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