TikTok’s New Science, Technology, Engineering, & Mathematics Feed

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Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) skills are recognised globally to support societal innovation and growth.

To sustain global development, we must continue to advance technologies that improve the economy, meet societal needs, and enhance the overall quality of life. Yet, despite an ongoing UK initiative to encourage more young people into STEM careers, there is still a widespread lack of enthusiasm.

TikTok’s New STEM Feed

TikTok is contributing to this effort by leveraging its strengths – producing and promoting short, captivating videos that highlight the diverse possibilities within STEM careers. Recently, TikTok enhanced its educational outreach by launching a dedicated STEM feed, initially only available in the United States – but based on user feedback, may soon expand globally.

The potential of this new topic stream to influence Gen Z and Gen Alpha’s career choices is significant. Although 75% of Gen Z youth (aged 12 – 26) are interested in one type of science, technology, engineering and mathematics topic, only 29% of Gen Z youth are interested in “[pursuing] specific STEM-related jobs in the future.” (K-12 Dive)

It is widely acknowledged that there is a shortage of clear role models in STEM fields, which can discourage young people from pursuing these careers. Many see a career in STEM as unattainable due to insufficient exposure or lack of interest, often because they have not witnessed these careers in real-world contexts.

Many young people’s understanding of STEM is constant to textbook descriptions, and the gap between learning theoretical knowledge and seeing practical applications hinders their ability to envision the possibilities of a STEM career.

Dedicated Space for STEM Exploration

The new topic stream feature will provide users with content related to science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. STEM-related hashtags on the short-form video-sharing platform are said to have received over “110 billion views to date” (TikTok Newsroom), and the company want to continue to connect those in tech careers with those interested in entering one.

In an article on TikTok Newsroom, the company announced:

“To empower continued discovery on TikTok, we’re announcing the STEM feed – a new viewing experience that will give our community a dedicated space to explore a wide range of inspiring, entertaining, and enriching videos related to science, technology, engineering, and math.”

The new STEM topic stream aims to use the platform for positive and educational content – as opposed to lip-syncing and dance videos. The feed is designed to mix entertainment and education to provide a designated community for aspiring data scientists, coders, or engineers.

The topic stream breaks down the mystery behind STEM careers. While the new app feature may seem trivial to some, being exposed to STEM content is proven to boost a young person’s interest in pursuing a STEM career. According to K-12 Dive, “when introduced to four or five technology-related topics in classrooms, students are 2.6 times more likely to consider a future STEM job, […] and 5.3 times more likely to be employed in a STEM career.”

STEM & Underrepresented Groups

Enhanced exposure in STEM fields is especially important for women and other underrepresented groups, including individuals from lower socio-economic backgrounds, disabled individuals, and the BAME (Black, Asian, and Minority Ethnic) community. These groups often face additional systemic barriers and biases that can limit their access to educational and career opportunities in STEM.

By increasing visibility and representation within these fields, it becomes possible to inspire and empower these individuals, helping them see the potential for success and innovation in STEM careers.

This exposure not only challenges prevailing stereotypes but also enriches the STEM field with diverse perspectives, which are essential for encouraging creativity and driving innovation. When members of underrepresented groups can see themselves reflected in STEM role models, it strengthens their belief in their capabilities and enhances their aspirations to pursue similar paths.

Final Thoughts

TikTok’s new STEM feed highlights the potential for STEM careers. By showcasing real-world applications and the exciting possibilities within STEM fields, this initiative not only seeks to spark interest and enthusiasm among young people but also aims to bridge the gap in STEM representation.

We think the introduction of the STEM feed globally could be a game-changer, particularly for underrepresented groups who have historically had limited exposure to these careers. The commitment to making STEM accessible and engaging through social media could inspire a new generation of scientists, engineers, and technologists, ready to take on the challenges of tomorrow with creativity and skill.

Follow us on social media to stay tuned for any updates on its UK roll-out!

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