Archive for Monday, December 1, 2008


Innovative ideas: Students put teachers to test with high-tech methods of cheating

December 1, 2008


On the street

Did you cheat in school?

Yes…in P.E. I cheated on laps. I didn’t run as far as I was supposed to run.

More responses

Never underestimate the creative genius of the desperate student.

That iPod and Blackberry are being used for more than listening to tunes or texting with friends. Want to know how? Just check out the 2,150 video tutorials about cheating on YouTube.

And be sure to take a close look at the nutrition facts on that bottle of Coke; you might just find that it provides an adequate daily dose of a-squared plus b-squared equals c-squared. And the rubber band that student keeps fiddling with? If you look carefully, it might not be a lucky charm.

From tried-and-true methods like writing answers on your hand or finding the answer key, ala “Animal House,” to uploading content to an iPod or using earpieces to get answers, as in “Old School,” cheating is weaving traditional methods with new-fangled ingenuity.

“I’ve only heard about it kind of peripherally,” says Randy Weseman, superintendent of Lawrence Public Schools. “They can do so much with just a thumb on a little device.”

Yes, they can. Some of the innovative tactics shown on YouTube include uploading notes to an iPod; using Photoshop to change the text on a soda label and even sticking notes in the pleats of a skirt. Students across the country are finding new ways to literally skirt the system.

And chances are administrators in Lawrence schools don’t even know about it.

“It hasn’t been a big topic, at least not in the conversations I have had,” says Lawrence High School principal Steve Nilhas.

Nilhas says that school policy prohibits students from using cell phones in classrooms and in hallways. LHS educators deal mostly with plagiarism, Nilhas says. The high-tech revolution that uses handheld devices as cheating facilitators is, perhaps, under the radar.

Take texting, for example.

Lawrence schools have a policy prohibiting cell phones in class. But that doesn’t mean students don’t try to use them, says Free State High School senior Kenny Myers.

“During tests, I’ve seen people texting each other,” he says. “Everyone has their phone on anyway. Everyone texts during high school, so there’s not really a way to limit it. You can be pretty sneaky about it.”

And with new Internet-capable cell phones, the world is at their fingertips.

“I’m sure kids with iPhones could possibly use that as well,” Myers says. “There’s a whole bunch of possibilities, now that I think about it.”

But students might have trouble getting away with cheating under the watchful eyes of teachers like Kim Grinnell, a history teacher at Free State High.

“Students think that what they’re doing isn’t obvious, and when you’ve taught for any length of time, it’s pretty apparent that it’s happening,” she says. That means teachers can swoop in when necessary.

Plus, when students are looking at their laps or rewinding iPods, they give themselves away, she says.

Free State principal Ed West gives kids credit, though.

“They’re multitaskers ... the kids are a step ahead of us,” he says.

The biggest challenge for teachers and administrators, he says, is good old plagiarism.

“Sometimes you get whole papers” that are plagiarized, he lamented.

Still, West and Nilhas haven’t seen YouTube-caliber cheating methods taking over their schools.

“I think the approach that we’ve taken, and appropriately so for some time, our approach has been a no-use-period policy,” West says.


Confrontation 9 years, 5 months ago

If students are caught using cell phones, Ipods, etc., in the classroom, then suspend the student. Make the punishment harsh. You'll never stop kids from cheating, because, unfortunately, there are many kids who just aren't smart enough to cut it.

WHY 9 years, 5 months ago

Cheating is a big problem at KU. In a lecture hall of 700 people it is not to hard to pass info.

Hawk6643 9 years, 5 months ago

I seriously doubt that students are going to take the time to photoshop their answers to look like a Coke bottle. Yea right.

Connacht 9 years, 5 months ago

What Confrontation said is basically true. There are quite a few kids who are either unable to unwilling to take the time to learn the material, and who aren't smart enough to express themselves professionally in writing, so they cheat to get ahead. This makes it increasingly difficult to tell the difference between the hard workers and gifted students from the cheaters. The people who cheat aren't even being clever. Any moron with a computer can use photoshop or an ipod to send information. Maybe we need some public humiliation? Drag the cheating high school students in front of their peers. Publish pictures in the local paper and what they did to cheat. I can't help but think like so many other issues, this sort of problem can be traced right back to the parents. What happened to instilling a sense of honor and duty into children as something to always strive to attain?

nut_case 9 years, 5 months ago

Surprised no one has addressed the issue of why it is so critical to memorize these intricate minutiae in the first place? Is remembering the formula for the volume of a truncated icosahedron, but having no idea where to find formulae for other shapes you haven't memorized - somehow superior to typing "volume of truncated icosahedron" in google and knowing you can find not only that information but almost anything else your mind can dream up?Even Einstein is quoted as saying, ""Never memorize what you can look up in books."

EchoOfReason83 9 years, 5 months ago

Most of the people in America who are at the top of their game have used means or some kind of cheating especially in sports. It's obvious that many of the most notable figures in sports from Olympic athletes to football players take some kind of substance to enhance their abilities. Tiger Woods got eye surgery to improve his skills and eyesight. Kids take Aderall all the time to improve the ability of studying. Basically what I'm saying is cheating is everywhere in the world, it's human nature. You do what you have to do to get ahead. As long as you don't get caught it's all good. I don't think there is a person out there who hasn't made a moral judgment that benefit them, but is at the very least morally questionable.If college kids cheat and can get away with it who cares? They are just more resourceful and smarter than the teachers when it comes to getting the answers. If the material is something that they truly need to know for future reference then they will either learn it eventually or they will fail in life. I'm willing to let them take that chance.

Thinking_Out_Loud 9 years, 5 months ago

Connacht wrote "This makes it increasingly difficult to tell the difference between the hard workers and gifted students...."Why would you want to? Why would it make a difference--if they are achieving the goals set for them, seems to me we wouldn't care if it's because they're "gifted" or just work hard like the rest of us.

findaway 9 years, 5 months ago

...people wont be able to stop it. Its a dumb thing, yeah, and its insulting to those of us who do work hard for our grades...but more people get away with it than you realize. thats the truth.

Jason Bailey 9 years, 5 months ago

The source of this problem, like almost 100% of problems with kids, starts at home. Who in their right mind buys their kid an iPhone? Those things are about $100/mo (3G) and that's with just 450 mins/mo! A teenager will suck that dry in a couple of days.I've told my daughter that I'll buy her a cell phone if it's a Jitterbug -- you know, one of those "old people" phones they advertise on the TV. No internet, not texting, just a phone.Any parent who gives their kid such a power device is asking for trouble.

storm 9 years, 5 months ago

They're allowed to bring drinks? Good lord, are they gonna die of thirst in 45 minutes? Just put a camera in the room like everything else. And don't tell the parents of Piper School, they might go whining to the school board.

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