Best Primary School Teacher - Cheating Inevitable!

I was recently voted in the top ten Primary teachers of the Sunshine Coast. The competition by Hot 91.1 runs an online voting system on their website for a duration of three weeks and I was proud to have been a nominee for the contest. Students, parents, teachers and in fact the entire school and learning community are encouraged to vote for their nominated teacher as many times as they like. The problem with the competition is that it is very, very, very flawed. Cheating in the competition is highly likely and prizes donated by Sea Life and Harvey Norman become stolen and not earned.

A macro mouse recorder (bot) can be installed on any laptop or PC and votes repeatedly looped for eternity. One can enter data that instructs the computer how many times the voting must be performed automatically. Screen recording software is free and very easy to use. If this is performed on one machine it can literally complete tens of thousands of votes every day. If the program is played across multiple machines a teacher can score literally hundreds of thousands of votes overnight. Over the duration of the competition any one teacher can receive a ridiculous number of votes and it is no surprise the radio station announced they had received over one million votes. By my calculations this result cannot be achieved in man hours. People were cheating and because it's so easy... it's inevitable.

Hot 91.1 needs to seriously rethink how they determine Sunshine Coast's best Primary School Teacher. The radio company and organisations involved in the competition should add a free Google reCAPTCHA to prevent cheating. This security measure is virtually impenetrable. If this was included in the voting procedure a vote couldn't be submitted until a digital text was solved and entered. Another voting option could be for the names of teachers to be sent as an SMS. This is a tried and proven secure voting method.

To ensure the competition is fair, Hot 91.1 needs to rethink how they capture votes next year. I feel a little disappointed with the outcome because the school community in which I work campaigned fairly. One thing of which I am certain is that every teacher was a worthy winner and deserves recognition for the length they go to provide quality education.


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