Danish Students Allowed to Use Internet During Final Exams

Recently, the ACM reported that Denmark was testing a new initiative in their classrooms that allows the students to use the Internet to help answer questions on their final exam. Currently, there are 14 Danish colleges that are participating in the program, with the Government inviting other schools to join.

Denmark has historically been an innovator in many areas and from their highly successful state run health care program, to their exceptionally low unemployment rate, it is clear that Denmark is doing something right. They have also allowed their students to use computers during their exams for many years, but the program that allows the use of Internet during the final exam is a new initiative.

In statements, the Minister of Education, Burt Haarder, has said that the intention is for the Danish School system to more closely resemble how real life actually works, so to this end, acknowledging the importance of the Internet to daily life is essential.

In many ways, using the Internet is simply the new open book test, so it is not as big of a jump as it may seem. Going to college is often not so much about information retention as it is about knowing how to find the information you need, so this seems to be a very logical step on the part of Denmark.

This is especially true of technical degrees, specifically those involving computers. In the Information Technology Field, it is impossible to expect someone to know everything and often text books are out of date as soon as they are printed.

So, in the real life work force, being able to quickly and easily sort through the information on the Internet and find the answer to your question is much more valuable than expecting a student to be able to recite information off the top of their head.

Ultimately, this seems to be a step in the right direction and teaching students how to analyze information is a much more valuable skill, as once they are done with school, they will be using the Internet to answer their questions anyway.

Of course, I can see how this might not be true of all areas of study, such as math, where being able to understand a printed formula and manually work it out is extremely important.

Source: Association for Computing Machinery

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