'Speak Freely-Keep the Conversation Going-Share Moments that Matter-Say What's On Your Mind' Education is Communication. The moment we stop dialogue, education ends. It has been followed since the beginning of our civilisation that we need to connect with others and thereafter collaborate to grow.
Sustainability of life is not based on super-advanced technology or sci-fi machines; it depends completely on how we 'Stay Together' and 'Work Together'. Fortunately, we have been able to develop a 'communicative medium' that is saving us from becoming gravity-less beings. The time to discuss whether we should depend on the internet or not has passed. We are in an age where information is the deadliest and strongest weapon and "Information Management' is the way to rule and win.
Apart from Social Media, there are millions of smartphone applications that are available for free download. This 2014 Facebook acquired product has something fantastic about the way it enters into our lives. It has made us habitual of using mobile phones. The amount of usage has paved the way for the market to launch innovative assistants each moment. Education has always got influenced by conditions and contexts. This time also, the WhatsApp phenomenon has entered the 'Learning Planet'.
An App with more than a billion users in the world boasts of its presence on all types of smartphones that have internet access. It has been widely misused as well To say responsibly, it has been used in an immature way rather. Internet-Based Platforms have this curse on them. But the official statements on the company page makes it bit responsible. The taglines and product slogans speak of determination:
'WhatsApp started as an alternative to SMS. Our product now supports sending and receiving a variety of media: text, photos, videos, documents, and location, as well as voice calls. Our messages and calls are secured with end-to-end encryption, meaning that no third party including WhatsApp can read or listen to them. Behind every product, the decision is our desire to let people communicate anywhere in the world without barriers.'
- Education needs to follow-back the taglines of WhatsApp that actually belong to our learning system- ANYTIME & ANYWHERE. Learning has no permissions to ask for and there is, in fact, no owner of learning. It happens when we participate in LIFE. Of course, as a messaging app, WhatsApp is not supposed to be a self-sufficient Teacher. But, it facilitates communication which is the core of any classroom or curriculum. It is like taking the classroom, not just out of the concrete walls but much beyond- To the MIND and Hands of the Learners! Teachers and institutions have already started using WhatsApp for institutional coordination purpose. It has become an alternative to phone calls and parents feel much relieved now as they have access to teachers in a better way.
- WhatsApp has emerged as the leader in Social Connectivity Apps. It is equally eligible to be used as an educational tool. WhatsApp Open Online Courses are the next 'small thing' to happen to Life Long Learning. In the coming ages, we shall not be debating on the authenticity of certificates or degrees but on the Learning, we shall be able to GENERATE through Collaboration and Integration of Technology and Education. Let's discuss what is WOOCs and How are they going to change the way we look at the green icon Chat-App.
WhatsApp for Education and WOOCs- WhatsApp Open Online Courses
MOOCs: Massic Open Online Courses have been challenged by POOCs (Personalised Open Online Courses. Going further, a new thing evolved is DOCC (Distributed Open Collaborative Course) and BOOC (Big Open Online Course). Technology gives dynamism to the classroom and the curriculum. Hence we better adapt to the trends than fighting against them without making the positive use.
MOOCs need platforms like Edx, Open2Study, Coursera, NPTEL or FutureLearn. But WOOCs are empowered by WhatsApp as well as by Facebook now. WhatsApp is a ready platform to share learning. We have already been doing this. The required thing is to design 'Learning Outcomes' and serve them through regular interventions on the App. Groups are the classrooms and Chats are the learning lectures.
Why WOOCs? "The Next SMALL Thing!
- Because we use WhatsApp as the primary Communication Platform (Internet Based) these days.
- WOOCs enable customised learning without getting into approvals delays or classroom arrangements.
There are Learning Guides who have pioneered in the area of Mobile Learning. Prof. M.M. Pant is the leader among them. His discourses and innovation-driven teachings have established him as the master of Life Long Learning. His Blog Education for the 4th Industrial Age is one of the leading resources for the coming ages. He has been conducting SMILE (Sunday Meetups for Innovative Learning Expeditions) along with WhatsApp Courses.
His Learning Blog has a Calander of all WOOCs and SMILE events and there are thousands of learners from across the globe in his list now. Participation happens with prior registration by sending a WhatsApp message to +919810073724 or sending RSVP for the specific SMILE event at Meetup.com
- March 18th 2017: WhatsApp course on Becoming an Independent Educator: a Teacherpreneur
- April 8th 2017: WhatsApp on Mental Depression
- April 15th 2017: WhatsApp on Humour in the Classroom
- April 16th 2017: SMILE event on Humour in the Classroom
- May 20th 2017: WhatsApp course on Spirituality in the 4th Industrial Age
- June 3rd 2017: WhatsApp course on Computational Thinking
- June 4th 2017: SMILE event on Computational Thinking
- July 29th : WhatsApp course on Coming of Age in the 4th Industrial Age
- August 12th : Literary Weekend: WhatsApp course on ‘Children’s Literature’
- August 13th : Literary Weekend: SMILE event on ‘Children’s Literature’
- August 27th : Reflective Weekend: WhatsApp course on ‘An unexamined life is not worth living’
- August 27th : Reflective Weekend: SMILE event on ‘An unexamined life is not worth living’
- September 9th : Literary Weekend: WhatsApp course on ‘Rhyme and Reason: Philosophy in Poetry’
- September 23rd : Reflective Weekend: WhatsApp course on ‘The meaning of life’
- October 7th : Literary Weekend: WhatsApp course on ‘Humour’
- October 21st : Reflective Weekend: WhatsApp course on ‘avoiding stupidity’
- October 22nd : Reflective Weekends: SMILE event on ‘avoiding stupidity’
- November 11th : Literary Weekend: WhatsApp course on ‘Essays’
- November 12th : Literary Weekends: SMILE event on ‘Essays’
- November 25th : Reflective Weekends: WhatsApp course on ‘the 100-year life’
- December 2nd : Literary Weekend: WhatsApp course on ‘Flash Fiction’
- December 3rd : Literary Weekend: SMILE event on ‘Flash Fiction’
- December 16th : Reflective Weekend: WhatsApp course on ‘ the Big Questions?’