Thursday, February 21, 2008

Cell Phones Under Another Attack

Concerns about students cheating by using cell phones during exams has prompted Florida state to ban cell phones on test days. Check out this story, and post your comments.


Melissa Jordan said...

This is something that I have dealt with directly in my teachings. As I new teacher I am still learning the ropes to students and how they operate. I never cheated so I don't know how creative some students can be, but I do now as a teacher. A fellow teacher did have a few students use their cell phones on an exam. The first inputed all the different formulas and used them to complete the exam. The other example was two students decided to text eachother back and forth the answers to the questions. As a result, it is now built into my syallbi as well as many fellow teachers that you cannot use cell phones on exams for any reasons, even if they require a calculator. This has eliminated this avenue of cheating possibilities from our classrooms and so far has been quite successful!

Tony Ruiz said...

Hi guys,

Great story. I believe this has to do more with class management during exams and sme common sense. I agree Melissa that as new teachers we are a bit naive with some students when they take tests. But it is better to side with caution.

I think since the CMTs are coming up that I will request students prior to the beginning of class to turn off or place their phones in a bag at the front of the room. That way, there should not be any questions about cheating on the exams.

This reminds me about teaching in Japan. My school did not allow students to carry cell phones. Teachers conducted random checks and confiscated them. Parents were called to retrieve the phones after discussing the matter with the teacher. Hard to believe that in a country that has major earthquakes every year.

I also liked you idea about placing the no cell phone policy into the syllabus. I will renew mine for next year.


Aaron said...

I agree with Melissa. I guess I probably passed a note or two in class when I was in high school. So that part I understand. I think they need to be banned fromt eh classroom to really be successful. I have seen kids text without even looking at the phone at all. I can work the universal remote for the dvd, projector, stereo, satellite, and vcr, all in hte dark half asleep on the couch. Is it a stretch to think kids can do this in class without us catching them. No way. So I say ban them. They feel like they can't live without their cell phone. You should see their faces when I tell them I don't even have one (I can imagine your faces might look like theirs right now). They ask me what I would do I my car broke down. I tell them I would walk to the nearest gas station. They don't get it. Of course, we can't ban them, because I frequently have parents texting or calling kids during class. There is a bigger issue here. But the cheating is a huge issue. This has turned into a bit of a ramble. Sorry


Aaron said...

Sorry, I forgot to proofread my last comment before I posted. I really can spell, I swear.


gayle said...

I am torn on the issue of whether or not cell phones have a place in school. Students should be permitted to carry phones in school as long as they remain off throughout the day. Cell phones are a distraction to learning. However, in todays times, I think cell phones are a necessity. We need to be prepared in case of an emergency. Educators should enforce a strict rule of turning phones off while in class. Any student in violation will not be permitted to bring a phone to school.

Alicia H said...

Hi All,
I believe FLA is on the right track with this ruling, and I agree 100% with Melissa that a cell phone/small electronics rules need to be written into a syllabus. Melissa, that is the first time I have heard of that and I think that is a GREAT idea! Can I borrow that when I begin teaching?!!
I have observed in classrooms where the students hide their cells and whip them out when the teacher is occupied to text and call people. I think that is extremely annoying, and I like the rule of collecting all the cells and other devices into a bag at the beginning of an exam, and then returning them after class. This way all students need to give up their devices and no one is singled out. High school students need to be treated as adults (to a certain degree) but also need to have the responsibility of adults, but with cell phones I do not feel they would act adult if given the chance to use it to cheat. I have seen cell phone rules abused in a classroom during a regular lecture lesson, and I know students would go ahead and use them to cheat.
I also think about the parental aspect; many parents would 'freak-out' if they were unable to contact their child, but unless it's an emergency, wait until later to communicate! But then they may have a variety of definitions of 'emergancy'.
I like the cell phone collection rule and will write a classroom rule regarding this into my future syllabi.

Margaret H. said...

Cell phones cause the biggest fight with many of my students. At my school students are allowed to have cell phones on them as long as they are not on and we don’t see them. Everyone knows that almost everyone has them turned on all day. As long as I don’t seem the phone, students aren’t using them, and they don’t ring in my class I don’t care. Once they come out of their pocket or they go off I take it. Since I am somewhat understanding about this I don’t have to much of a problem with my students about their cell phones.
I do agree that many students use their phones to cheat on exams. It’s so easy to text a friend sitting next to them for an answer to a problem or take a picture or the test and send it to someone else. At the same time it’s just as easy for my students to cheat by using their graphic calculator. They can write programs in them to save information. I am at the point; while my students are taking a test all I do is watch them. I don’t like that I have to do this but I cuts down on the possible cheating. I am also starting to check their calculators for programs and not letting them use their calculators. I force my students to use the classroom set of calculators.
Just to let you know another way students cheat on tests is to write down information on a small piece of paper. They carefully peel the label off a water bottle and place the small piece of paper with the information under the label and tape it back on. Once this is done they have the information hidden from you but visible for them. Again during tests I don’t know allow my student have anything but their test and calculator on their desk. Everything else has to be placed in their backpack and out of site. I hate having to do this but I feel it needs to be done. So be careful of water bottles in your classroom!! Anyone else have any ways their students cheat that I should be aware of??

Martina Miller said...

I don't know if I feel just old or naive after reading these posts. I was actually surprised how many of you were in schools where the kids had cell phones. I know at the magnet school in Hartford and in Bristol, they are not allowed to be used in the classroom. I don't buy the whole idrea of parents needing to contact their kids. What's wrong with the old-fashion way through the office. Not only is the cheating an issue and the texting but just having them go off. I mean you can't go anywhere - library, church, grocery store without them going off. Like Aaron, I didn't have a cell phone until last year when I moved and my girlfriend didn't want to put an extra line in her house so I got a cell phone as my home phone other wise I might not have one now. I also feel the younger kids definitely don't need them in school. Signed, the old lady

Meg said...


This is something I also feel is controversial. While I understand that parents need to be in contact with their children especially in an emergency situation. On the other hand, cheating on exams is another issue. Children should be allowed to carry the phones but they should be off during class times and for exams. If educators need to take phones during exams them be so. Education should be a child's first priorty. There is always the option of calling the school office in a true emergancy.

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