Ever wondered just how much cheating goes on in classrooms using cell phones ?  LoL, and to think I didn’t think it was much of a problem.
According to a poll of students in  grades 7-12  conducted by Common Sense Media (great name by the way)

  • 35 percent of teens with cell phones admit to cheating at least once with them
  • 26 percent said they store information on their phone to look at during a test
  • 25 percent text friends about answers during a test
  • 17 percent took pictures of the test to send to friends
  • 20 percent search the internet for answers during tests using their phones
  • 65 percent said others in their school cheated with them
  • 48 percent of teens with cell phones call or text their friends to warn them about pop quizzes
  • 52 percent admit to some form of cheating involving the internet
  • 21 percent of students say they’ve downloaded a paper or report from the internet to turn in
  • 38 percent have copied text from web sites and turned it in as their own work
  • 32 percent have searched for teachers’ manuals or publishers’ solutions to problems in textbooks they are currently using

The joke is really on me because I’ve been saying that I think cell phones could be very useful tools in the classroom. Obviously they are- in ways different than I ever imagined.  What’s even more shocking  is that many students  said that they didn’t see a problem with these types of behaviours.

Cheating not a problem?  The Common Sense Media suggests that there is a

huge need for a national discussion on the concept of digital ethics. Kids have always found ways to cheat in school, but the tools they now have at their disposal are more powerful than ever. Just as they need to be taught the rules of right and wrong in the offline world, kids should have a similar set of guidelines for good online behavior, and it’s our responsibility as parents and leaders to start talking about them.

There’s nothing more common sense than that!

picture by Mike “Dakinewavamon” Kline

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8 Responses to “Many students admit to using cell phones in class to cheat.”

  1. Anthony D on June 19th, 2009 8:40 pm

    I say if we change the way we test them on materials they will be less likely to cheat. Ever notice an open notebook test can be harder?

  2. Elona Hartjes on June 20th, 2009 6:15 am

    Good point. I give open book tests all the time and some kids still do poorly.

    What would those questions look like?

  3. Dan on July 16th, 2009 12:10 pm

    I found this article on StumbleUpon, and it’s interesting. I have two thoughts; I’m not convinced they’re correct, but it’s interesting to think about:
    1. Kids that use their cellphones to cheat would cheat just as readily using more old-fashioned methods. The underlying issue isn’t that cell phones make kids cheat; it’s that these kids think it’s alright in the first place.
    2. A large majority of kids don’t see a problem with looking up information during a test because they recognize an irony that the old-fashioned education system doesn’t: it’s ridiculous to artificially limit what resources kids have available to them by mandating that internet-able cellphones are unusable during tests. For the rest of these students’ lives they will have mobile devices that can retrieve huge amounts of information with speed and efficiency that would’ve been unobtainable in the past. Doesn’t this indicate we should update our education system to take advantage of this near-ubiquitous access of information? Would a student not display a greater intelligence if he or she was able to use the resources available to construct a more complete and accurate argument than he could create while under unrealistic conditions? (I’m not arguing that students should be allowed to look up lists of answers.)

  4. Elona Hartjes on July 16th, 2009 1:37 pm

    You make some great points here. I’m always puzzled by the fact that some kids think it’s OK to cheat. I’ve called home to parents to tell them about the cheating, and it seemed to me after talking to them that some parents think it’s Ok to cheat but not Ok to get caught. I find that amazing. As for the education system -it’s the tail leading the donkey.

  5. Dan on July 16th, 2009 2:09 pm

    I don’t think I ever knew students who thought it was OK to cheat, but I knew some in high school that only worried about being caught.

    It’s slightly off-topic, but it might be worth noting that even Sonia Sotomayor seems to think it’s not a big deal: “‘My brother and I plagiarized many a school report from [The Encyclopedia Britannica], but I can remember the enormous financial burden that purchase placed on my mother,’ Judge Sotomayor recalled in 1998.” A Judge’s Own Story Highlights Her Mother’s, Scott Shane; NYTimes May 27th, 2009. http://www.nytimes.com/2009/05/28/us/politics/28mother.html

    Perhaps it’s quite common these days? I imagine it’s heavily influenced by the quality of the school district.

  6. John on July 17th, 2009 3:47 pm

    Maybe its time we change our educational system from a teach and test philosophy to a finding the answers philosophy. Then we don’t worry about cheating but incorporate all this great technology to help kids find answers to solve problems. Wouldn’t that better prepare them for the world of the 21st century?

  7. Elona Hartjes on July 17th, 2009 9:08 pm

    We definitely need to change the education sytem. Everyone seems to agree. Why are we not doing this?

  8. chico suave on January 17th, 2011 7:39 pm

    The simple fact is that school and the education system are designed to incourage students to ACTUALLY KNOW information. If we take that away and let children believe that its ok to not retain information thenwe will not only be doing them a dis-service, we will be sabotaging thier futures.Yes it is true that everyone outside the classroom has the ability to look up virtually anything on the internet, but we are talking about the precious years when a persons develpoment depends on KNOWING information not just being able to look it up. i mean just look at the negative impact the calculator has had on our society. there are kids that can not even perform simple math without one. Yes use technology as a teaching aid,inform students about the technology but DO NOT USE IT AS A COP OUT. thank you for your time.

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