Cell Phone Abuse on Campus
There was once a time when cell phones were used solely for their namesake, to talk to friends and loved ones on the go, and were seldom used beyond that.
Today, the situation is quite different. Cell phones have become virtual microcomputers in every respect to a laptop or average household desktop.
At the very moment a class ends, students filing out of classrooms - at least half, if not more - immediately shut their books and flip open their phones. Buzzes and chimes echo in the air as countless personal conversations start up.
Although this practice is common and generally acceptable, using cell phones to cheat is not.
More and more students in Santa Monica College are often found using their phones in class - which is already forbidden by many teachers - to gain answers during tests via a calculator program, text-messaging a friend, or even photographing copies of the test prior to class.
"I am not thrilled about students cheating on tests period," said Ioana Robles, a math teacher here in SMC. "I think cell phones should be zapped when one enters a classroom and un-zapped when one exits a classroom." When asked if she ever caught a student cheating with their cell phones, Robles replied, "Yes...they claim that they are checking the time...Get a watch, I say."
Her sentiments were shared by other students as well, such as sophomore and broadcasting major Chris Krause: "If you're having to cheat on a test, it's obvious you're quite not doing what you're supposed to be doing. You're breaking one of the cardinal rules of class with using cell phones to cheat."
Krause went on to mention how cell phones in class doesn't help the student at all: "You're letting a machine do the work for you."
The mobile phone today is more popular than ever before. Students crossing through the library walkway would often pass by others draped with at least one wire drawing from their ears, or small electronic ear-pieces - reminiscent to those found in the movie "I, Robot."
The major companies selling wireless phone service today such as Verizon or T-Mobile have at least 24 to 30 different types of cellular phones for purchase on their websites with designs ranging from small and simple to phones built with a form of Microsoft Windows programming, advanced enough for the average businessman or woman on the move. The ability to do so much with so little has led to many students either sharing or virtually downloading a test or quiz onto their pricey, compact computers.
For senior Anthony Hall, it is understandable why and how students are using their phones to cheat. "I think people today are willing to do anything to pass a test due to the overbearing pressure placed on them," said Hall.
Hall has worked in a watch store before and has seen Personal Digital Assistants (PDA's) designed as watches and sold for roughly $500. "I think it is morally wrong, but I understand why they do it," he said.
But psychology major Magdalena Krehnacova said, "I think its really stupid. People will always try to find ways to cheat." Krehnacova said she believed it was immature and unfair to other students who studied when a teacher leaves the room during a test and thus gives individuals the chance to cheat.
Israel Castro, who is also a psychology major, agreed, "Students that cheat off their cell phones should study more."