Alberta bans student iPod use during provincial exams

“Alberta has banned students taking provincial exams from bringing iPods into examination rooms. Alberta Education added digital audio players such as iPods to the list of banned technology in March,” CBC News reports. “Ben Heshka, a Grade 12 student at Paul Kane High School in St. Albert, says students can easily cheat with an iPod.

“‘You can record stuff onto your iPod,’ he said. ‘Like just read out your notes and just record it as a song and just listen to it. That’s been known to happen.’ McManus is not aware of any incident involving a student using an iPod to cheat. Some high schools in Alberta allow students to listen to their digital audio players during study periods and even in some classes,” CBC News reports.

Full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: One can only imagine what was going on before they banned them in March. Why did it take over four years to ban a device that can playback recordings during exams?

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  1. i find this report a little misleading. I am an Albertan graduate and when we took our provincial exams we were told not to have any form of electronic device besides a watch. I had to bring up my ipod before i took the exam

  2. It takes time for the old geezers to figure out what the young whipper snappers are up to.

    You know what is next…those inaudible ringers. The young ‘uns will just broadcast the notes in tones inaudible to old folks.

  3. When I was in school, pencil and paper was the rule. Of course, the smallest electro-mechanical computer, at the time, would over-fill my classroom!

    What is this thing with needing, or allowing, computerized assistance when taking a test? It isn’t bad enough that most schools grade on a curve so that any student who at least attempts all the assignments and puts a vague effort into learning the material will get a good grade by default?

    Calculators in math classes and iPods with notes are “cheating”, but it is the cheating student being cheated. Real-world, they will use those devices if they have them available – and be penalized for mistakes they make if they are wrong without them. Still, the student should train to get by without these aids – it will make them better able to get by with them.

    Today, the IRS grades on a curve. One of the flags for a simple audit is “bad math”! The computer needs to check to see if maybe it’s an “oops” or a “gotcha”. Using a program generally reduces the chance of a simple audit.

  4. Ray,
    I was voice recording to my iPod a week after the iTalk came out – shipping delay, I pre-ordered. Most of the teachers and school admins are younger than I, but may not be as geeky – it isn’t their age that makes them clueless. And, due to parental restrictions during my youth, my old ears can still hear things most folk a quarter my age never notice.

    So quit with the agist slams, or should I come over there and demonstrate how well and elder can apply Aikido moves? ” width=”19″ height=”19″ alt=”raspberry” style=”border:0;” />

  5. I used to enter all the scientific formulae I needed to memorize into my HP calculator before taking in into the exam room and using it to do the exam question calculations.

    That was in the mid 1970’s. Calculators are still not banned on similar difficult calculation tests today.

  6. As I keep telling my wife, you’re never too young to be a curmudgeon! ” width=”19″ height=”19″ alt=”wink” style=”border:0;” />

    OTOH … one of these days I’ve got to decide what I want to be when I grow up – and maybe I ought to do that some day.

  7. When I was in HS everyone stored formulas and general notes for our calc/algebra classes in our calculators. This helped me more times than one, and was very discrete. I don’t think we’d get away with having an iPod because that just seems too obvious.

    Any teacher who would allow students to listen/look at their iPod (among anything else during an exam) are just plain stupid.

  8. Andy, the article said:

    “Alberta has banned students taking provincial exams from bringing iPods into examination rooms. Alberta Education added digital audio players (D.A.P.) such as iPods…”

    The operative phrase was “such as ipods”. They’re not picking on ipods per se but digital audio players.

    However the classroom nowadays is a digital nightmare. In all of our TAFE (like the community college system) classrooms mobiles are banned along with the usual suspects (eating and smoking).

    I’m running software to pick out online cheats (people who go online and purchase essays/reports). One of the other teachers caught a student cheating via a D.A.P. The student was made to repeat the subject. It was a Creative model by the way…that makes it twice as bad.

    I also have a policy of throwing students out of class if their mobile goes off (after two warnings). And I’ve banned students from listening to music in class. As I said it’s a digital nightmare.

    My concern with this article is what took the Alberta authorities so long to work out the problem. There’d have to be close to 100 million D.A.P.’s around the world. What planet are they on?

  9. Postscript to the above.

    On second thoughts, change in the education system moves at a glacial pace. You should’ve seen the reaction a couple of years ago when I asked if they’d purchase laptops so I could do Powerpoint presentations.

    The response was “What’s wrong with projectors?”

    It was only in the last ten years that they finally got rid of blackboards and my boss still keeps a few boxes of chalk in the cupboard (probably preparing for the apocalypse).

    In that respect the Alberta authorities were probably on the ball.

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