Technology can help to stimulate interest and enhance learning in the classroom. But it can also cause cheating and play havoc to assessment in education. Duke University in North Carolina found that supplying iPods to students of music, engineering and sociology help to improve their performance. But iPods have also been widely used in schools and universities to cheat in exams. Students use iPod–compatible voice recorders to record test answers in advance and then play them back during exams. Others download notes onto the music players and conceal them among song lyrics.

These small devices are not easily spotted for they can be easily hidden under the sleeve and held to the ear. Students demonstrate surprising creativity in coming up with ways to cheat as gadgets become smaller and technology gets more sophisticated. They prove the adage that when there’s a will, there’s a way.

Perhaps it’s time to change the assessment methods and formats. Students should not be expected to regurgitate facts but process them. They should demonstrate critical thinking in answering exam questions rather than memorization skills. Allow them open-book tests so that the facts are at their finger tips, ready for reference as in real life. After all, you can find most information on the Internet with the click of a few buttons. But the communication skills and creativity involved in processing the data are more valuable.