The internet provides a wealth of information which can be used to enhance the classroom and learning environment.
Sites such as YouTube, Flickr, Google Earth and Wikipedia allow pupils to gain a wider perspective and increase the potential for quality in their work. Nevertheless, with power comes greater responsibility. Some young people are downloading large portions of information and pasting it directly into their essays without crediting their sources and in some cases, not even verifying if this copied information is even valid.
The biggest issue arises from young people not understanding the correct protocol when directly copying imagery or information into their work. It is important that they understand the options available and what exactly plagiarism is as they may think that they have done nothing wrong. In some cases, it is possible to accidentally plagiarise but this is no excuse and it is imperative that work must be checked closely for content and consistency.
A 2016 survey carried out by Common Sense Media in America found that over 33% of teenagers admitted to cheating by using a mobile device and over 50% admitted to using the internet to cheat. These staggering figures show that there is a genuine problem which needs to be addressed.
Some of the people that were interviewed felt that due to the anonymity of the content, they could just ‘borrow’ it. There are a few issues with this. Firstly, the content has been created and therefore is the Intellectual Property of someone. Secondly, the chances are that an anonymous source is not going to be as accurate as an accredited source. Quality of the resource is always an important consideration when selecting information and is no different with the internet.
It is important for parents and family to get involved and explain to children exactly what plagiarism is and the gravity of the situation if you decide to follow that route. It is important to pick up good habits now in preparation for university. Many universities have advanced computer ‘reading’ systems that can analyse a students work for plagiarism traits and all institutions take plagiarism very seriously. Depending on the severity of the issue, you can be disqualified from the offending module right up to being asked to leave the course and university permanently.