Is it cheating to use online tools to get ahead in school?

As the internet and various online tools make it easier to produce quality school projects and research, some question “has technology made school too effortless for today’s students, compared to what was expected of older generations?”

CAMBRIDGE – As colleges admission requirements become more and more demanding, students across the world have discovered tools that help them with school projects and research. Technology has in fact transformed the way students approach education making it more interactive, engaging and empowering. Ashley Wainwright of Secure Edge Networks noted that thanks to mobile technology, students are able to access the most up-to-date information quicker and easier than ever before. Moreover, students have today a greater chance to interact with their classmates hence fostering collaboration. With the access to online tools and with social media use for school related activities becoming increasingly common, school authorities are scrambling to assess if the use of these new technologies should be limited in an effort to ensure that school results don’t become a function of the proficiency of a student with such tools as opposed to the academic effort. However, certain industries like trading and media, are dependent on their employees being proficient in the use of the latest social networks and online tools. Allowing access and encouraging the use of such tools as part of the school curriculum, can improve student’s ability to succeed in the workplace in the future. “The question is not whether these tools are useful, it’s weather they create an environment that is inherently unfair in terms of recognizing academic success”, one education professional opined when presented with some of the latest products available on the market – “using tools that pretty much do the work for the student can create an unfair advantage”.

memosnag, a new web and mobile application that simplifies online research, lets students capture online content with a single click. The memosnag engineers developed a highly sophisticated algorithm that crawls web pages meta-data and automatically creates academic style citations for everything that the student snags. This would have been a “dream for research projects back when I was in college”, cried Alexa Jaccarino in a review of memosnag that appeared on the observer.com following memosnag’s release at the Collision Conference in New Orleans last April*.

Everything that the student snags is saved in the cloud and is accessible in the student’s personal memosnag account, across devices. The student can create collections to organize the content as she sees fit and can even share collections with fellow students, so that they can all contribute to the research and interact the same content at the same time. Collections can be kept private or made public, which makes memosnag a great tool also for micro blogging as well as a number of other non school related activities.  A-grade students love memosnag and the edge it gives them at school but also for every day needs. Much attention has been given to this application by industry experts with some describing it as a much better pinterest, and referring to it as the definitive way to get rid of bookmarks and a dream come true. It is easy to see why traditional education professionals find tools like memosnag unfair: “What merit does a student have, if the hard part of their research is done by a tool?” commented a high school teacher nearing retirement – “students using memosnag clearly have an edge over others. Is this fair?“.

But the founders of memosnag don’t see it as a problem. “When calculators were invented, they made resolving math problems hundreds of times easier than before. Does anyone see an issue with students using a calculator in school? At the end of the day, when you are out of school, what matters is if you are able to get the job done, correctly and faster than others. Students that are proficient using a calculator will succeed over those who are not, no matter their GPA” said one of the founders – “memosnag is a new application and it’s available to everyone for free. So let smart students benefit of the edge that it gives them. Soon or late everyone else will also catch up, but hey don’t early adopters deserve an edge over those that are slower at keeping pace with change”.

*memosnag is available on web for Chrome and Firefox (https://www.memosnag.com) and on mobile on the Apple iTunes and Google Play stores.

rly have an edge over others. Is this fair?”

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