The Internet, and its seemingly endless sources of information, can be a blessing. But what happens when it is used for unethical purposes, like cheating? In most cases, probably nothing. As some unsuspecting Romanian students recently discovered, though, the Internet can sometimes shine a light on illicit behavior.
During a mock test for the National Evaluation last year, the DEX online dictionary noticed a spike in searches for certain words, arising fears that Grade 8 students were using it to cheat.
So this year, during the same preparation exam, they did something radical: they took the three most-searched words and altered the definitions for each one.
The word “pretutindeni” means “everywhere” but anyone looking up for the word between 9 and 11am last Monday would have found it defined as “eternal or forever,” according to the DEX online administrators.
The dictionary also changed the meaning of the words “to spot” (which appeared on the exam) and “treachery” (which was not included in the test).
Not surprisingly, during the two hours that the exam took place, the searches within DEX for “everywhere” and “to spot” soared as students were asked to define their meanings.
The students might have been better off cheating the old-fashioned way by writing answers on their hands. A little soap washes away the evidence in an instant, whereas an online search from your IP address is forever.