The pandemic changed many things in the way education is delivered, but among the most important of these is the need to deliver remote digital learning in low resourced, low tech contexts. A number of tools emerged that had the potential to meet this demand, but one of the most impressive for me was Telegram.
Telegram is free to download and can be used on both iOS and Android devices as well as Windows, Linux and Apple’s Mac computers. Telegram started life as a free messaging app and that’s how many people see it today, but it can really do so much more.
There are a number of answers to this question:
- Telegram is a very powerful tool that is secure, and can enable access for unlimited numbers of students or teachers for free.
- It’s great for teaching live one-to-one classes. You can use either video or audio and screen share a presentation while you teach. You can also send documents, links to websites, videos and polls and quizzes.
- Telegram is very light on connectivity, even when compared to other messaging apps like WhatsApp it performs like for like tasks favourably, so it can deliver quite powerful learning even to basic mobile phones in areas where connectivity is limited or intermittent.
- At the basic level of accessing learning, it’s quite simple for students to use, so it doesn’t require a lot of learner training and onboarding for students (It can be a bit more complex for teachers).
- You can use Telegram to build both synchronous remote and asynchronous blended learning. The options for the kinds of content you can easily create and share are very broad and engaging. They include audio files, videos, documents, images and emojis as well as short talking head video clips that can help you build a sense of human support within your courses.
- You can create live broadcasts and webinars, as well as teaching groups and one-to-one classes. There’s no limit to how long these can be and the limit for attendance is 200k so that should be enough for most teachers. When teaching groups, up to 30 students can have their cameras on at any one time.
- As well as text messages, you can send audio and short video messages that students can watch and listen to multiple times.
- You can screen-share and record your lessons. The recordings of the lessons can then be shared with your students and can be downloaded and accessed by them for revision.
- You can build powerful blended learning by combining broadcast channels and interactive groups. This enables students to interact with each other around the content you post.
- You can develop communities and enable sharing and collaboration. Communities can have multiple administrators that can help to manage the interaction so that everyone can be involved.
- Unlike other forms of social media, access and updates aren’t mediated by the company and their algorithms. All of your students will see all the content you post.
Here are some of the ways I use Telegram.
- I created an Edtech & ELT channel to share links resources and teaching ideas: Nik’s Edtech & ELT Updates
- I created a webinar channel to deliver live broadcast learning: PeacheyPublications Webinars
- I also created a community for a course on Teaching with Telegram.
If you’d like to find out more and learn how to deliver different modes of learning, then check out my course Teaching with Telegram and let me help you reach more learners with more engaging learning.