Wednesday, October 10, 2012

How to Discourage Dishonesty in a Digital Classroom

A guest post from Lenore Holditch

Technology can undeniably make students' academic lives much richer. However, technology does at times make it easier for students to be dishonest. Plagiarism and copyright infringement are two particular problems educators have to deal with in digital classrooms. Fortunately, there are things you can do to encourage your students to use technology responsibly and honestly. Here are a few strategies you can try out:

Use a plagiarism detector
When students know you'll be checking their papers for plagiarism, they're a lot less likely to heavily borrow ideas from online sources. Plagiarism detectors like Turnitin help you catch academic dishonesty, so you can deal with it proactively and get students on the right track to writing papers that are original and give credit where credit is due. In a world where so much information is easily accessible, students need an educator at their side to help them analyze what they read and present how they understand it, from their unique perspectives, on paper. You have the unique and wonderful opportunity to be their guide and teach them the skills they'll need to avoid plagiarism throughout their academic careers.

Get your students' parents on board
Sometimes students are more likely to use technology in a dishonest manner when they're away from school. While they might not plagiarize as they work on a paper or project at school under your watch, they may be tempted to do so at home, especially if they're feeling overloaded with school work and want to finish their papers faster. So, make sure you let the parents of your students know what you expect of them in terms of academic integrity and ask that they help you help your students use technology with integrity.

Have a serious conversation with your students about ethical uses of technology
Let your students know that they're doing themselves a disservice when they use technology to plagiarize or use images and other forms of media without permission. As the leader of a digital classroom, it's a big part of your job to teach your pupils how to use technology to truly expand their minds. So, be clear about your expectations and honest with your students about who they're hurting when they're dishonest.

Lenore Holditch is a freelance writer and blogger who contributes to a variety of sites about her experiences as a writer and educator. When she's not working on professional writing projects for, she's reading about eLearning and mLearning trends.

1 comment:

  1. I really like the last point on teachers talking to students about using technology ethically. It's pretty easy to tell your students piracy is wrong, but it's another thing to practice what you preach. My biggest challenge is getting my fellow teachers to use CC-licensed work. I feel as though getting them to insert pictures ripped off from Google Images into their class websites was a large enough mountain in itself, but having them find licensed works - and then sourcing them - is pretty tough. I'm still looking for an easier way to ease those that are reluctant to use tech in the first place into using tech properly.