Technology – r u up 2 spd?

Adults often don’t understand that today’s mobile phone technology allows students to do much more than just study in class.

Imagine for a second that you are back in the 11th grade and you’re in a classroom, the likes of which you have never seen before. There are computers all over; a teacher sits at a desk in the front of the room, also behind a computer. She is teaching, droning on about something, and clearly all of the other kids in the class want nothing to do with it.

As you scan the room, you notice several boys and girls nodding their heads as if they are paying attention and understanding the material the teacher is going over. But as you look closer, you notice that some aren’t even looking at the teacher. Some are even sleeping!

Wondering how they are able to understand the teacher, you suddenly notice a white wire running from both ears down into sleeves, shirts and pockets. One of them pauses, pulls out an iPod, presses a few buttons in quick succession, swiftly slides the device back into his pocket, and resumes rocking out.

After a few minutes, you have seen nearly every student in class typing on a handheld cell phone with a mini keyboard, picking a new song on their iPod, or even turning the side of their head to take a call on their cell – right in the middle of class!

You might think this is taking place in the future, perhaps 2050 or so, but you are dead wrong. This is happening right now. This kind of thing has been going on from the time I entered middle school. As a current student in high school, I have only seen it become easier to do. In most of my peers’ minds, it’s almost the only way to get through a school day without dying of boredom.

Today, some students can even look as if they are listening to an iPod (which is acceptable to most teachers) while actually carrying on a conversation on their iPhone. Students can look as if they are either muttering to themselves or talking quietly with a neighbor, when in reality they might be talking to someone who has the answers for a test in another part of the school.

Another device that is easy to use for cheating is a camera phone – any kind will do. What can happen is this: another student sees or writes down the answers, takes a pic with their cell phone and sends it to the student taking the test. To go a step further, cheating is as simple as texting, which might look something like: “u gt ans for pyscs tst?” – “ya ABCBDACABDABDBBDABDABDBDCCBDABDADBDC.”

It’s probably hard to believe, but that doesn’t change the reality, especially for those of us who have grown up using this technology. In fact, typing an article like this is a drag for me. I usually type like this: b/c its mch esyr 2 do n it sves tme n tkes almost no ef at all.

All in all, today’s schools are filled with things that 20 years ago weren’t even being considered as a possibility. Now they are part of our everyday lives. Administrators need to find a way to limit or set rules around technology so it no longer aides dishonest students, but serves to help honest ones.

The high rate of illiteracy among my generation may be alarming but should not be surprising. With all the technology that enables today’s student to cheat, there is little doubt that it has become easier to get through high school without learning.

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