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Move aside Reddit, students are moving to Telegram groups

telegram groups
Fast-growing Telegram can be a helpful tool in helping students interact with like-minded individuals and grasp key skills. Source: Alexander Nemenov / AFP

Since interaction is key in any educational environment, an increasing number of students are beginning to realise the benefits of quick answers. The more, the merrier. The more diverse, the better. The rapid-fire growth of Telegram groups has provided a more accessible, yet global, avenue for learning and collaborating. 

In February 2016, 15 billion messages were sent daily on the free platform. Interest quickly boomed when WhatsApp announced its controversial 2021 privacy policy. All of a sudden, Telegram’s option for end-to-end encryption sounded like a better idea. To add, the app has a number of privacy-centric features such as secret chats, self-destructing messages, and options for anonymity. 

Today, it has 55.2 million active users daily, logging in from every corner of the globe. According to Statista, 21.9% of them are between the ages of 18 to 24. A whopping 30.6% of them represent the 25 to 34 age group

A useful tool to academia and academics

While Telegram is commonly used for basic interaction, existing users can also be found in groups of up to 200,000 members sharing valuable information. Telegram channels are similar, however, the number of participants is unlimited. Hence the platform’s ability to help students gain insights from people who share the same ideologies, queries or have simply once walked in their shoes. 

Jonathan Sim, an instructor from the National University of Singapore, told Times Higher Education it’s capable of far more, stating: “In my years of teaching, the Telegram messaging app has become a very integral support system for me as an educator. It helps to alleviate students’ anxieties and empower them in their learning. So each semester, I create a Telegram helpline where students can seek help directly from me or from one of my teaching assistants.”

telegram groups

Technology, like Telegram, is helping students learn better. Source: Rodrigo Buendia / AFP

Not only are universities using the Telegram groups and channels to keep their students engaged, but open groups are also plenty and ever-willing to share useful information. Since it boasts a maximum file size of 2GB per media message, it has become an unrivalled tool for sharing photos, videos and voice notes via mobile. 

For example, the @stasistarzacademy group focuses on preparing international students to apply to US universities. It posts SAT words of the day, acceptance rates, fast facts, and much more. 

@scholarshipscorner is filled with internship opportunities, information on competitions, free courses, training programmes, funding options, and various other resources students must know about. It has 54,653 subscribers. 

A suitable choice for lifelong learners

Students are developing skills through Telegram groups and channels too. @opendatascience is the platform’s first data science channel, posting all technical and industry-relevant information related to AI, big data, machine learning, general math and statistics. Similar channels are available to those interested in Python, general tech, Android development, engineering, and more. 

Those interested in learning English are equally spoiled for choice. @idiomsland has over 155,000 subscribers discovering new idioms and idiomatic expressions daily to improve their conversational English. @English has almost 500,000 learners testing their knowledge with daily quizzes. 

Users can revisit this useful information as and when necessary with Telegram’s bookmarking feature. Since the platform boasts the ability to host multiple sessions, students are able to log into a single account from multiple devices (Telegram can be used on iOS, Mac, Android, Windows, Linus OS, and through its site on a browser). Sessions are synchronised instantly.

It’s clear the rise of the smartphone has helped education technology pave the way for a more liberated approach to learning — one every on-the-go, tech-savvy student should begin leveraging for their betterment.