Students discuss tech's role in cheating, inclusion

High school students from Nairobi's top schools met over the weekend to debate how technology has changed Kenya's education system and provided more opportunities for cheating.

Girls from Kenya High School proved too strong for nine other schools, emerging winners in the debate with their presentation. The school won a computer and other gifts from Computer for Schools Kenya, the event organizers.

Kenya High noted that today's technologically enhanced cheating methods are a far cry from the days when students had to cheat by writing on their hands. Last year, for instance, mobile phones were banned from classrooms after it was revealed that some students were using SMS (Short Message Service) to solicit and store answers from colleagues outside the classroom.

The students went on to mention a gadget that monitors cell phone-specific frequencies, which lets supervisors detect phones in the classroom. However, Kenya's Ministry of Education has yet to provide such gadgets to schools, they said.

On a more positive note, the event saw discussions on computer-assisted note taking and how it has ensured that partially blind students attend regular schools. Teachers have also been able to integrate technology into the instructional process by creating visually rich learning environments for their students. The students noted that such enhanced learning environments provide students with the skills they will need for the job market.

The annual debate on technology invites students to demonstrate innovation and awareness of emerging trends in the technology sector. The competition will evolve to include hardware and software innovation, said Tom Musili, executive director at Computer for Schools Kenya.

The schools represented this year were Buru Buru Girls, Highway Secondary School, NPC Buru Buru Secondary, Pangani Girls, Alliance Girls, Alliance Boys, Kenya High School, Dagoretti High School, Our Lady of Fatima and Arya Boys High School.

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