Friday, May 27, 2016

WhatsUp Project












We can use technology everywhere and anytime: technology is ubiquitous, touching almost every part of our lives. Effective technology integration is achieved when the use of technology supports curricular goals. Or, in other words when we ask and get a clear answer to the question:" What's the added value of technology? What do we acheive with the help of technology that without it we would not have been able to achieve?"  This is where the WhatsUp project hits the spot!

What is the WhatsUp project?
Sample of one of the texts
                                                                          
In this project I send teachers frequently a short reading text using a broadcast list in WhatsApp on a variety of topics of interest to students in the 7-12 grades. Teachers then forward the WhatsApp message to their students in their own WhatsApp groups. As the project progressed, the reading texts are also accompanied with questions that the students can answer and get immediate feedback and an online vocabulary excercice , here is an example.

The Rationale:
Students are glued to their phones, especially to WhatsApp most of their waking day. Why not take advantage of this application in order to provide an opportunity for them to read about interesting topics in English? The idea behind this project was to encourage students to read more outside of the classroom. As the main goal was to encourage students to read on their own, I translate difficult words in the texts so that when students read they find it easier to cope. In addition, much attention has been paid to making sure that the texts are suitable for the different sectors in the Israeli society.

The Ministry of Education has already been doing Whatsapp projects such as this in other subjects and they have been extremely successful (one example is Olamon by Tamar Amar and Boker Tov Biology by Yossi Levanon which inspired me to start the project in Engilsh).


Who can take part?
Israeli JHS and HS teachers who have WhatsApp groups with their students are invited to register for the project. Messages will be sent using a broadcast list in WhatsApp. In order for you to get the WhatsApp messages, please ask to join the WhatsUp Project and send your full name and the name of your school to 052-4779394 Sigalit WhatsUp Project and please fill out your details in this form

Application in the classroom:
The short reading texts can be a basis for:
  • a lesson starter
  • a short class discussion
  • a writing assignment
  • a full lesson if teachers add more activities
  • an incentive for students to get some bonus points - students who read the text can get some extra bonus points if they prove they read it and can answer the teachers' questions about it.

Sharing ideas with other teachers:
All the texts that had been posted are on this Facebook page  and on the English Portal. In Facebook, teachers can share ideas, send feedback and upload additional materials which they developed - all this can be done under the relevant text on Facebook.


Additional ideas how to use WhatsApp in the classroom:

Teachers can take a picture of the board and post in the group for absent students or LD students who find it hard to copy from the board.
WhatsApp is also very useful for using with the flipped classroom approach. Send a text for your students to learn on WhatsApp. Add translation of difficult words.You can also record the text. Students read and listen to the text at home.

If you would like to ask a question or comment, please write in the comments section below.

25 comments:

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  8. Great teacger?..great research and focus on using IT in teaching.Flipped classroom a great method of ensuring all learners are in the lesson at school or away from home...virtually?

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