WhatsApp is a mobile messaging application that was developed in 2009 by Brian Acton and Jan Koum and acquired by Facebook in 2014. It is very popular because of its user-friendly and free features that can be assessed anywhere in the world, once you have an internet connection. It can be used as a business, educational and personal platform for easy communication. It allows you to stay connected with your friends, family, classmates and coworkers through text, voice, and other media. As the name reminds us, starting a conversation is as easy as “Hey, what’s up?” Interestingly this app started to share messages only, but soon became famous for sharing files, audio and video message sharing. Moreover, and in contrast to your phone SMS, international calls can be placed for free if both receivers and caller have WhatsApp installed on their side. It has several interesting features such as this tool is free, reliable and secure with an end-to-end encryption facility and that made it popular in more than 100 counties.
It can be downloaded on any smartphone including Android and iPhone, along with computers. It can be run using Wi-Fi access and data plan. As it uses your phone’s internet to send and receive SMS, this makes communication by text messaging free and you can avoid the phone carriers’ fees. The access is unlimited, as long as it is connected to an internet facility. You can sync your messages from phone to computer, and use it on both devices by sharing the QR code.
Additionally, What’s App allows a maximum of 256 participants to stay connected in each group. It allows users to create group chats, personal chats, share documents, pictures, share audio and video messages, audio/video calls etc. It also allows users to customize notifications, mute them, or let it sleep for a few hours. It has a private and group chat facility as well as it allows to place group calls including video calls.
Robles et al., (2019) conducted a study to analyze online teacher student interactions using WhatsApp in law school. According to these authors, law university students prefer to use WhatsApp and they think it is convenient to communicate with teachers. They prefer WhatsApp over other technologies such as email. According to teachers, WhatsApp discussion benefits the learning process in this law school. Students think it strengthens their interactions, and it helps closing the distance between student and teacher. Authors also confirmed that WhatsApp integration in their course gave them the opportunity to discuss legal concepts which helped them to develop case studies more effectively.
Thus, altogether WhatsApp is a very popular app to stay connected and can be very helpful in the educational environment.