Friday, April 12, 2013

Free Plagarism Checker for the Classroom

The internet has given us unlimited knowledge and information at an instance notice. Generally, this is a good thing, but sometimes students get lazy and use the web in ways that are inappropriate in an academic setting -- plagiarizing work from web sources. 

The benefits of the web far outweigh the risk of inappropriate use. As educators we should strive to train our students on acceptable web behavior including the habit of summarizing, quoting, and citing sources. Despite our best efforts, some students choose to bend/break the rules of fair use. 

It is important for educators to be aware of the tools and resources that are available to monitor and deter cheating in the classroom. Turnitin.com is a tool that can be used to check written work for plagiarism. It is a very sophisticated and effective web resources that can quickly scan and find portions of a paper/essay that have been copied from the web or another paper. The downside to turnitin.com is its price, which is prohibitive for many individual teachers and many schools. The service also requires a bit of legwork on the part of teachers and students. 

A free, simple, alternative that I have been using for several years is "The Plagiarism Checker" from dustball.com. Paste in a bunch of text from a suspect paper and The Plagiarism Checker will quickly perform a Google search of multiple portions of the submitted text in an effort to match 

The basic service is free to use. A more advanced and accurate checker is available for $8/month. 

I have personally used this tool on student work. Some students were vindicated while others were busted. 


3 comments:

  1. Thanks for this post! As a middle school teacher this tool is very helpful. Is it permissible to repost your blogs in my Facebook group for teachers?

    Best,
    Walter Duncan

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hi Walter, thanks for the feedback. I'm glad you found my post helpful. You are welcome to post a link to this post in your Facebook group. Sharing is great!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Hi Mr. Sowash,
    My name is Keri Brown. I am a student at the University of South Alabama. My major is elementary education, and I am currently enrolled in the course EDM310. In this course we are focused on using technology in the classroom. We do a lot of work on blogs. We write our own blogs, comment on our classmates blogs, look at teachers blogs and make comments, as well as look at students blogs and make comments. I think this a great tool for educators and will be great for use in my future classroom. The 21st century students are moving more and more towards different uses of technology and I feel that this is great for the teachers to see if their students are using these tools correctly. Thank you for this post.
    Keri Brown

    ReplyDelete

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