One of my favorite sports is baseball. I have been a Yankees fan for as long as I can remember. Don Mattingly, the first baseman for the Yankees is from my hometown. The following is from Wikipedia if you are not familiar with him:
“Mattingly graduated from Reitz Memorial High School in Evansville, Indiana, and was selected by the Yankees in the amateur draft. Debuting with the Yankees in 1982 after three seasons in minor league baseball, Mattingly emerged as the Yankees' starting first baseman after a successful rookie season in 1983. Mattingly was named to the American League (AL) All-Star team six times. He won nine Gold Glove Awards (an American League record for a first baseman), three Silver Slugger Awards, the 1984 AL batting title, and was the 1985 AL Most Valuable Player. Mattingly served as captain of the Yankees from 1991 through 1995, when he retired as a player. The Yankees later retired Mattingly's uniform number, 23.”
So I have been following the news on the Astros sign-stealing scheme with much interest. It seems the Astros were using a system called Codebreaker that operated by having someone watch a live feed of games and log catchers' signs into a spreadsheet with the pitch that was thrown. The algorithm would break down the correlation between signs and pitches. That later evolved into employees banging on trash cans just behind the dugout to notify batters which pitch was coming.
Now we are at the beginning of Spring Break and the Astros players are talking to the media about their roles in the scandal. None of the players received any type of fine or discipline, nor do they seem to be very apologetic for their actions. I think about the many kids who look up to these players and see that they are only sorry that they got caught. None of them stepped up to do the right thing to stop the cheating when it was happening.
On ESPN, Mike Golic, who used to be one of my favorite sports guys to listen to, said, “You can be sorry you got caught, not really sorry that you did it. But you have to show that we got nailed here, our bad, this wasn’t a good thing.” I just think these explanations set a horrible example for kids.
This relates to my job as I am often asked if using technology is cheating. Students using tools to help them succeed should not be seen as cheating in my opinion. I’m sure if I asked a room full of adults what the capital of Bangladesh is, most of them would pull out their phones or laptops to “cheat” or to look up the answer.
“Assistive technology is not cheating and should be acknowledged just like support for any other person with a disability. Wearing glasses when you have a visual impairment is not cheating and neither is listening to a text when you have a print-based disability. It is important to understand that not all people read with their eyes. Others access the information with their ears. Consider the learning objective when determining if the access is appropriate. Generally, students with reading difficulties are evaluated no sooner than fourth grade. Many curriculums shift the focus from learning to read, to reading to learn. A student that cannot read will struggle to learn without support.”
I hope that the “cheating” that these students are doing when using technology supports to increase their learning and understanding is never compared to the cheating that grown men do in order to earn more money and prestige.
Sandy Stabenfeldt is currently the ICAM Digital Services Specialist after spending 15 years as a PATINS Coordinator. She has been with the PATINS Project since 2001. Sandy's experience in the field of Assistive Technology(AT) and Accessible Educational Materials(AEM) combined with her background in Education enable her to produce solutions for both teachers and students. Sandy enjoys working in the classroom and especially with all students to help them to succeed and to meet their potential. Sandy is a presenter and trainer at the national, state, and regional levels as well as small local groups or in the classroom.