Chinese teachers now use social media to keep track of students round the clock

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Not only might students receive a math assignment at 7 p.m., but the interconnected nature of the WeChat system means that their parents are notified as well.

Social media apps would be the last thing you’d associate with schools and homework. After all, most people demonise them the very things that hinder students from focusing on school and doing their homework.

But the Chinese and their infinite enterprise has find a way to turn it around: educators in the country have resorted to using social media to monitor their students’ progress.

The MIT Technology Review shed light to this phenomenon in a report, saying the messaging app WeChat is being used by Chinese teachers to send information and updates to students outside of school—even late at night.

Seventh grader Zhang Zehao from Tianjin city in north China said that WeChat is used in class as a way for the teacher to connect with both students and parents.

“Not only might he receive a math assignment at 7 p.m., but the interconnected nature of the WeChat system means that his mother is notified as well,” said an Epoch Times report.

Studying for the final exams before the Chinese New Year vacation in January, Zhang Zehao’s math teacher called him at ten in the evening asking him to correct the mistakes in his geometry assignment.

While his mother sees the benefit of having teachers interact more closely with students, she thinks that the app “stresses you out.”

Xiong Bingqi, director of the 21st Century Education Institute, told MIT Technology Review, “It infringes on students’ privacy and affects the development of their character.”

Having WeChat accounts hasn’t yet been mandatory in China, but its educational use is starting to gain more traction.

“In Chongqing, a province-level city with 15 million people, schools from kindergarten to grade 12 are required to open official WeChat accounts by June for better contact with parents and students,” the Epoch Times report said.

Not everyone is sold on the idea, however; some schools make it a point to limit the use of the app.

A Chinese language and literature teacher in Tianjin told MIT Technology Review that in her school, the app’s use is limited to showing excellent homework examples and disseminating school events.

“If we praise the good ones,” she said, “other parents will encourage their kids to work hard too.”

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