WhatsApp Turns New Age Classroom For Students

Bhubaneswar: Two months before the Class XII board exams, Ankita Mishra, student of a CBSE affiliated school here had deleted her account from most of the social media platform. The only exception was Whatsapp.

The girl, who scored 92.67 per cent in the exams, said even during the height of preparations, she could not afford to stay away from Whatsapp as it helped her stay connected with her peers and teachers.

“My school WhatsApp group comprises both students and class teachers. We kept in constant touch with each other to clear last minute doubts,” said Ankita.

“Though WhatsApp is not allowed in classes, one of our science teachers encouraged us to create a group so that she could help us clear our doubts even beyond school hours,” she said.

WhatsApp is a growing trend in private schools and is seemingly becoming an integral part of the education system.

It’s is no longer a platform where you indulge in endless chat and exchange everything in the world. Its benefit has gradually been realised across spheres and in the education sector in particular, observed Pramod Sawant, a Class XI teacher of DAV School in the city.

While he does not encourage the use of cellphones in the class, Sawant supported the idea of limited usage in undergraduate classes if technology helps improve learning outcomes.

“Initially, I felt it is a menace but WhatsApp for learning has advantages as well,” he said.

“One of the most common ways to stay informed about our children’s education is parents’ WhatsApp groups. We keep the parents apprised about the class performance of their wards. We highlight issues and seek their feedback. This medium is here to stay,” he added.

Common WhatsApp groups in the education space…

  • Student-Teacher WhatsApp group
  • Peer-To-Peer WhatsApp group
  • Parents’ WhatsApp group
  • Mothers’ WhatsApp group
  • Parents-school driver WhatsApp group

WhatsApp groups are, however, not just being used for clearing doubts but also to make up for lost days at school. Recently, the media had highlighted how during the school holidays in Delhi because of pollution, teachers used WhatsApp and Skype to make up for the crucial teaching hours lost.

WhatsApp has also helped anxious mothers get closer as a group, all for the cause of their wards. The mothers’ WhatsApp group has emerged as another platform for exchange notes, best teaching practices at home and even sharing of previous year’s question papers.

“Competition becomes stiff as children get promoted to the next class. This group has at least helped me keep my son stay on course,” said Swarnali Ghosh. The Ghosh family recently shifted from Pune to Bhubaneswar and Swarnali is reaching out to mothers here to replicate the Pune story.

Some schools have a WhatsApp group with the bus driver as the admin, keeping parents informed about the bus movement and arrival of students on campus.

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