21 Jun, 2015

Killing the ‘Copy and Paste Culture’.

How many times has it happened? You’ve set a piece of work and your email fills up with three or four identical pieces of work. Usually copied from the opening paragraphs of the Wikipedia page on the topic. With great care taken to remove all of the formatting and links, but phrases such as ‘from the Late Latin tectonicus from the Greek,  “pertaining to building’.

Now, either you have been doing your job wrong for months and that group of Year 7 should in fact be fast tracked to the GCSE course as soon as possible, or it’s a blatant copy and paste job!

So, how do we get away from this? We are all human after all, and just like Year 7 boys we all try to make things quicker and easier for ourselves (It’s why sliced bread took off in such a big way!).

The simple answer is to continually challenge students about their blatant disregard for learning, asking them “What does the word ‘pertaining’ actually mean?”.This tried and tested method works quite well I find.

Should you have a piece of blatant copy and paste grace your inbox on a Monday morning, you could give due sanction and perhaps make them do the research out of a textbook the old fashioned way.

However, the best way that I have found to combat ‘Copy and Paste disease’ is to simply make students write in their books, instead of producing a glitzy Powerpoint, or a Word document. This approach is particularly useful for research tasks.

If a student is required to write down their findings on paper, they are much more likely to pick out useful information for their device. They are also much more likely to synthesise what they have read into a much more concise block of text (Bloom’s taxonomy anyone?).

Granted, there is still room for using Microsoft Office to create pieces of work, and getting to know these pieces of software is not a fundamental life skill. However, if you are just starting off a topic and you want students to do some good old-fashioned research: ICT, pen and paper are the way forward!

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