Technology has not just brought us knowledge it seems, it has also made it easier for some to feign knowledge if not intelligence.

The internet has brought to each one of us access to knowledge faster and in greater volume than ever before. It has, together with the computer, made it easier to copy, store and manipulate. When coming upon a problem today how many of us turn to our favourite search engine and, with the typing of a few words, can turn up reams of pages on any given subject.

But just this ease of information use has, according to the Guardian, got modern teachers worried. More students are now knowingly and unknowingly passing off others’ work as their own. Plagiarism is, according to schools and universities, on the increase. As I found surfing the web, students even write essays about the “Rise of the Plagiosphere”.

The Guardian report cites Dan Rigby, economics lecturer at Manchester University, who on asking 90 students discovered they would pay for a good essay. The going rates are: first class essay – £300, upper second – £217 and £164 for a lower second class piece of work. He also said that 45% of students thought they knew someone who had cheated.

Cheating in GCSE and A-levels has also increased using MP3s and mobile phones according to the Office of Qualifications and Examinations Regulation (Ofqual).

Universities now use anti-plagiarism software such as ‘Turnitin’ to try and identify the cheats. They also want schools to teach their pupils how to properly credit sources in their work. Work is also going into seeing whether ‘digital storytelling’ requiring students to use a mix of media instead of just essays would help reduce plagiarism.

But while the rewards are so great for attaining a good degree then I suppose that some people will always be tempted to cheat. A short cut to a short cut if you will.

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