First, some context for the 19th episode of the Modern Learners Podcast: Kids cheat in school. In high school. In college. Do a quick Google search and you’ll find all sorts of research that bears this out. Ask a kid, and even if he doesn’t admit to it himself, he’ll most likely roll his eyes at the suggestion that it doesn’t happen in almost every class at some point. Cheating, writ large, is a “problem,” no doubt, though the problem takes on different guises depending on who you talk to. There is the ethical problem, which says, rightly, that we shouldn’t cheat out of respect to our teachers or fellow students. But there’s also the dis-engagement problem, which argues, rightly, that many students don’t see the relevance or importance in “learning” much of what they are delivered in school which leads them not to take the work or the assessments very seriously at all.
But the third problem is the “real life” problem, as in why shouldn’t students be able answer questions on tests in school the same way they would answer them out of school? And that’s where things get really sticky, especially with the advent of the Web and smart devices and apps and…well, you get the idea. This was raised again this week in an interesting Wired article on the topic of whether or not using Wolfram Alpha to do homework or take tests in math class (and, increasingly, other classes) is cheating or not. And that’s the discussion that Will and Bruce raise in this podcast.
Want to guess as to the gist of the conversation?
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