To Bee or Not to Bee

Alexander Bohurat is matching wits with the best spellers in the country this week at the national spelling bee in Washington D.C. There, he and other young minds will spell out big words like cephlapod and photosynthesis.

But some local teachers said these kids are the exception, not the rule, and that 'spell check' is creating a new generation of bad spellers. Technology is changing the way we spell, or rather the way we don't spell.

Kevin Mayes teaches computer applications at MacDonald Middle School in East Lansing. He said he has mixed feelings about spell check.

"It does make some kids lazy," Mayes said. "For example, if they're doing a rough draft, they'll ask me how to spell something, after two minutes they'll say 'forget it, I'll just spell check it.'"

But Mayes also said it has a lot of benefits, such as moving the creative writing process along instead of getting held up on spelling.

Today, many students will spend hours on the computer instant messaging their friends. Mayes said that isn't helping the situation because of all the abbreviated words they are using.

Michael Pressley, a professor of education at Michigan State University, said that when used the right way, spell check can improve a students ability to spell, if he or she uses it for feedback.

"For kids who don't spell well, it's probably better they don't rely on spell check, unless they use it for feedback."

Prof. Pressley also said that students today have no choice but to use the spell check, in order to keep up with changing technologies.


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