I appreciated this article and the many comments and the myriad of issues raised — on every level. Let me focus on three issues: (1) a program that provides answers or papers does not get at the process of learning for the student. Might we ask the question then: can teachers and professors be wiser and smarter in how they craft assignments so that they cannot be “bought,” recognizing that everything can be bought at a price? Project based learning challenges can’t be put into a program — at least not easily. (2) Since we want kids to have learning experiences but they need certain base knowledge, why not use these programs for that? Practice. See these programs as additive not substitutional. For kids learning math and multiplication, yes you could pay to get answers but what happens in class? Wouldn’t a good teacher see quite fast that the homework A is not matching the test D? This all gets me to the issue of whether we are using homework effectively and well. I am not sure we can say “homework” as presently constructed or the assignments as presently configured in college are good learning tools. What if one asked a student a different type of question about material they were reading? There are some questions Siri can’t answer. (3) Why not have teachers and professors use these programs for free so they know what kids/students are doing and then they can better reflect on their teaching, their assignments, their testing? I think we have many teachers/professors whose tests and assignments are not well designed to determine actual knowledge and learning. Why not make these Open Source for educators? Perhaps they could come up with good uses for them — and perhaps create some dollars for the students who cannot afford access.

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Author, Educator & Commentator; Former President, Southern Vermont College; Former Senior Policy Advisor, US Dept. of Education; Former Law Professor

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