It’s not news that students are using technology to cheat on their school work. Or that their teachers are working hard to stop them.
With their arsenal of electronic gadgets, students these days find it easier to cheat. And so, faced with an array of inventive techniques in recent years, college officials find themselves in a new game of cat and mouse, trying to outwit would-be cheats this exam season with a range of strategies – cutting off Internet access from laptops, demanding the surrender of cellphones before tests or simply requiring that exams be taken the old-fashioned way, with pens and paper.
Teachers blame the technology and the fact that students are using it to plagiarize and cheat on exams. But is it possible that the assignments themselves are the problem?
Instead of tests that ask students to simply recall information, why not give them complete access to any networked device and then ask them to interpret, analyze, or apply the data they find?
As an alternative to the time honored research paper, on the same old subjects in the same old format, maybe we should be requiring students to do real-world projects and use the technology to collaborate with others, both inside and outside the school.
Rather than fighting a losing battle against increasingly connected students, maybe it’s time to reconsider the traditional educational concept that all learning must be done in isolation for it to be valid.