By Susan Forrest
Is this what test taking is going to come to? Students are going to have to come in completely naked.The number of technology tools that students can use to cheat is getting so bad that we can’t keep up with the new technology. Did you know there are watches that appear to be a blank screen, but if you are wearing special glasses, you can see the print on them?
I knew that students should not have their phones and have taken measures to make sure that the phones are on the desk, turned off and turned over – so as not to distract other students and to be sure that they are not under the desk searching the web for answers. However, I had no idea that students could see a photo of their notes and actually read that photo on their smart watches! This happened, apparently, right in front of me, during the last test in my microbiology class. A student had pulled up a picture of a chart that they were to fill out (from memory) and was swiping through their photos and looking at other notes as well. I was shocked. I knew they could see pictures, but their pictures are itty bitty. My old eyes would not have been able to see – let alone read a chart from a photo. So now, I guess we need to take their phones away and watches. So I went online to see exactly what the smart watches would allow.
In looking up “smart watches and cheating” on Youtube. I found a lot of “instructional videos” on how to cheat with technology. Interestingly, I noticed that every video had some sort of “disclaimer” – “Not that you should cheat, because cheating is wrong.” “What you do with this information is on you, once you finish watching the video. But, here’s how it is done”. One video even showed a student who put the arm of their sweatshirt on the desktop while pulling out a “spare” phone and searching with the actual hand on a second phone underneath the desk.
Most fitbits can’t really be used for cheating – but some fitbits (newer ones) can get text notifications. If their phone is on and nearby, they can get text messages. However, the apple watches and Samsung watches could be used for cheating. If students have these type of watches, they can put it in a “notes” app or other word processing app as long as they write it on their phone or ipad (or tablet) and then it is synced to their watch. They can access photos of notes. They can access messaging so any notifications would just look like a text message, but it can pop up on their watch. If they are really crafty they can use special pens (Livescribe pens) that write out questions on special paper which goes right to the cloud. Someone on the other end can read what they wrote and text them with the right answer (or tell them through an ear bud.) For this reason, I would not let students have scratch paper – or at least not their own paper.
Related videos showed all the places that students will write their “crib” notes. Although this is not having to do with technology, after seeing these videos, I feel that I need to see arms and hands spread out (to see if they wrote between their fingers), no caps (to make sure they did not write it on their hat in the brim), sweatshirts (so they can’t write it on their arms), etc…. One even showed how girls would put their notes just under their skirts in their hose and they would just pull up their skirts to see their notes.
So my conclusion in all this is that the students need to come to the test “Naked and Afraid.” They get one “survival” tool (like in the show).