Friday, June 19, 2009

Anti-social smartphones

Not only are students cheating more, but they are using the Internet and smartphones to do it. According to a survey of American teens by Common Sense media (reported by CNET and the LA Times, among others).

For example, one third of the students surf the web looking for an answer key, while 20% use the Internet to find answers while taking an exam. However, dishonesty is manifest both in behaviors and attitudes.

It appears that the amoral core of this lost generation is roughly 20-25%. That’s how many find it OK to share test answers with other students, such as by taking a picture of the exam or sending the answers via text message.

Alas, this is only the latest data point showing dishonesty is common among American teenagers, as with last year’s survey by the Josephson Institute.

While college instructors are not blameless, IMHO we are mostly at the receiving end of a 18-year period of shaping young adults: by the time they get to us, it’s too late. Somewhere along the way, parents and teachers have done a worse job than previous generation of imparting right and wrong, whether due to their declining morals, indifference, lack of time, or lack of support from other institutions.

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