Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Are iPod banning schools cheating our kids?

By now I'm sure you've seen the AP article "Schools banning iPods to catch cheaters" that made the USA Today, CNN, and other newspapers and websites. Well, a colleague sent me a link to a Computer World article by Mike Elgan that takes an opposing view: Why iPods and other electronic gadgets should be required, not banned!

Here's a sample:

Most high school students prepare for tests by guessing what facts might be on the test, then trying to memorize those facts to maximize their grades. Hours after the test, those facts tend to be forgotten. This is a gross oversimplification, sure, but largely true. How much of your high school history, science or math do you still retain to this day? If you're like me, the answer is practically zero.

An iPod, when used during tests, is nothing more than a machine that stores and spits out data. By banning iPods and other gadgets, we're teaching kids to actually become iPods -- to become machines that store and spit out data. Instead, we should be teaching them to use iPods -- to use that data and to be human beings who can think -- and leave data storage to the machines.

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