Monday, July 19, 2010

In the classrooms of the future, will technology aid cheaters or stop them?

Some argue that the advancement of technology, like cell phones with Internet technology, have made it easier for students to cheat in the classroom.

But it may also be the answer to stopping it. The University of Central Florida has developed a testing center that New York Times reporter Trip Gabriel said may be "the frontier in the battle to stop student cheating."

Students taking tests there must adhere to strict rules; tests are taken on computers hidden in recessed desk tops; and proctors can use cameras to zoom in on and record the actions of students who are potentially cheating.

Part of the problem, according to some educators, is not always blatant cheating but rather that some students no longer regard practices like copying and pasting material from the Internet as cheating. Technology is helping to curb such misconceptions about academic integrity, too. At universities across the country, students are increasingly required to complete online courses about plagiarism and to use websites like to check schoolwork for unoriginal material.

I think it is unfortunate that some of today's students have stooped so low to rip off other people's work that universities have been forced to take these measures. However, I think these new technologies are interesting. Critics say that such technologies operate under the presumption of guilt. How do you feel about the use of technology to crack down on cheating in the classroom? Do you think it violates students' privacy and undermines a positive and optimistic classroom environment? Or do you see it as the answer?

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