{background-color:rgba(161, 112, 217, 0);}.brz .brz-css-vyesz > .brz-bg-content{padding:50px 15px 50px 15px;}}@media(max-width:767px){.brz .brz-css-vyesz > .brz-bg-media > .brz-bg-image{background-image:url({@[email protected]}/?brizy_media=wp-bd06672583450fe518cd79232d13ee1f&brizy_crop=iW%3D5000%26iH%3Dany&brizy_post=1465);background-position:49% 56%;}.brz .brz-css-vyesz > .brz-bg-media > .brz-bg-color{background-color:rgba(161, 112, 217, 0);}.brz .brz-css-vyesz > .brz-bg-content{padding:25px 15px 25px 15px;}}
@media(min-width:991px){.brz .brz-css-opvbk{max-width: 60%;}}@media(max-width:991px) and (min-width:768px){.brz .brz-css-opvbk{max-width: 60%;}}@media(max-width:767px){.brz .brz-css-opvbk{max-width: 60%;}}
.brz .brz-css-rqnro{flex:1 1 100%;max-width:100%;}@media(max-width:991px) and (min-width:768px){.brz .brz-css-rqnro{flex:1 1 100%;max-width:100%;}}@media(max-width:767px){.brz .brz-css-rqnro{flex:1 1 100%;max-width:100%;}}
.brz .brz-css-ouuzj{align-items:center;padding:50px;}.brz .brz-css-ouuzj > .brz-bg-media{border-radius: 40px;}.brz .brz-css-ouuzj > .brz-bg-media > .brz-bg-color{background-color:rgba(3, 165, 241, 0.85);}@media(max-width:991px) and (min-width:768px){.brz .brz-css-ouuzj{align-items:center;padding:5px 15px 5px 15px;}.brz .brz-css-ouuzj > .brz-bg-media{border-radius: 40px;}.brz .brz-css-ouuzj > .brz-bg-media > .brz-bg-color{background-color:rgba(3, 165, 241, 0.85);}}@media(max-width:767px){.brz .brz-css-ouuzj{align-items:center;padding:0;}.brz .brz-css-ouuzj > .brz-bg-media{border-radius: 40px;}.brz .brz-css-ouuzj > .brz-bg-media > .brz-bg-color{background-color:rgba(3, 165, 241, 0.85);}}
.brz .brz-css-fhxtj > .brz-bg-media > .brz-bg-image{background-image:none;}.brz .brz-css-fhxtj > .brz-bg-media > .brz-bg-color{background-color:rgba(255, 255, 255, 0.9);}.brz .brz-css-fhxtj > .brz-bg-content{padding:15px 0px 15px 0px;}@media(max-width:991px) and (min-width:768px){.brz .brz-css-fhxtj > .brz-bg-media > .brz-bg-image{background-image:none;}.brz .brz-css-fhxtj > .brz-bg-media > .brz-bg-color{background-color:rgba(255, 255, 255, 0.9);}.brz .brz-css-fhxtj > .brz-bg-content{padding:50px 15px 50px 15px;}}@media(max-width:767px){.brz .brz-css-fhxtj > .brz-bg-media > .brz-bg-image{background-image:url({@[email protected]}/?brizy_media=1ba72536c654aaa6a09052f03d2e3cba53c931c4.jpeg&brizy_crop=iW%3D5000%26iH%3Dany&brizy_post=1465);background-position:50% 50%;}.brz .brz-css-fhxtj > .brz-bg-media > .brz-bg-color{background-color:rgba(255, 255, 255, 0.9);}.brz .brz-css-fhxtj > .brz-bg-content{padding:25px 15px 25px 15px;}}
@media(min-width:991px){.brz .brz-css-kytjj{max-width: 85%;}}@media(max-width:991px) and (min-width:768px){.brz .brz-css-kytjj{max-width: 85%;}}@media(max-width:767px){.brz .brz-css-kytjj{max-width: 85%;}}
.brz .brz-css-kwsyj{flex:1 1 100%;max-width:100%;}@media(max-width:991px) and (min-width:768px){.brz .brz-css-kwsyj{flex:1 1 100%;max-width:100%;}}@media(max-width:767px){.brz .brz-css-kwsyj{flex:1 1 100%;max-width:100%;}}
.brz .brz-css-qmpsd{align-items:center;padding:5px 40px 5px 40px;}@media(max-width:991px) and (min-width:768px){.brz .brz-css-qmpsd{align-items:center;padding:5px 15px 5px 15px;}}@media(max-width:767px){.brz .brz-css-qmpsd{align-items:center;padding:0;}}
.brz .brz-css-qemly > .brz-bg-media > .brz-bg-color{background-color:rgba(238, 240, 242, 1);}.brz .brz-css-qemly > .brz-bg-content{padding:15px 0px 15px 0px;}@media(max-width:991px) and (min-width:768px){.brz .brz-css-qemly > .brz-bg-media > .brz-bg-color{background-color:rgba(238, 240, 242, 1);}.brz .brz-css-qemly > .brz-bg-content{padding:50px 15px 50px 15px;}}@media(max-width:767px){.brz .brz-css-qemly > .brz-bg-media > .brz-bg-color{background-color:rgba(238, 240, 242, 1);}.brz .brz-css-qemly > .brz-bg-content{padding:25px 15px 25px 15px;}}
@media(min-width:991px){.brz .brz-css-jykxu{max-width: 85%;}}@media(max-width:991px) and (min-width:768px){.brz .brz-css-jykxu{max-width: 85%;}}@media(max-width:767px){.brz .brz-css-jykxu{max-width: 85%;}}
.brz .brz-css-gxxow{flex:1 1 100%;max-width:100%;}@media(max-width:991px) and (min-width:768px){.brz .brz-css-gxxow{flex:1 1 100%;max-width:100%;}}@media(max-width:767px){.brz .brz-css-gxxow{flex:1 1 100%;max-width:100%;}}
.brz .brz-css-lwjgb{align-items:flex-end;}@media(max-width:991px) and (min-width:768px){.brz .brz-css-lwjgb{align-items:flex-end;}}@media(max-width:767px){.brz .brz-css-lwjgb{align-items:flex-end;}}
.brz .brz-css-wfyhn{margin:10px 0px 0px 0px;}@media(max-width:991px) and (min-width:768px){.brz .brz-css-wfyhn{margin:10px 0px 10px 0px;}}@media(max-width:767px){.brz .brz-css-wfyhn{margin:10px 0px 10px 0px;}}
.brz .brz-css-laupo{margin:10px 0px 0px 0px;}@media(max-width:991px) and (min-width:768px){.brz .brz-css-laupo{margin:10px 0px 10px 0px;}}@media(max-width:767px){.brz .brz-css-laupo{margin:10px 0px 10px 0px;}}
.brz .brz-css-zbobd{flex:1 1 13%;max-width:13%;}@media(max-width:991px) and (min-width:768px){.brz .brz-css-zbobd{flex:1 1 13%;max-width:13%;}}@media(max-width:767px){.brz .brz-css-zbobd{flex:1 1 30.5%;max-width:30.5%;}}
.brz .brz-css-jvrow{height: auto;border-radius: 50px;}@media(max-width:991px) and (min-width:768px){.brz .brz-css-jvrow{height: auto;border-radius: 26px;}}@media(max-width:767px){.brz .brz-css-jvrow{height: auto;border-radius: 24px;}}
.brz .brz-css-xfijp{flex:1 1 87%;max-width:87%;}@media(max-width:991px) and (min-width:768px){.brz .brz-css-xfijp{flex:1 1 87%;max-width:87%;}}@media(max-width:767px){.brz .brz-css-xfijp{flex:1 1 67.8%;max-width:67.8%;}}
.brz .brz-css-qocuw{align-items:center;}@media(max-width:991px) and (min-width:768px){.brz .brz-css-qocuw{align-items:center;}}@media(max-width:767px){.brz .brz-css-qocuw{align-items:center;}}
.brz .brz-css-kmixd{margin:10px 0px 0px 0px;}@media(max-width:991px) and (min-width:768px){.brz .brz-css-kmixd{margin:10px 0px 10px 0px;}}@media(max-width:767px){.brz .brz-css-kmixd{margin:10px 0px 10px 0px;}}
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Known mostly for its comedy videos, TikTok’s uses have begun to broaden, moving into the realm of social justice

The logo of TikTok, the most recent social media app to become wildly popular with teens today

Courtesy of TikTok

Lifestyle

TikTok takes over teens

{{ brizy_dc_image_alt uid='wp-366043078b93559c6c35c5574a07126f' }}

James Martini

Staff Writer

TikTok currently stands as the iOS App Store’s fourth top free entertainment app. The app, originally a Chinese app named Douyin, was launched in 2017. The app centers around short-form videos made by users, with the ability for users to lip-sync to popular songs the app has licensed.

TikTok’s first major rise to popularity occurred in 2017 when its parent company, ByteDance, acquired another popular Chinese app named Musical.ly, which already had a sizeable following internationally. The two apps were then merged, due to their similar focus on short form video.

The main draw of the app is its Duet feature, which allows users to create their own videos in response to other videos, allowing for both videos to play in tandem.

One of the biggest gripes many people have with platforms like YouTube and Instagram is that it can be very hard to find content by smaller creators, and only people who already have millions of followers will appear in your feed. TikTok, however, actually recommended quite a few local creators to me, from Oregon or the Pacific Northwest, many of whom only had a few thousand followers. This is a nice change of pace from many other social media sites.

TikTok has drawn many comparisons to Vine, a similar video focused app famous for failing due to its lack of an effective monetization model. TikTok, however, is different, as it has ads and sponsored posts. In the settings menu users are even given the explicit option to enable or disable targeted ads, a feature of many sites that modern users are becoming wary of, due to the large scrutiny they suffered as a result of the impact targeted Facebook ads had on the 2016 election.

TikTok has even begun to show signs of use beyond simply brief comedy videos. On Aug. 26th of this year, Gillian Sullivan, a 16-year-old from Las Vegas’ Clark County School District posted a TikTok discussing how the district had promised teachers a raise in exchange for taking more college classes, but reneged on their offer after many teachers had already completed the necessary courses. Sullivan expressed her anger with the school district over this, and her post ended up being seen by thousands of people across the country, and became national news.

Students, using TikTok began to show support for a strike that the teachers had been planning for September 10, and many showed intentions of joining teachers in the strike. This new attention being shed on the issue resulted in the school district rushing to resolve the problem, agreeing to the union’s demands of a 3% pay increase for teachers, a 4% increase in the district contributions to health insurance premiums, and a $5,400 salary raise for teachers who got their new college credits.



The use of TikTok to apply public pressure to this situation shows how the app has functionality beyond the comedy videos that its known for. A quality like this is imperative for a social media app’s longevity.

About the Writer
Photo of James Martini
James Martini, Alumni 2019-2020

James Martini’s interest in writing began as early as the second grade, and he has written ever since. As a senior, he began his career at the Jesuit...

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