Cell phones and internet can be used to cheat.

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Anybody shocked? In a report from Common Sense Media, 35% of students admitted to cheating via cell phone, and over half the students surveyed admitted to using the internet to cheat in some way. There are plenty of people who would say that this is a fantastic reason to ban cell phones in schools. I only hope that those same people ban the internet too.

Seriously though, I’m not sure anybody is all that surprised. And before any suggests we start banning technology because it can be used to cheat, I suggest they do a few Google searches. Cheating has evolved into quite the art form. Taking away their phones won’t stop anyone, any more than taking away the graphic calculators would. If someone wants to cheat, they will.

A few other key findings from the study:

* 41% of teens say that storing notes on a cell phone to access during a test is a serious cheating offense, while 23% don’t think it’s cheating at all.
* 45% of teens say that texting friends about answers during tests is a serious cheating offense, while 20% say it’s not cheating at all.
* 76% of parents say that cell phone cheating happens at their teens’ schools, but only 3% believe their own teen has ever used a cell phone to cheat.
* Nearly two-thirds of students with cell phones use them during school, regardless of school policies against it.
* Teens with cell phones send 440 text messages a week and 110 a week while in the classroom.

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By | 2009-06-22T14:46:10+00:00 June 22nd, 2009|Musings|23 Comments

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  1. Mike Maddaloni - The Hot Iron 6/22/2009 at Jun 22, 09 | 4:15 pm

    I am surely not surprised… especially when I learned how small I could get my TRS-80 Model 4 to print on my Smith-Corona dot-matrix printer back in the early 80’s. Not that I actually used anything that small, of course. 🙂


  2. Dave LaMorte 6/22/2009 at Jun 22, 09 | 4:21 pm

    It’s sad that we are training kids to memorize data instead of examining how they interpret it or what they can do with these ideas. In real life you would be laughed at for wasting your time memorizing info that you could easily look up in your notes, a book, or online.

  3. […] Anybody shocked? In a report from Common Sense Media, 35% of students admitted to cheating via cell phone, and over half the students surveyed admitted to using the internet to cheat in some wayRead more at http://www.teach42.com/2009/06/22/cell-phones-and-internet-can-be-used-to-cheat/ […]

  4. Elizabeth Hubbell 6/22/2009 at Jun 22, 09 | 9:14 pm

    I wish there was some way we could get data on how often paper & pen have been used to cheat…starting with papyrus.

  5. Lynne Whitley 6/23/2009 at Jun 23, 09 | 7:07 am

    Online cheating with cell phones. What do you think? http://tinyurl.com/nx2a5z

  6. Frank LaBanca 6/23/2009 at Jun 23, 09 | 10:58 am

    I think this post really reflects the lack of training teachers have with assessment. Teacher training focuses on instruction and rarely focuses on assessment. Then, teachers in the classroom do the same: they (hopefully) focus on high-quality instruction and (often, unfortunately) neglect high-quality assessment. As a department chair, I had the opportunity to examine my teachers’ final exams. What did I find? Assessments that were focused on isolated (often irrelevant) facts instead of connected meaningful, higher-order thinking concepts. We need to continue to strive to find purposeful ways to assess students understanding of concepts in conjunction with the access to the information and tools that students deem necessary, while evaluating their THINKING, not their recall of minutia.

  7. Kelly Walsh 6/24/2009 at Jun 24, 09 | 5:13 am

    Seen a few articles about this recently, "Internet can be used to cheat": http://tinyurl.com/nx2a5z

  8. Anna 6/24/2009 at Jun 24, 09 | 7:45 am

    This is a huge question right now regarding technology and its use in our high schools. I’m entering my 6th year of teaching, 5th year at the high school level and each year my school has adopted a new “personal technology” policy simply because there is no good way around it! “Technology is the wave of the future.” Where are these folks? Technology is now. Kids know technology and learn new technologies everyday. Kids have figured out many ways to cheat and use technology to their benefit because we say no to the use of technology in the classroom (to some extent). I do think there are times when memorizing information is imperative but I tend to agree with Dave in that we have so many incredible resources at our fingertips. Why not teach kids the correct ways to use these technologies and then allow the use of these resources in school? How often am I “quizzed” on information that I know on a daily basis? The information that I have to know in order to be successful at work and in life, I retain. I can find any other information in a matter of minutes using these resources that are often banned in schools.

  9. educ@conTIC 6/29/2009 at Jun 29, 09 | 9:16 am

    Chuletas con móviles e Internet, 🙂 http://bit.ly/cz4uL

  10. Herman Wood 6/30/2009 at Jun 30, 09 | 6:24 am

    It’s the questions we ask! If we ask for trivial facts, it’s easy to cheat! Dave is absolutely spot on. Our assessments are focused on memorizing trivia. Sure, there are certain facts we all need & there are other facts some of us need in order to be productive members of society or productive at our work. Why do we ask students to go beyond what’s needed and memorize minutiae? Look at our standardized testing- does it require thought? Where are the questions on Bloom’s? As a society, we’ll have to change what we value in order to change what we test. Changing the test will require training and time. Once we change the test, we will only be challenged to see that it’s fair, that the tools each student has at their disposal are equivalent.

  11. Amanda Bryant 7/1/2009 at Jul 01, 09 | 8:08 pm

    As both Dave and Anna noted, this post truly demonstrates the fact that there is quite a difference between the pace of technology and the education world’s ability to keep up with it. Rather than embracing the possibilities that lie within various technology resources such as cell phones, many teachers and schools shy away from them, choosing to cite the cons that are likely far outweighed by the positives. As previously articulated here, as 21st century learners our students no longer have to memorize endless lists of facts and details. It is just as important that we teach our students HOW to use the resources at their disposal to find information that they need to know. If our students know and understand where they can conduct research and discover answers to the questions they are posed, they will be prepared to be successful in the real-world once they leave our classrooms. Shouldn’t that be one of our goals as educators? Sure, it is quite possible and even likely that some students are going to use technology such as cell phones to cheat. However, cheating can and will occur with or without technology. Instead of being scared of the negatives, why don’t we appreciate technology for its potential? For example, I allow my students to use their cell phones in my classroom when I am trying to teach them to become more descriptive writers. We take a field trip around the school, and I allow my students to use their cell phone cameras to take pictures of objects they find interesting. When we come back to class, they take out their cell phones and study the pictures and then write descriptive paragraphs about they objects they photographed. When we do this, my students are engaged and begin to truly understand what it means to incorporate imagery into their writing. Could my students possibly use their cell phones in ways I don’t intend them to during this activity? Sure. However, the pros far outweigh the cons; therefore, I will continue to implement technologies such as cell phones in my classroom because of the potential learning experiences they can provide for my students.

  12. Amanda Bryant 7/5/2009 at Jul 05, 09 | 6:44 pm

    I do agree with you in the sense that part of our job as teachers must be to not only teach our students to make the most of technology as an asset to their learning, but we must also teach them to use it responsibly. Regarding instructional technology, Richardson noted, “…the learning opportunities that these tools offer makes it worth all of our whiles to create best practices in our own right” (2009, p. 13). You are on point when you stated we have to prevent our students from crossing the line in their use of technology; of course we never want our students to cheat. However, I believe that if we open up lines of communication in our classrooms about using technology wisely and appropriately, we can strike that delicate balance that allows us to make the most of instructional technology as a learning tool.


    Richardson, W. (2006). Blogs, wikis, podcasts, and other powerful web tools for classrooms (2nd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press.

  13. Amanda Bryant 7/5/2009 at Jul 05, 09 | 6:52 pm

    I am interested to get more feedback about the use of cell phones as an instructional tool. What thoughts do you all have? One of the statistics above states that nearly 2/3 of our students are using their cell phones during the school day, even though they are told they should not. Rather than fighting against them, is it possible to embrace cell phones as an instructional technology that we as educators can use in our favor? I am very open to this idea; therefore, I am wondering if any of the rest of you have incorporated cell phones as part of lesson plans. Again, I do recognize that cheating is a problem that we open ourselves up to by utilizing cell phones as part of our instructional methodology; however, I would appreciate some feedback about positive ways that other educators have embraced our students’ obsession with cell phones in the learning process. Thanks!

  14. […] Originalbeitrag: Cell phones and internet can be used to cheat 16. Juli 2009 | Thema: Schule | […]

  15. Brendan 7/17/2009 at Jul 17, 09 | 1:14 pm

    I once had a student who sent 90 text messages in 90 minutes of silent reading.
    The principal didn’t agree that it constituted actual silent reading.
    .-= Brendan´s last blog ..Teacher Skills =-.

  16. Allison Fitzpatrick 9/11/2009 at Sep 11, 09 | 6:38 am

    I have a big problem with students having cell phones in schools. I teach in a Middle school and they create a lot of drama. I know that I will mostlikly never win the battle of students not brining them to school so now I have statred to think if there is any way that I can integrate them into my classroom. So far the only way that I have is by texting students their homework assingments if the parent signs the paper I send home. As an educator it is important that we try to imnbace the changes that are taking place with technology and our students.

  17. Montana 2/20/2010 at Feb 20, 10 | 3:24 pm

    Wow. Instead of banning cell phones altogether, I think schools could just: implement something that blocks the receiving/sending part, which will in turn make the cellphone think there’s no signal.

    As for the texting, they could simply listen in on conversations (isn’t too hard to do)

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  21. Chuck 12/20/2010 at Dec 20, 10 | 11:20 am

    Top 3 most obvious statements:

    1) The universe is big.

    2) Cell phones should not be allowed in the classroom because they are a distraction.

    3) The United States has a large national debt.

    I don’t understand why there is even another side to this debate. Whatever those of you on the other side are saying, I’m ignoring you because you are completely missing the big picture.

  22. OccantyBlenty 2/14/2011 at Feb 14, 11 | 12:49 am


  23. Ollimpiiuss 2/20/2011 at Feb 20, 11 | 7:00 pm

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