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WhatsApp: Using SMS Technology in the United Arab Emirates University Classroom
A recent study from the Arab Summit about Facebook and WhatsApp conducted with over 7,000 participants in 18 Arab countries found that "social media is perceived as having numerous positive aspects that enhance the quality of life of individuals..." This paper examines the use of WhatsApp, a smart phone short messaging service (SMS), in the United Arab Emirates university classroom with particular application to skill-based media production courses. Using journals, surveys and interview methodologies, the study finds that students benefit substantially from the use of WhatsApp in the university classroom for a number of reasons. The study concludes that students use WhatsApp due to the ease, familiarity and immediacy of the SMS technology as opposed to other traditional methods such as email or iLearn digital applications. The use of WhatsApp also stimulates learning outside the classroom environment and provides the professor a digital window towards understanding student study and learning behaviors. The paper will also discuss some of the potential challenges for using WhatsApp in the classroom such as the United Arab Emirate's new Cybercrime law.
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