Focused on the wrong thing

Today I was told how happy a teacher was that MicroSoft Word was installed in the Lab that he is teaching out of. Hm. I wondered why. The teacher went on to state that “the kids can cheat with Google Docs”. See they just share a document and turn it in.

Oh, my.

Were to start with this? How about this. Kids have email. They can easily share a MicroSoft Word document and “turn it in”. If the teacher thinks that using MicroSoft Word is going to prevent students from cheating, well, he’s going to be missing quite a bit.

But, let’s look just a bit deeper. If your assignment is such that students can simply copy and paste the work and successfully complete the assignment, it’s time to look at your assignment. How much is the student really learning? This sounds like an assignment that is fully rooted in compliance. The students are necessarily learning anything, they are probably mindlessly completing an assignment. This will tell us something about how compliant a student is, but we probably already have a lot of information about how compliant students are.

It’s time that we focus on what students’ truly need to know. It’s time to use technology to advance how we learn, you student’s learn and how we demonstrate what we have learned. Let’s stop thinking that we’ve “outsmarted” students from cheating because they can use Word instead of Google Docs.

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