Students at a medical college in Thailand are caught using spy cameras linked to smart watches to cheat during exams. They used wireless spycams in eyeglasses to capture exam questions, transmit them to associates elsewhere and receive responses through linked smart watches.
But the doorway exam in question was cancelled after the plot was discovered and Arthit Ourairat, the rector of Rangsit University, posted pictures of the hi-tech cheating equipment on his Facebook page.The cheating attempt has already been compared to Hollywood’s classic spy dramas but it shows how easily such high-tech devices are available to those that seek to realize an unfair advantage in educational pursuits.Unfortunately, it’s a drag which will only worsen when devices like smartglasses become cheaper and more readily available.
Smartglasses like Google Glass have the potential to require photos, send information and also display information on the lens itself, eliminating the necessity to attach to a smartwatch.
It was around this point last year that universities globally started banning, or a minimum of exploring a ban on, smartwatches in exams.
Smartwatches are considered an aid to cheating in exams because they provide quick access to stored text and pictures, language translation, mathematical calculations and internet access.
Subsequent bans on smartwatches were also introduced by school boards for Year 12 exams in Australia.
But a blanket ban on all watches – traditional or smart – might be on the horizon, especially because it’s difficult and impractical for exam invigilators to differentiate between the 2 in an exam environment.
It’s not just smartwatches we’d like to stress about. A plethora of hi-tech cheating gadgets exist that might also not look out of place during a Bond or mission film.
These are devices like special glasses with a built-in transmitter and a separate wireless earpiece, aimed toward establishing a two-way secretive audio communication between people during exams.
There is a tool marketed as a Cheating Watch which will store PDF, Word and other documents. But it also features a super-fast emergency button that locks other buttons and displays only the time when approached by any suspecting exam invigilator.
Many other devices are offered for covert cheating in exams through the wireless audio transmission.
There is even an Invisible Watch that appears to display nothing when the watch is switched on. But when viewed with special glasses sold with the watch, the screen becomes visible and you’ll see any uploaded content, like your exam cheat notes.
An open market
Before you criticize me for making a gift of details of those devices, I should means that there’s a really open marketplace where they’re being spruiked and sold as gadgets to assist cheating in exams. They’re not hard to seek out.
Similar devices also are being sold on Amazon and eBay, companies that appear to say no ethical responsibility for what’s being sold on their platforms. Prices range from as little as A$40 up to A$600, counting on the features.
Although these devices might be used for legitimate purposes, the marketing of such gadgets to students for cheating in exams is a problem that’s plaguing educational institutions.
Globally, educational institutions abhor the erosion of educational integrity and need students who are smart with gadgetry – not smart-cheaters. The dilemma facing exam administrators is deciding which devices to ban and the way.
Similar to the ban on mobile phones in exams, any devices capable of storing, transmitting, receiving and displaying digital information should even be banned.
So, as a start line , a ban on watches – traditional and smart – for now’s the way forward.
In order to eliminate the matter of differentiating between watches in an exam environment, some Australian universities have already implemented bans on all wristwatches. Others across Australia and therefore the world should imitate.
As newer surreptitious technologies emerge, educational institutions will need to come up with better plans to combat these new ways of cheating, and devise solutions that would range from banning devices to scanning for radio signals as was done using drones in an exam in China!