Contextual advertising comes to… school test papers?

Paul Raven @ 03-12-2008

We may not be queuing up for bread handouts yet, but times are obviously getting pretty tough in the US education system. When high school calculus teacher Tom Farber was told that his photocopying budget was being cut to a point where he wouldn’t be able to repro a year’s worth of tests, he decided to start selling advertising space on the test sheets.

In the face of shrinking budgets all over, how likely is this to become commonplace? And how much of an impetus will it be toward home schooling untainted by commerce (if such a thing is even possible)? [via SlashDot]


Everything Can And Will Be Hacked: digital testing systems

Paul Raven @ 28-08-2008

classroom testIt’s an old story, but worth bringing up because of the fundamental truth it teaches us. Back in the nineties, a company called Edutron Systems was trying to get schools to upgrade from the hopelessly antiquated pencil-and-paper test system to its disk-based gizmo, with predictable results:

It took all of one test for the students to find a flaw in the system: if one received an unsatisfactory score, he could simply retake the test. Classroom Assistant didn’t bother recording how many times each test was taken. Sure, retaking the test several times was time-consuming, but generally worth the effort.

On the second test, students found a slightly easier workaround: they could simply run a different test. Since the results screen did not indicate which test was taken, all one needed to do was open up the “Test Taking Tutorial” test and pass it with flying colors.

It gets worse as it goes on, of course – kids are resourceful when they want to avoid something onerous.

And so, the lesson is: everything can and will be hacked; the greater the motivation for a successful hack, the faster it will occur. Maybe time to back off on those ambitious plans for biometric passports, eh? [story via Hack A Day] [image by ccarlstead]


HOOKING UP by Tom Doyle

Jeremy Lyon @ 01-11-2006

We’ve got a real treat for you this month – “Hooking Up” is a great new story from frequent Futurismic contributor Tom Doyle. It’s about high school and evolution, VR space, artificial intelligence and the unrestrained id.

Hooking Up

by Tom Doyle

John sauntered lazily towards his new high school, making his parents wait as long as possible in their stupid H-cell car. He hoped that he was pissing them off. Their idea to send him to this hi-tech educational prison, their idea to wait out front until he synced on the school grounds, both because they didn’t trust him. So screw them.

He glanced back over his shoulder, saw their fake big smiles and waving arms, waving him on. Shit, how humiliating.

Ahead at the main entrance, the view held more promise. Two perfect girls, lush hair, blemishless skin, full lips, sculpted curves. The best features their daddies could buy, and probably too fancy for John. But he could still enjoy the scenery. Continue reading “HOOKING UP by Tom Doyle”