Cheating Wars in the Classroom

Cheating Wars in the Classroom

Cheating Wars in the ClassroomOften, students think they are smarter than their teacher. Face it, the world has changed when it comes to technology. Hand any child a computer and they can intuitively figure things out faster than an adult. The same rule applies to mobile phones that are so commonplace that it is rare to find an individual without one.

Keeping in touch with our children when they are at school has gained importance in this uncertain world. The trouble arises when children misuse their mobile phones to get a better grade. From a young age, today’s children feel pressure to study hard to get into college to land a lucrative career. With the mounting pressure, many students resort to taking short cuts by taking the easy way out and cheating.

Cheating takes many forms: an innocent glance at the student’s exam in the adjacent row, or writing the answers on your palm. At the end of the day, cheating is wrong and should not be tolerated. Students turn to high-tech cheating with their mobile phones because they think their teachers aren’t savvy enough to catch them.

Students are tempted during exams to do a quick search on Google for the answer that slipped their mind. There also is a temptation to text their buddy across the room and ask for help on a question. You might wonder, “How can they text without getting caught?”

Many students are so proficient at texting that they only need to glance at the keyboard for a second. They hide their mobile phone under their desk, between their legs, or in their pockets, making it all the more challenging to catch. Plus, phones set on vibrate are virtually silent.

However, the vibration might give away their plan, so experienced cheaters resort to unique ring tones a teacher cannot hear. There are numerous ring tones that students download to their phones that will alert them to an incoming text or email. The interesting part is that people who are 20 years and older—like the teachers—cannot hear these “ultrasonic” tones. Reality is, they are not ultrasonic, but are in the hearing range that only younger ears can discern (typically 17 kHz and upwards). Teachers typically are more than 20 years old, and with time, hearing sensitivity degrades and the ability to hear higher frequency diminishes.

To help teachers take back control of the classroom, Berkeley Varitronics Systems has developed an affordable tool called the PocketHound cell phone detector. This device is small enough to fit in a teacher’s pocket so that they can covertly monitor for cheaters as they navigate between rows of desks during exams or while sitting at their desk. PocketHound will vibrate when there is a transmission from a mobile phone in close proximity, alerting the teacher to move in on the culprit. In addition, the bright blue LEDs provide a visual alert to the teacher as they approach the unsuspecting cheater.

PocketHound has an integrated, multiband antenna that is hidden under the label allowing for true stealth approaches. An internal rechargeable Li-ION battery has run-time of up to two hours. The product is simple to use with a single, integrated, jog slider control switch. The receiver continually scans all cell phone bands and uses a sophisticated algorithm that constantly samples the Radio Frequency (RF) noise floor to distinguish real cellular activity versus ambient RF noise.

This article originally appeared in the July 2013 issue of Security Today.

About the Author

Scott Schober is the president and CEO of Berkeley Varitronics Systems.


  • Security Today Launches 2023 Government Security Awards

    Security Today Launches 2023 Government Security Awards

    Security Today is proud to announce the launch of the 2023 Government Security Awards. The Govies honor outstanding government security products in a variety of categories. For this year’s awards program, participants can choose from 38 different categories to enter their product(s) into. Read Now

  • Back to the Basics

    Back to the Basics

    Security is a continuous evolution of practices and procedures. The developments in technology and advancements in threats make security difficult at times. Although security from one location may look different from another location, there is a common goal applied to security measures. The common goal is protection. Read Now

  • The Top Three Security Trends in 2023

    The Top Three Security Trends in 2023

    As security technology has become more widely used, the interest in new capabilities and increased security measures has increased. As we head into 2023, these three trends will shape the security landscape. Read Now

  • TSA Breaks Record Nationally and in Washington for Firearm Discoveries in 2022

    TSA Breaks Record Nationally and in Washington for Firearm Discoveries in 2022

    Transportation Security Administration (TSA) officers in Washington detected 164 firearms in travelers’ carry-on luggage in 2022, with the majority of the firearms discovered at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport’s (SEA) security checkpoints. Read Now

Featured Cybersecurity

New Products

  • Altronix eFlow

    Altronix eFlow™ Dual Voltage Access Control Kits

    Altronix has launched an enhanced line of eFlow™ power supply/charger kits that provide 12 and 24VDC simultaneously for locking devices and peripherals. 3

  • ComNet CNGE6FX2TX4PoE

    The ComNet cost-efficient CNGE6FX2TX4PoE is a six-port switch that offers four Gbps TX ports that support the IEEE802.3at standard and provide up to 30 watts of PoE to PDs. It also has a dedicated FX/TX combination port as well as a single FX SFP to act as an additional port or an uplink port, giving the user additional options in managing network traffic. The CNGE6FX2TX4PoE is designed for use in unconditioned environments and typically used in perimeter surveillance. 3

  • Dahua 2-Wire IP Video Intercom System

    Dahua 2-Wire IP Video Intercom System

    Dahua Technology is introducing a new line of expandable 2-wire IP video intercom solutions for the North America market. The New 2-wire IP video intercom is more advanced, cost effective, and designed to help businesses increase their security. 3