March 16, 2007
Gadget nails texting cheats
UK schools are installing detection systems in classrooms, exam halls and changing rooms to combat pupils’ pervasive use – and misuse – of mobile phones, reports The Times Educational Supplement. What's novel about this system, is that it does not block signals, which would be unlawful under the Wireless and Telegraphy Act, but detects mobile phone activity - and lets the students know, probably scaring them to death.
"When Tendring technology college in Essex installed two detectors in its exam halls in January, supervisors discovered about 20 phones among 100 pupils. Melanie Bowler, a teacher at Tendring, said: “The kids hate the detectors. We love them.”
The detectors discreetly alert teachers that a mobile is switched on. Or they make a recorded loudspeaker announcement. “We have detected your mobile phone,” an authoritative voice booms. “Turn off your mobile immediately.”
Adroit Global Technology, which manufactures the £150 devices, said it had sold them to more than 20 schools in the UK.
Related article on Sky News today, on how cheating on exams is getting worse.
"Thousands of teenagers were caught copying or using mobile phones to cheat in their GCSEs and A-levels last summer.
The exams watchdog says 4,757 candidates were docked marks, disqualified or given official warnings - 200 more than in 2005.
By far the biggest problem was candidates bringing mobile phones and other devices into the exam hall."
Schools have been told they cannot use technology that actually blocks mobile phone calls and text messages: that would be unlawful under the Wireless and Telegraphy Act. But they are allowed to detect phone use."
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