This week I read a post by George Courso titled, "Open Phone Exams" in which he started off with the following comparison:
"If I was to ask a question of an educator and they didn’t know
the answer, the tendency would be to google it, or for some, to
send out a tweet and ask the question. If they find the answer,
they would be considered resourceful.
If I was to ask a student a question on an exam, and they did those
same things, they would be considered a cheater."
This immediately got me thinking. Why? Check out the disclaimer I have on my classroom website and course outline for my 3 math classes, as per divisional policy:
"Please note, calculator tools on mobile devices (iPod, cell phone,
tablet, etc) are NOT permitted during formal assessment activities.
Students MUST have their own scientific calculator for formal assessment."
The reasoning for this is that students may use their device to cheat...
George then brings up a good point which I think almost all teachers can agree with, " If I can google the answer to the exam, the question is probably too simple and not that good in the first place." I see literally hundreds of posts about using Bloom's Taxonomy in assessment, getting students to apply their learning in authentic meaningful situations, creating inquiry projects to help students use their critical thinking skills, etc.
We all recognize the importance and value of higher order thinking. Why then, are we worried about student's using their devices during assessments? If we are truly asking higher order questions, they shouldn't be able to find the answer through Google. Can they use their device to find information to help them get to this goal? Yes, and I think that's a good thing.
I want to send a big thank-you out to George for getting me to think more about the assessments that I'm delivering and work towards updating our device policy.
*If you'd like to read George's post, "Open Phone Exams", visit his blog: The Principal of Change.