WhatsApp is a free to download messenger app for smartphones.
WhatsApp uses the internet to send messages, images, audio or video. The service is very similar to text messaging services however, because WhatsApp uses the internet to send messages, the cost of using WhatsApp is significantly less than texting.
It is popular with teenagers because of features like group chatting, voice messages and location sharing.
Users of WhatsApp can share their location in real time over messages.
They can also organise lists of contacts so that they can quickly send messages to lots of people in group chats through WhatsApp.
Probably the best feature of WhatsApp is that it allows users to keep in touch with people living abroad, without incurring the international charges associated with text messages.
To use it;
To use WhatsApp you need:
a compatible smartphone or tablet with a simcard, an internet connection and a phone number.
The app uses your phone number as its username, and your account is locked to the phone, although you can transfer your contacts over to new devices.
Whatsapp in the classroom;
1.The ability to include up to 100 members in a group chat. This means the ability to send a message instantly to everyone anytime, anywhere. Informing students of changes in schedules, reminders of deadlines and sharing of useful resources requires communication that is either done in class or through emails. WhatsApp is a social space that allows for both synchronous and asynchronous communication to take place simultaneously.
2. The ability send each other unlimited images, video and audio media messages.
WhatsApp comes in handy for students and teachers
RIYADH: ARAB NEWS
Published — Sunday 16 March 2014
Afternoon classes and home tutoring will soon be a thing of the past.
A private school in Riyadh has begun using the WhatsApp mobile application to explain courses, disseminate homework and interact with students for the very first time.
Students join WhatsApp groups with their teachers to discuss lessons and problems after the school discovered that the application can be an efficient educational tool and not just limited to private instant messaging.
To maximize the use of this medium, teachers also give pop questions for each student to answer. Students who come up with the best answers will be awarded prizes every weekend. A teacher supervising one of these group says he usually sends a question to his group in the early morning before school starts to keep them motivated.
“We began this trend as a new educational method,” the teacher said. “Pupils will then come to school optimistic and motivated to win.” The new method also includes teachers posting audio and video clips of class material.
Similar to private tutoring, the material sent on the application is to give additional support to better improve understanding of classroom lessons.
One student at the school expressed excitement about the WhatsApp group. “At six in the evening, we carry our mobiles waiting for teachers to send a recap of the lesson we learned in the morning at school,” he said. “Teachers start the lesson as they would in the school classroom and whoever has a question can interrupt and ask.”
These virtual lessons have greatly helped boost student engagement in the classroom. “It has encouraged me to get better grades,” another student said. “I wake up every morning to answer the question.”
Schools are not the only institutions trying to make the best out of technology. Several Saudi universities have begun using social media websites to send additional material and establish direct communication with students for a stronger educational environment.