I blogged earlier over on eFoundations about plagiarism which seems to have hit the UK headlines in no uncertain way today. I have a personal as well as work interest in this. In my role as chair of governors at Newbridge Primary School I guess I need to be encouraging some thought about what the school’s policy is (and should be) in this area.
In general terms I think staff are pretty good about information skills and, as I mentioned in the other post, they certainly encourage children to create a short bibliography at the end of longer pieces of topic-based homework, indicating which sources of information have been used. This is good.
The evidence from the recent JISC report on information skills seems to be that the earlier these kinds of skills are addressed, the better. So in some ways, primary school level seems like a good place to start thinking about it. But it clearly needs to be backed up and enhanced as children progress through secondary school, college and university.
My guess is that even at primary school level the copy-and-paste habit is already beginning to be learned. The school probably needs to be explicit and consistent in not encouraging that to happen?