Friday, October 12, 2007

State Penn

I just got this story off of Engadget. It only has a little something to do with security, and my rant even less so.

Penn State has developed a high-security environment for students to take exams in. This is a total waste of technology. The point of this is to ensure that students cannot cheat on tests by using iPods or cell phones to store potential answers to questions. In my day, it was graphing calculators, and in my folks' day it was arms up shirt sleeves.

My point is not that invasive, high-tech monitoring can't work, though it probably can't. My point is that it only allows the continued perception of validity of the worst testing higher education has to offer - memorization. Computers are for data storage. Human minds are for imagination, applying concepts, and learning. None of this can be stored on an iPod. Professors who insist that students learn by regurgitating facts that can be digitized and retrieved with Ctrl-F only serve as a barrier to learning.

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