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Literacy for Google

April 19, 2012

I’ve just had my first experience of a student’s lack of ability to spell actually preventing her from doing something. The task was to create their dream garden including pictures and text and the student wanted to include patio in the design. She put her hand up to tell me that she wanted to put pictures of patio in but couldn’t do it because she couldn’t spell ‘pateo’.
This just reminded me of when a student says “why have I go to learn this ? I’d just google it” Well, you can only do that if you actually know how to spell it. Google can’t do everything!

(I was quite surprised that pateo wasn’t close enough)
(I was quite surprised patio featured in a 14 year old’s dream garden)


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  1. Anonymous permalink

    Minor point, but Google will help you if you spell a word wrong (sometimes it’s quicker to go to Google to check a spelling than to open an application with spell checking), but like any spell checking, it’s unlikely to be able to help you if the word you spell incorrectly ends up spelling a different word correctly. In the case of your student, pateo is correctly spelt Spanish word.

  2. Anonymous permalink

    Yes. As I said, I was quite surprised it didn’t come up as an alternative option.I’ve discovered that if you typespell xxxxWhere xxxx is the word you’re not sure of it will give suggested alternatives but you’ve still got to be reasonably close. (For example it didn’t pick up fairo instead of pharoah.)thanks for the comment

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