If you are a teacher and have experienced some form of electronic cheating in your classroom or school, I'd appreciate it if you would e-mail me at lizditz [at] sbcglobal [dot] net. Thanks!
The cheat e-sheet (Contra Costa, the other coast, is a county on the east side of San Francisco Bay)
Cell phone cameras, text messaging are next in line of ways kids try to trick teachers
By Suzanne Pardington
CONTRA COSTA TIMES
Crib sheets tucked in sleeves. Math formulas programmed into calculators. Essays copied off the Internet. But a new technology now hitting classrooms is opening up new and easier ways to cheat.
Cell phones with built-in digital cameras and e-mail allow sneaky students to send silent questions and answers to one another right under teachers' noses.
Jan Burten, a math teacher at College Park High in Pleasant Hill, was shocked when a student showed her a cell-phone picture of a test question from another class last fall. The student who sent the picture was asking for the answer to be sent back in a picture. Since then, she's heard of other similar incidents.
"Catching kids cheating is just a nightmare," Burten said. "It's not nearly as easy as it used to be."
California lawmakers passed a law allowing students to carry cell phones on school campuses last year, and phones are pervasive at most middle and high schools.
One survey two years ago found that 55 percent of all 15- to 19-year-olds own a cell phone, and the numbers continue to grow as phones become cheaper and parents more anxious to keep in contact with their children.
Cameras and text messaging, increasingly common features, are raising new worries for teachers and administrators. In addition to cheating, some district officials are worried that students will take photos of other students undressed in locker rooms or in other inappropriate ways.
The five high schools in the Acalanes district in Walnut Creek, Moraga, Lafayette and Orinda are planning to post signs in locker rooms saying that cell phones are not permitted.
"The kids are much brighter than we are with computers and technology. There's no way we can keep up with them
However, the electronic age has brought about entirely new ways to cheat, including the selling of papers over the Internet, downloading databases on personal digital assistants (PDAs) and sending coded messages over pagers.
Students can send text messages up to 160 characters in length to each other’s two-way pagers and cellular phones by using a data transmission standard called short messaging service. In the case of PDAs, a database can be created using keywords or short notes.
An extreme case involved a law school admission test (LSAT) booklet stolen from the University of Southern California (USC) in Los Angeles and the transmission of data to pagers. Two students taking the LSAT in Honolulu placed identical alphanumeric pagers on their desks and scored in the 99th percentile. The same LSAT is given at USC and Hawaii. After being accused, they took the test again and scored in the 40th percentile. The man who stole the booklet pleaded guilty to robbery and was sentenced to a year in jail. The two students pleaded no contest to conspiracy to commit robbery, grand theft and receiving stolen property and were ordered to pay $96,000 in restitution.
Technology has provided students with ways of cheating that are more sophisticated that writing answers on the palms of their hands and using cheat sheets. Last summer, a member of our history faculty discovered two of his students using their cell phones to cheat on a test. The students were using text messaging to send test answers back and forth across the room. My advice is for instructors to direct their students to put everything under their desks and out of reach while taking an exam, including their cell phones.