Monday, September 29, 2008

Should cell phones be allowed during school exams?

Thanks to Lindseybp on Twitter, I learned about an interesting article from eSchoolnews, Digital debate: Prepare kids for exams or life? 'Open-Book Exam' 21st century-style: Educators begin to ponder if students should be allowed to use digital devices to take test. The article explores an Australian educator who allows her students to use cell phones and Internet during their exams. Here is a short excerpt from the article that I found interesting and worth discussion!

"But paper and pencil are technologies, just as computers and phones are. They are just a bit older," he said. "And just as paper allows us to offload some of the cognitive load involved in challenging problems onto a medium--[when was the last time you] tried to solve a calculus problem in your head alone?--so do computers and communication technologies; they allow us to offload even more cognitive tasks onto our physical and social environment. Arguably, that's the only way mankind is able to achieve the highly complex tasks we need to achieve today."

He added: "The fact is, we are increasingly making technology part of the teaching and learning situation--but we are not keeping up in aligning assessment sufficiently."

That results in two negative outcomes, Reimann said. First, students notice the discrepancy and don't see the point of the technology, the assessment, or both; and second, educators are underestimating what students know and can do, because students are being assessed in a manner that does not take into account the nature of 21st-century learning--they're being cut off from the resources and tools they are familiar with."

I think this is a fantastic idea! The 21st Century professional world does not ask workers to create, innovate, collaborate, or produce without the assistance of the Internet and mobile devices. So why can't we design assessment that can engage students in using these tools AND evaluate their content understanding??? Why must we say, "put everything away" when taking a test? Why can't we say, "take out all your tools"? Isn't that what we do in the real world? Provide the necessary technical tools to help develop the best outcome or solution?

Do you think cell phones should be allowed during school exams? Take the Poll!


rorowe said...

I only say "no" because of equality. Paper & pencil is easy enough to supply to every student, where a cellphone can vary so much between individuals as to make the assessment impossible to baseline. It's the same reason schools have spent money buying cases of calculators instead of requiring students to purchase their own.

Liz Kolb, Ph.D. said...

Good point about access, you definitely do not want to punish students who do not have "top of the line" cell phones.

Anonymous said...

the thing is at some high schools you are required to purchase your own calculator

Anonymous said...

I am writing an essay on this subject beacause cell phones are being banned in our town. But cell phones can be very usefull.If something like 9 11 happened again my parents would want to make sure I was safe.Or if my dad was in a car accident, i wouldnt want a note from the office, i would want to talk to them.Or even if my parents arent going to be home when i get off my bus, it would be nice to know.What if when i got off my bus someone grabed me and shoved me in their car? and i was trapped in their car? i could call 911 and not say anything, just let them listen, or text that i was in trouble. With out a phone i could be done for. Just something for the school boards of the world to think about.Peace out!!!!-Megan

btw im in middle school and in my 4th period class right now

Unknown said...

I think that cell phones should be allowed in school because if the class was reading and u didn't have a hard copy book then you could read on your phone on an app called wattpad

Anonymous said...

Well if cellphones are so bad yhen what about the student that was able to call 911 for help when a teacher was beating him up and as well as if cellphones should not be in school then why hate on the kids that get into trouble over them it will only make you look better

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