This week, is a good week. I learned a whole lot about something this week and I thought I’d share it with you my good reader.
So let me layout the scenario for you. It is the end of an grading period at my school and like many other school this is a time for tests and projects. One class giving quite a few tests is our Spanish class. The teacher there uses on an online assessment tool, Edulastic for this tests and the students use Chromebooks. Since it is a language test and it is offered online, there are some ways that kids can, shall we say, get some online assistance (AKA cheating).
We, the tech department, thought we had this locked down. With Edulastic we can make a “Scene” that only allows the Edulastic website to open and that is it. No new tabs or searches allowed. We also blocked Google Translate from the Google translate control panel so that site or the extension could not be used and we patted ourself on our backs.
So students took the test and when we looked at GoGuardian to make sure they weren’t able to open any webs we noticed something odd. Something didn’t make sense. Check out the image below of a timeline of two different students.
We are stupid, or at least I am. There are plenty of translation extensions that students can download and install.
Guess what, extensions don’t need a website, so they are invisible to GoGuardian, so at the beginning of the week we thought there were students who were installing the extension before the test and then uninstalling it afterwards.
So, we disabled students’ ability to install apps/extensions from Google control panel. Pretty easy and we set up a Google form for students to request apps/extensions to be allowed that we could vet.
OK – now we can really pat ourselves on the back . . . right?
Did I mention that I was stupid? During a test that we were monitoring on GoGuardian we saw this.
So the student on the bottom is what it should look like during a test. A solid green line showing a student consistently on the Edulastic test. The student above was odd. Why was it so fragmented? Those gray slivers are open and empty tabs. What was happening?
So we looked a little deeper and saw this.
How could this be? I mean we plugged all the holes . . .didn’t we? Right?
The teacher spoke to this student and he was pretty forth coming. He said that if you type a question the Google Omnibar, it will give an answer without performing a search!
Of course he is absolutely correct.
What you are seeing here is what Google calls instant search and there is a way for us to turn that off in the Google. There was also a translate feature in Google that we turned off as well. I guess this is what offers a translation for sites in foreign language.
Now do I pat myself on the back? No because I am sure the students will find another way. Just like the Dutch Boy and the leaky dike. I am just plugging holes as students find new and inventive ways to . . . “gain assistance.”
What have I become
I always thought that being working in technology – I’d be the cool guy on campus. I’d be the person people would go to with problems and want to talk tech with. I am that person, but I have also become something else.
I’ve become . . . The Man.
I’m OK with that.