Where did BackChat come from?

Missed opportunity…well almost!It seems almost unreal to think that I missed this opportunity for so long….to let the learners use WhatsApp to send me pictures of their questions. I distinctly remember, way back in 2011, I was teaching a group of Grade 8’s, and WhatsApp was still in its infancy when we started to use the WhatsApp group functionality…and at the time the maximum size for a group was 10.

BackChat pilot

I guess with the coming of age of smartphones it became just a matter of time before it dawned on me that this is a great way to let the learners ask their questions (something that has been a thorn in my side, for its practical limitations, for many years). During October of 2015 we launched a pilot for this facility on WhatsApp, and advertised all over the social media sites that we would give the service, where we would make video-memorandums of questions submitted on WhatsApp, free of charge for the duration of the month. We had such an overwhelming reaction, that the name “BackChat” was retained for this platform, as it not only allows the learners to talk to each other, but also to talk back to the MATHmechanic, when asking questions.

Take a photo of your question – how easy do you want it?

I’ve had the good fortune of having had the use of the Scriblr Educator since 2004, and although it eliminates the need for video-editing (literally meaning that the time it takes to make the video is the time it takes to produce it) I have always struggled to get the learners to ask their own unique questions. I’ve tried emails, SMS, even Skype but it was only with the idea of photos using a cellphone that the true potential of having a tutor every day of the week was realized.


Now, I can really tell a student that it is no longer necessary to go for extra classes once a week, as they can have it each day. It is called “BackChat”!

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