[smc-discuss] WhatsApp and mental torture in school communities

Nandakumar Edamana nandakumar at nandakumar.co.in
Sat Jun 6 22:32:20 PDT 2020

Akshay, thanks for participating.

On 07/06/20 10:30 am, Akshay S Dinesh wrote:
> What do schools do with a chat app, any idea?
> Do they send videos across? Or is it to communicate things like time
> table? Or are they using two way communication?
They use it for virtually everything you can imagine. They'd even figure
out a way to teleport over WhatsApp! Now, speaking seriously, they use
it for staff-staff two way communication and teacher-student two-way
communication. Some stuff getting shared are already available via other
media like newspaper, TV and YouTube, while other stuff are exclusive.
Namely, they ask activities (homework) to be sent to the teacher via
WhatsApp. Kids are not technically forced to use WhatsApp for this, but
peer pressure does. Teachers are however forced to use WhatsApp to
collect these activities, take counts, and share with superiors.
> There are several things which can be solved by thinking ahead.
> For example, time tables shouldn't be announced 10 minutes before class.
I didn't get this.
> Multi-way chats are probably unwanted. If at all required, perhaps, a
> large discourse instance with private areas are probably better for
> many reasons (including the ability to use it via email).
> There are people who don't know how to use email but do know how to
> use Whatsapp. But this is no reason to continue using Whatsapp for
> every damn problem. Like they say, everything looks like a nail for a
> person with a hammer, every problem gets solved through Whatsapp these
> days which is sad considering how Whatsapp creates more problems than
> it solves in many cases.
> Hosting videos, again, is better managed through a different solution
> where organizing content is more effectively done.
They use TV, YouTube and Samagra to host videos from the govt, although
content produced in schools are shared via WhatsApp.
> I think, when we are suggesting a solution, we may actually suggest
> solutions to the actual problems than be drawn away by their attempted
> solution and offer alternatives to that solution whether or not they
> solve the original problem.
> If, instead of jumping to a half-baked (or 10% baked) solution like
> Whatsapp, the schools and department of education take a week off and
> think about what they want to do, this might be a brilliant
> opportunity to redefine the education system itself.
Exactly. It's like they think the whole education system would collapse
if schools get delayed by a couple of weeks. I really appreciate their
honest attempts, but if clear guidelines aren't released, this is going
to do more harm than good.
> What if there is one wiki where teachers of Kerala co-create textbooks
> in Malayalam like ck12.org <http://ck12.org> ? We have the experience
> of running school wiki
Thanks for bringing ck12.org <http://ck12.org> into notice.
https://samagra.kite.kerala.gov.in/ is meant to be a collaborative platform.
> When switching to internet, it is dumb to not use the power of
> collaboration it offers. We have to tell the education department to
> now think about becoming futuristic (think edx, coursera, OCW, etc)
I think they should re-consider the role of ICT in primary education.
Although e-learning is the present and future in higher education,
ICT-based education outside classrooms won't work well in primary
schools, I think. Students use MOOC and other stuff in colleges and
universities because they're clear what they need. A normal school kid
need not be wise enough to guide himself through the overwhelming
e-resources (and potentially the bad stuff) that the technology presents
in front of him.

However, that was personal, and with this move happening in the mailing
list, I think our focus can be limited to proprietary and
privacy-killing apps and platforms.

Nandakumar Edamana

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