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Students Talk About How They Prank Teachers in the Digital Age

"We once took a screenshot of the desktop, then removed all the desktop items and set that image as the wallpaper. The teacher started freaking out because she couldn't click on anything."

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Students are little shits. Ever since the very first school opened its doors, kids have made a very serious point of making teachers' blood boil. Not because they necessarily dislike them or anything, but because no one on Earth cared about tectonic plates ever. So any prank that offers a glint of entertainment in an otherwise mundane day is a welcome distraction.

But the days of shooting saliva-drenched pieces of paper out of a straw are long gone. Nowadays, pupils are often taught digitally and blackboards have been replaced with computers, digital markers, and smart boards. To get a feel of trolling teachers in the digital age, I visited two different high schools and asked a wide variety of students how they use this new technology for their own personal entertainment. It turns out, it's now easier than ever to take the piss.


The schools and students that have participated in this article wished to remain anonymous.

Photo via author


- "We like to mess around with the settings of the monitor before the teacher comes in. With a few simple keystrokes you can turn the screen upside-down, or change the background to bright pink, or whatever. It's seriously annoying, especially for the older teachers."

- "You can do a lot with the keyboard. We set the language to Russian once. The teacher had no idea how to solve it. You can also easily change the keys so they end up just typing nonsense onto the screen. It takes ages for them to notice."

- "A boy in my class once hid the wireless mouse. The teacher couldn't use the computer for the entire lesson."

- "We once took a screenshot of the desktop, then removed all the desktop items and set that image as the wallpaper. The teacher started freaking out because she couldn't click on anything."

- "This one is really great: steal a wireless mouse, connect it to the computer via Bluetooth before class starts, and then just keep moving the cursor the whole time."

Photo via author


- "Kids often mess around with the board. Teachers frequently set it to freeze so they can see the program running on their computer screen, but the board up in front of the class is frozen. When we have to work on something independently, and the class is a bit more chaotic than usual, someone goes up to ask the teacher for an explanation about something. Then someone else walks up to the board and quickly draws all kinds of shit on it with the digital pens. Its only when the teacher looks up at the screen that they notice what's going on."

- "It's fun to replace the digital markers with permanent ones."

- "We don't have a smart board, we have this massive TV with a touchscreen. Once, while it was connected to the teacher's computer, a friend of mine kept pressing on the television screen, so the cursor on her computer kept jumping around. I've never heard so much swearing."


- "Every iPhone has Apple TV built into it. If you know how to use that, you can break into all the digital stuff in the classroom: the smart board, the beamer, and the digital television. When the teacher switches the smart board on, a code briefly appears on the screen. If you enter that code in your phone fast enough, you can kick the teacher off the channel and become the administrator. One time I had written the code down, and kept on remotely turning off the beamer. We told the teacher that it was probably a technical malfunction. Eventually she left to fetch the guy from IT. Result: no class."

- "During German class, everyone in the room turned their phone's sound on. One person would then send a message to our group chat. Everyone from class is in that group, so 21 phones all went ping simultaneously. We did that a few times."