How plagiarism makes the literacy gap worse

Plagiarism is becoming ubiquitous in academia as an increase in AI-powered writing tools become more advanced and available to students. As a result, educators are faced with preventing, identifying, and stopping plagiarism even as plagiarism becomes increasingly harder to detect.

But why should educators even continue to tackle plagiarism? What are the documented and potentially long-lasting impacts of students plagiarizing their work?

According to a recent study, there was a marked increase globally in paraphrasing and text replacement during the pandemic in 2020 compared to 2019. The average similarity score, which is the score that comes from detecting what content was paraphrased versus what is original, increased from 35.1 percent to 49.6 percent. This is especially troubling considering the already negative effects the pandemic had on education. The National Assessment of Educational Progress reported that the pandemic erased over two decades of progress with drops in both mathematics and reading scores for students at record highs. …Read More

Problem solving skills: The value added by maker spaces

What are the characteristics of great problem solvers?

problem-solvingFor the past couple of months, I have been working on adapting the Workshop Model of Reading and Writing instruction to design a course I will offer in our school’s new maker space next year. What I especially like about the workshop model is that it deemphasizes content in favor of building the strategies and habits of mind that make a student an effective reader. The whole “give a man a fish…” metaphor looms large here.

It became very clear to me that it could be adapted to almost any subject. It is a really strong model for student-centric, problem-based learning, and I wanted to see if I could apply it to teaching electronics and programming. But the habits of effective readers didn’t make much sense in this context. What are the strategies and habits of mind that I want to impart to my students in an electronics course?

I realized it isn’t the content, but the strategies, which are most important. I want my students to be great problem solvers. I want them to learn how to learn. I wrote the following Strategies for Effective Problem Solvers, which will be the primary learning objectives of my 7th and 8th grade Physical Computing course next year.…Read More