Pub quiz this evening.  Would it be cheating if I were to take the pocket-‘puter (aka ‘phone) and use it to google?

In my book yes, it would be cheating.  But there must surely be people who do it.  In any case, who cares, in the context of something so supremely unimportant as a pub quiz?

What about other, more meaningful events?  How many pocket-puters get taken into the exams our young folks are doing for real-life qualifications?  I have a distant recollection of the question of allowing pocket calculators being a hottish topic in my day; nowadays the calculator is one and the same device as the phone, camera, walkman, pocket-puter, etc.  How is an exam invigilator to tell what other functions a candidate’s calculator offers?

On the other hand, maybe that’s supremely unimportant too.  A candidate with the nouse to google is going to find school exams utterly trivial, too.  And once you’re at university level, the ability to use available resources – including google – is a core part of the skillset you’re supposed to be demonstrating.


Posted on January 31, 2010, in education. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. Yes, that’s so cheating. And what could be more important than a pub quiz?

    There’s plenty of options for exams. Easiest would be to ban all electronic devices (anything with any sort of phone functionality should definitely be banned anyway). If you want students to have calculators, the school/etc could provide limited-function calculators on the exam desks. Nice big chunky ones with a red LED display, so there’s no risk of students wanting to take them away.

  2. As it currently stands, exam regulations ban all personal electronic devices save calculators in an exam where a calculator is permitted. Getting caught with one will lead to bad things.

    In theory, you’re also supposed to clear the memory on your calculator, if it has one. Never seen that enforced, but also never seen anyone who actually does anything worthwhile with it (apart from me).


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