Children First: Software helps educators crack down on cheaters - kotanow.com- Scottsbluff Area News, Sports, and Weather

Children First: Software helps educators crack down on cheaters

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As Stevens High School Senior, Justin Carsrud, sits at his kitchen table finishing his homework, he doesn't think about searching for the answers on the internet or looking for them in the back of his book.

"Well cheating I think is personally wrong," said Carsrud. "Cheating is not going to help you through your school career; it's only going to hurt you."

Justin has had plenty of years to take short-cuts, and although he's against cheating now, this hasn't always been the case.

"Well of course [I've cheated]," said Carsrud. "I mean I think it's something that all high school students do."

But educators are fighting against that trend. While cheating will never completely disappear there are relatively new ways it's being prevented.

"We encourage our students to do original work," said Stevens High School Principal, John Julius. "And to help them develop that habit and to develop that direction we have them access turnitin.com with their assignments."

Turnitin.com is software that's only been around since the start of the 21st Century. It's a database that not only compares student papers to one another, but also to information taken from millions of sources on the internet.

"It's a deterrent for students to easily access stuff that's at their fingertips on the internet and just copy and paste," said Principal Julius. "Which doesn't help them as they progress."

Principal Julius says Stevens High School uses it not so much for the purpose of catching cheaters, but rather to help with the writing process.

"It helps the teacher work with the student to learn how to appropriately use references and how much of it should the be reading about and synthesizing and putting back in their own words."

With his homework finished, Justin spends time watching TV with family and friends, people who will be there for his graduation in a few months. With college creeping up, he says the best way to prepare is by simply not cheating. 

"When you move onto college, it's a lot harder to cheat," said Carsrud. "And you're going to struggle a little more.

Good thing he's disciplined himself enough that he won't need to cheat.

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