Cheating in the Coffee Shop…A lesson?


A couple of days ago I was in a Coffee Shop buying a foccacia (I don’t drink coffee) and while I was waiting I noticed a blackboard that had mystery song lyrics written upon it. The challenge was that if you could guess the lyrics you would get a free stamp on your loyalty card. Now I consider myself to be pretty knowledgeable with song lyrics but I simply had no idea what these were. I reached into my pocket and brought out my mobile phone, a quick google search of the lyrics and I had the answer before my foccacia had even reached my plate.

So what does this mean for teachers and students? Well we now have the possibility to access information anywhere, anytime simply from our mobile phones. In this case knowledge was given a back seat to the ability to seek out useful information. These are the skills we need to be teaching in our classes.

Whether we choose to use these devices in our classes, well thats up to us, but one things for sure our students WILL be using them in their own lives. We can’t afford not to embrace this opportunity.

3 thoughts on “Cheating in the Coffee Shop…A lesson?”

  1. I did the same thing a few weeks ago to find an obscure movie quote for a radio contest. Soon such puzzles will have to be presented upside down; backwards; and in a foreign language!

  2. A student of ours who was proudly showing me his iPhone recently, told me how it’s “great for settling bets”. When I inquired as what he meant he replied, “Well, if we disagree about a fact or something like that, I just jump onto Wikipedia or another site to find the answer.” There you go – bet settled within minutes! I was thinking to myself, “How I wish all of our students had access to this type of amazing learning device!

  3. I couldn’t agree more – what matters in a world full of freely accessible facts is not the retention of facts but the ability to acquire them quickly, put them into a context and use them to effect change. As an aside, I was recently at a place… and my wife liked the song they were playing and asked me what it was… i didn’t but i reached for iPhone… using the shazam application… it actually LISTENS to the music for about 20 seconds, then matches that sound print with an online database and tells you the name of the song, the artist, shows you the album art and provides a link to download it from the iTunes store. Its so amazing its almost scary. But these things are just the first wave of applications like this that make access to information easy. Why does the education system still insist on kids remembering facts for exams?

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