Remember when you could fake your way through a book report by using Cliff Notes? It had key facts and told you the story you didn't read.

I am going to let you in on a little secret, and my 10th grade English teacher is going to say, "I knew it!!" I didn't read my required reading book for the class. I read the cliff notes for it. I learned the characters, learned the plot and told the story and rated the book, shared my feelings, and ultimately earned a decent grade.

My teacher probably knew it then but couldn't prove it because I knew the book when asked. Now with changing technology, the teacher will have proof that you didn't read the book and they will know the second you walk into class.

At Texas A & M they are testing a program made by CourseSmart, that allows them to track their students’ progress with digital textbooks. They know how much you read, what you are hi-lighting, whether you skip pages if you read the end first, and how much time you spend reading the book. Because the pad tracks your reading.

One of the stories that the NY Times shared is about Adrian Guardia, a Texas A&M instructor in management who took notice of a student who was apparently doing well. His quiz grades were solid,  but Mr. Guardia also saw something else: that the student had opened his textbook only once. He wondered if they were really learning even if they weren't opening their book.

This is something that the program can also study. Not everyone reads their textbook but can learn by listening in class. I am like that, I can't take notes and listen. I like to record then take notes later. This can help teachers to connect more with students, to adapt their classes, and to know how students are learning.

In the old days, teachers knew if students understood the course from the expressions on their faces or the testing. Now they know through the program, and might be able to stop students from being frustrated and quitting.


I think it will be a matter of time before there will be a cliff app you can download to show you read it when you didn't, and then you can by the book on tape or have it scanned into you.

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