Monday, July 22, 2013

Life Imitates Joe Biden...

[chortle] It's always funny when lazy people get busted...

Boston school principal caught plagiarizing
BOSTON —A Boston middle school principal is under fire after admitting she plagiarized a Forbes magazine column in an effort to inspire staff.
Jaime Moody, the new principal at Lilla Frederick Pilot Middle School, said in an apology obtained by The Boston Globe she "inappropriately copied words from another author and passed them off as my own."
I'm torn. It sounds like it was an internal memo, in which case I can kinda see just copying and pasting as being more of a time-saving measure. I mean, I was always taught that you cite your sources, and it's something I strive for in all of my writing (yes, even in quick e-mails), but I understand that not everyone has the same ethic. I mean, who are we to judge a school principal for passing off someone else's words? It's not like she would sit in judgement of a student who did exactly that. Oh, wait...

Talking with my kids, they continue to be amazed that when I was a kid, there were exactly two sources of information for writing papers: the library and the encyclopedia. That I couldn't just fire up the computer and have hundreds of sources at my fingertips was mind-boggling to them, and I guess it kinda is, given that their entire lifespan has consisted of high speed internet access. Being able to access the vast bulk of human history in seconds is something we take for granted - and it sounds like Principal Moody forgot about that thing called "Google".

I often think how radically different high school and college would have been if I'd had the kind of tools available to my kids now. Cheap laptops, wi-fi, the internet, etc. - on the one hand, completing assignments involving writing would have been considerably easier - no more writing out rough drafts, then typing them into a typewriter very carefully to avoid mistakes (word processors were just starting to get popular when I was in college, and they were a little beyond my meager reach). On the other hand, the temptation to find some obscure paper online and just paste it into Word to complete some "History of South America" paper would be great.

But then again, I know the difference between right and wrong - and I also know that there are plenty of plagiarism-detection tools out there for educators.

That is all.

1 comment:

Dave H said...

I have a friend who teaches English at the Air Force Academy and they use several plagiarism detection systems, including at least one that looks for matches online. And in spite of being warned about the use of these systems, cadets still get caught.

I'd be less concerned about somebody borrowing words for a memo, but if that someone is an academic I'm not inclined to be lenient.