It’s kind of amazing isn’t it? “It” being the fact that so many students can use their cell phones while they’re in class. Seems like it wasn’t too long ago that we were sitting in those same chairs (relatively speaking) and if there was an emergency, somehow, our parents were able to find us without us needing our phones, set to vibrate, on our hips.
Temptation often comes with access. Therefore, it should actually not be that much of a shocker that more and more students are using technology as a way to cheat. And again, while it’s not like a lot of us didn’t attempt to do the same thing, with iPhones and smartphones basically being “mini-computers”, the urge to cheat is far greater (and easier) that it used to be.
One of the most obvious ways that young people are using (rather abusing) technology is by going online during tests in order to pull up answers that they are looking for. It only takes a moment to type a question into a search engine to get a response, or at least an answer that makes more sense than the random one that you were about to put down because you didn’t study.
Another way that students are using technology to cheat (believe it or not) is by “outsourcing” answers. If they need to know something, it’s just the matter of posting their inquiry as a status update on their Facebook profile or tweet it out on Twitter; these days, thanks to instant gratification, it usually only takes a few moments to get a reply.
On the heels of that, there are also students who will text other students during an exam. It’s a lot easier than trying to look at someone’s paper and if you are observant enough, you can even delete the answers before your instructor catches on.
Still, another popular form of technological cheating is buying term papers online. If you are someone who is in your last semester of school with dozens of papers due or you are someone who is getting your master’s in nurse administration but you didn’t prepare for your term paper deadline, it really is just a matter of going on Google, putting “published term papers for sale” into the search engine, and taking advantage of one of those options.
And of course, if you’re willing to buy a term paper, then you probably don’t have a problem plagiarizing someone’s sentences, quotes or phrases, either. (Doing this is also only a search engine look away.)
After processing all of this, as a parent or teacher, you may feel a bit overwhelmed. If you want to make sure that your child isn’t cheating, there are preventative measures that you can take. If they are in elementary school, you may want to reconsider if having a cell phone is even needed. For the high school student, PlagTracker and Turnitin are two websites that can monitor plagiarism, and CopyScape can oftentimes “catch” a duplicated term paper.
There’s nothing new under the sun. Students have been trying to cheat in class for years. The main thing to keep in mind is that as technology changes, you have to prepare yourself to change along with it.
Be aware. Be alert. And encourage cell phones to be used for their initial purpose: communicating with family and friends. Not cheating in class.