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Is technology making students lazier? 0

Dahlia Kurtz, QMI Agency
According to Online Education, 35% of teens admit to using a cell phone to cheat at school, while 65% say other students do it. (Fotolia)

According to Online Education, 35% of teens admit to using a cell phone to cheat at school, while 65% say other students do it. (Fotolia)

Back to school has become back to the future.

While there are positives to the proliferation of technology in education, there is also a proliferation of laziness among young people because of it.

Today kids often push their limits by pushing buttons.

To 13-year-old Emily, texts are typed messages, not the type of books we used to carry to school, while walking up a hill … in the snow … without smartphones.

The Grade 8 student admits she and her friends have plagiarized off the Web, “but not on important things.”

According to the Canadian Council of Learning, academic dishonesty has always been an issue, but with the rise of the Internet has come a “dramatic” rise in its prevalence. The Council reports it’s not just the pursuit for better grades, it’s the different perception to teens about what qualifies as cheating.

With everything right at their fingerclicks, how could it be so wrong?

“Of course (the Web) helps with cheating, because you can find almost anything on Google,” says Emily.

According to Online Education, 35% of teens admit to using a cell phone to cheat at school, while 65% say other students do it.

Simone Jenner is a middle school teacher. She says cheating has gone viral, with students taking pictures of quizzes and tests and sending them to their peers.

It’s as if grades have become a reflection of the strength of a teen’s social network – or a reflection of their favourite search engine.

Kat Cali, a Grade 7 and 8 teacher, explains that students like to turn on gadgets for instant gratification and answers, while problem solving and “real work” are instant turn-offs.

“Researching in books, going to libraries, using encyclopedias and reading articles or journals have become a foreign concept,” says Cali, who notes that she still has to walk kids through the steps of using a highlighter for studying.

“Students today need to only ‘copy and paste’ their answers to complete a task.”

But “copy and paste” doesn’t necessarily involve reading.

Cali recounts a French essay assignment where it was clear that a pupil used an Internet translation application when he handed in the French paper, because it was in Spanish.

Habla what?

Even copying and pasting is too much work for some of Jenner’s students. Rather than transferring the information to a Word document, some will print the page directly off the Web. It’s not just the Wikipedia style that gives it away; it’s the URL at the bottom of the page handed in.

And remember the tedious task of writing a bibliography? Well today kids have virtually no bibliographies to do, because they’re all done virtually with EasyBib.com.

Yes, scratch-made bibliographies (or what we knew as “bibliographies”) now find themselves in the academic graveyard alongside books, highlighters, encyclopedias, research skills and handwriting.

Think back to how you used to explore self-expression with your different handwriting styles: Bubblier, smaller, more angular, pressing harder, different types of capital Fs ...

But this new generation learns to type before they run or write. Now that cursive is out of the curriculum, most kids print their answers. And what they print "would of given u a fail back in skull."

Though it comes at no surprise to them, Cali and Jenner are still shocked that students hand in work with text language – and both agree the spelling is atrocious.

Despite all the advancements, some things never change. School is still boring to Emily and her peers. Except now they don’t just roll their eyes at teachers, they LOL their eyes too.

Just remember, until man can hop in a time-travelling DeLorean, expect to find kids who will always be better than we are, and not good enough to compare to what we once were.

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