Should schools and colleges stop using WhatsApp?

Why WhatsApp shouldn't be used by schools

In India, WhatsApp is the most popular messaging app. Everyone uses it and the app has become so integrated into our lives.

If you want to plan a trip, what is the first thing you do? Create a WhatsApp group, ofcourse. If you want to pay your bills or send money, you can use WhatsApp. If you want to buy something from a store, you can use the app.

Signed up for a workshop or an event? You are likely to be added to a WhatsApp group.

The messaging app is also popular among the educational institutions here. That is what I really want to talk about.

The college that I study in primarily uses WhatsApp for communications. Teachers use the app to send notes and share updates and important announcements. In addition to the main class group, we also have specific groups corresponding to each subjects that we have to study.

There are also groups for special events, worshops and clubs as well.

I have studied in several schools and they all use the app.

But in my opinion, WhatsApp is not the best option for educational institutions. Schools and colleges using WhatsApp should consider shifting to another platform.

So why is WhatsApp widely used by educational institutions?

The answer is simple and I mentioned it before. WhatsApp is incredibly popular and literally everyone uses it here. Teachers don’t need to force students to install another app. All they need is our number and within a few moments, we are all added to a group.

WhatsApp is simple, familiar, and convenient.

What is the problem with using WhatsApp?

First of all, WhatsApp is owned by Facebook (Meta) and we all know that Facebook and privacy don’t go well together. Meta claims that the app uses end-to-end encryption and they don’t read your conversations. But can we really trust Meta? NO!

Second, WhatsApp deletes the files from their servers after a certain period of time. If you don’t download a file within that specific time frame, the file will be deleted from the server and you will have to ask the sender to send you the file again. This is really annoying and has happened to me so many times.

The next problem with the app is that it is usually hard to find something. Yes, the app does have a search feature but it isn’t all that great. Not only that, it is also possible for you to completely miss an important message. Sometimes, group chats get really busy with a lot of messages and there probably may be some update or announcement buried in there. There have been occassions where I couldn’t find a message or attachment and had to ask my friends to find it and send it to me (

Since the app is mainly a messaging app, it doesn’t have any organizational features. You can’t group documents together and create a folder. There isn’t a way to group notes according to a module or a subject. The group management features of WhatsApp are also not that great either.

All these problems are caused by using an app that is not designed and not suited to be used in educational institutions.

So what is a better choice than WhatsApp?

To be completely honest, I really don’t know.

Using an LMS like Moodle or Blackboard is usually the option people bring up. My college did host moodle during the pandemic (before I joined college) but they don’t use it anymore. I did try out the official moodle demo instance for some time and it seems to be a great choice.

If you know any other alternatives, I would love to hear it.

Wrapping it up

Even though I haven’t used an LMS like Moodle extensively, I am pretty sure teachers and students will find using Moodle much more easier and convenient than using a messaging app.

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