WhatsApp As A Social Media Tool For Teaching And Learning In Tertiary Institutions In Nigeria (Case Study Of University Of Port Harcourt)

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WhatsApp As A Social Media Tool For Teaching And Learning In Tertiary Institutions In Nigeria (Case Study Of University Of Port Harcourt)


Abstract


Whatsapp is getting to be one of most tools for communication among people, where everyone can exchange, share, comment, discuss and create information and knowledge in a collaborative way. With the increase in Social media rapidly changing the communications landscape, it emergence has impacted significantly how students learn and the way instructors teach. In today tertiary institution settings, lecturers, students and others collaborate on the tasks of knowledge construction. The definition of social media is “the connections that exist between network of individuals” The impact of social media on teaching and learning condition is growing every year and its applications can fortify class materials, positively influenced exchanges, collaborative work and community oriented work, etc. The lecturers and students testing the use of social media technologies to stimulate collaboration, information developments, knowledge constructions and thinking skills. The main aim of the research is to discover the hole of knowledge in adoption of whatsapp in teaching and learning process in formal sites that can efficiency applied in educational system.


Chapter One


Introduction

1.1 Background of the Study

The emergence of Whatsapp has revolutionized communication and facilitating teaching and learning activities in recent years. Social networking has blended learning and has become one of the most significant communication tools among young people; and is generally applied to the practice of using both and in-person learning experiences when teaching students. In a blended learning course, students might attend a class taught by a teacher in a traditional classroom setting, while also independently completing online components of the course outside of the classroom. In this case, in-class time may be either replaced or supplemented by online learning experiences, and students would learn about the same topics online as they do in class, that is, the online and in-person learning experiences would parallel and complement one another (Edglossary, 2016). Applying Social Networking Sites (SNSs) in teaching and learning offer a positive impact on the adoption of SNSs and open the door to the new days of learning and teaching. Whatsapp is a mobile application that allows users to communicate with them using mobile gadget and computer. Whatsapp can be used for teaching and learning for the following reasons:

  1. Multiple platforms: smartphones (Operating system, Android), PC, Laptop, iPad, Tab, and Web.
  2. Compatible file format: jpg, audio, movie, pdf, excel, word, PowerPoint.
  3. Large files transfer.
  4. Grouping facilities: 250 members, access to old/past messages, members add members.
  5. Better storage capacity and management
  6. Better memory system and management
  7. Better security with the encryption.

Whatsapp can also be accessed on the web and can be run easily run on a laptop, which can be used to engage students as a means of innovative learning mode and flipped learning mode. All messages, both incoming and outgoing are sent by the users (students) and can be displayed on multiple platforms concurrently. Whatsapp can also be used to conduct a flipped learning mode before the class meeting, as a means of passing information to students, and after the class lecture.

Selamat (2015) noted that whatsapp can be used to solve the following reasons and also used for blended learning:

Announcement 2. Forum i.e. whole class discussion 3. Quizzes 4. Open ended question 5. Group project report 6. Listening practice 7. Pronunciation practice 8. Speaking practice 9. Writing practice 10. Audio input/feedback 11. Video input/feedback 12. Problem solving 13. Content/materials sharing 14. PowerPoint presentation.
Heba (2015), opined the following advantages of whatsapp usage in 21st century education:

  1. It has a high security feature as it provides more security than other messenger app across the social media circle, and messages sent are always encrypted for security and privacy.
  2. Another advantage of whatsapp is that it provides extremely fast messaging service;
  3. It has no ads, and it is completely free.
  4. It has unlimited cloud storage.

Whatsapp is considered a student-centered asynchronous teaching app that uses online learning resources to facilitate information sharing beyond the constraints of time and place among a network of people. Asynchronous learning is based on a student-centered approach that emphasizes the importance of peer-to-peer interactions. This approach combines self-study with asynchronous interactions to promote learning, and it can be used to facilitate learning in traditional on-campus education, distance education and continuing education (Denysiuk, Plavutska & Fedak, 2018)


1.2 Statement of the Problem

Whatsapp is a powerful social media app for many other objectives other than education. It enables many business companies advertise their business companies to promote and create awareness on products and services, and get feedback from customers. The challenge of whether whatsapp improves or decreases a student’s academic performance is often expressed in larger issues identified with it overall usage (e.g., privacy and safety concerns; its psychological effects; individual self-discipline and self- regulation concerns; human adaptability concerns). Another major challenge affected by the usage of the app. This tool can be used by people for collaboration, networking, and production purposes: but they can also be used for less worthy objectives. Therefore, this research investigate whatsapp as a powerful social media tool for teaching and learning.


1.3 Aims and Objective of the Study

The main aim of the research is to investigate Whatsapp as a social media tool for teaching and learning in tertiary Institution across Nigeria.

With the following objectives:

  1. Examine students’ perception on the use of whatsapp for teaching and learning in tertiary institutions across Nigeria.
  2. Effective assess usage of whatsapp for teaching and learning to improve academic performance among students.

1.4 Research Question

  1. What are students’ usage of Whatsapp for teaching and learning in Universities?
  2. What are students’ perception on the use of Whatsapp for teaching and learning?
  3. Do students’ have access to data to visit Whatsapp regularly?

1.5 Research Hypothesis

  1. There are no significant differences in whatsapp usage among students in universities.
  2. There is no significant relationship between usage of whatsapp and perception of students.

1.6 Significance of the Study

The study will enable the Faculty to identify the potential role of new technological advances could play in the education sector. It will enable the Faculty and the University at large to utilize WhatsApp application in teaching and learning process. It will enable the Faculty and the University as a whole to be acquainted with the extent of utilization of WhatsApp application by lecturers and students in teaching and learning process. It will further examine the challenges faced by both lecturers and students on the use of WhatsApp in the education setting. The study will also be an eye-opener for school authorities/administrators, policy makers and implementers on the need to integrate new technologies in the school curriculum as observed in UK by (Wheeler, 2010). It will also be a platform for policymakers, and school authorities to train and retrain faculty members on the use of social networking tools to enhance teaching and learning in schools, as shown by Barhoumi (2015) in his research findings which shows that “WhatsApp” plays essential role in higher education.

It will finally arouse the interest of both lecturers and students on technological adoption and implementation in the education sector. In view of the above interest, Cavus and Ibrahim’s (2008) have already indicated that students enjoyed using their mobile phones to learn new words. Also for academic purposes, Chan (2005), Gillingham and Topper (1999) opined that WhatsApp mobile technology provides students with opportunities to interact together and to construct and share knowledge. At the same time, the scholar considered it to be an effective tool for learning and teaching through social interactions.


1.7 Definition of Terms

WhatsApp:

WhatsApp Messenger is a cross-platform instant messaging application that allows iPhone, Android, Windows Phone and Nokia smartphone users to exchange text, image, video and audio messages for free.

Students:

A person who is studying at a school or college.

Social Media:

Websites and applications that enable users to create and share content or to participate in social networking.

Encrypted:

Convert (information or data) into a cipher or code, especially to prevent unauthorized access.

JPG:

Is a file extension for a lossy graphics file

PDF:

A file format that provides an electronic image of text or text and graphics that looks like a printed document and can be viewed, printed, and electronically transmitted.

Asynchronous:

Of or requiring a form of computer control timing protocol in which a specific operation begins upon receipt of an indication (signal) that the preceding operation has been completed.


Chapter Five


Conclusions and Recommendation

5.1 Conclusion

The world has gone digital in almost all aspects. With modern technological advances, most countries of the world have started embarking on the digitized education system, and Nigeria as a country, especially at this time of democratization of education and subsequent admission quandary in recent times, cannot afford to remain behind and watch the world as their education system go digital. As a result, WhatsApp as one of the technological breakthroughs must be fully embraced for efficient electronic teaching and learning in Nigerian schools. The Faculty and the University at large must provide the needful; create substantial awareness and adequate training to enhance electronic education delivery in this part of the world in order to race with time. In spite of the fact that the study revealed that majority of the lecturers and students possess Internet-enabled mobile phones, they are not tailored purely for academic purposes. WhatsApp mobile application technology has been found to be one of the beneficial ways for learning. Hence, there is a need to utilize this platform for academic use (Makoe, 2010) and Bere, 2013).


5.2 Recommendations

For appropriate digitization of education in this part of the world, the researchers’ recommend among others, that lecturers’ and students’ should purchase Internet-enabled phones for effective utilization of WhatsApp instant messaging in teaching and learning process. The Faculty should provide training opportunities for both lecturers and students to enhance their skills/competencies on the efficient use of mobile phones, and particularly the WhatsApp instant messaging. The lecturers should as a matter of priority engage the students academically by constantly giving them assignments through WhatsApp instant messaging. This recommendation has been supported by researchers. For instance, Dougherty (2012) declared that “assignments create teaching and learning opportunities to think and learn about ideas, topics, events, and questions—about specific content in the curriculum”, and “a well-crafted assignment ensures that instruction will provide students with a goal and the power to get there, enabling them to engage in rigorous and interesting academic contexts as they acquire the content and skills necessary to participate in academic coursework.” Most importantly, the scholar stressed further that, “a well-crafted assignment takes into account what students can handle, while simultaneously stretching them. It clearly states the immediate goal and articulates the challenge in terms students can understand.” In addition, the author stressed that, “it tells students what to do and how well to do it. Assignments are also aligned to long-term goals, whether those goals are building toward proficiency on assessments or college and workplace readiness.”

Consequently, in order to disengage them from negative aspects of social media which influence their studies, the lecturers should also provide sufficient time for face-to-face academic and/or social interactions in order to minimize students’ involvement in infantile (chatting) activities on WhatsApp. These methods will to a large extent reduce or remove most of the times used on infantile and negative aspects of social media that influence students’ academic work. Further, the university should as a matter of priority assist the lecturers through loans to provide high-quality mobile phones that are Internet-enabled for effective browsing. The university and the faculty, in particular, should source for companies, private organizations, wealthy individuals’ within and outside the university community to help provide Internet-enabled phones for both lecturers and students in the Faculty. The Faculty should as well send lecturers and students for training to enhance their skills/competencies on the efficient use of mobile phones, and particularly the WhatsApp instant messaging. Research findings by Rambe and Bere (2013) revealed that the use of mobile instant messaging leverage learner participation and transform pedagogy at a South African University of Technology. Researches by Dror, 2008; Attewell, 2005; and Hanekom, Simons and Walters; 2015) as well, revealed that learners achieved great improvement in reading comprehension, promote teaching and learning in blended and open distance learning, and learners’ motivation also increased towards learning.

The university should as a matter of policy adopt the use of WhatsApp instant messaging by making it compulsory for teaching and learning. Conclusively, the faculty and the university at large should organize workshops, seminars and orientations on the use of WhatsApp in teaching and learning process (Gachago, Strydom, Hanekom, and Simons, 2015).


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