Teacher and coach

Your teen doesn’t know how to use Google, and she can’t spell “diabetes”

Two encounters with students from the past week:

A few days ago I gave my classes a take-home quiz that involved answering questions about my class website. I told them that they could pick up some extra-credit points on their next test if, instead of submitting their typed quiz answers via email, they created a screencast in which they showed themselves navigating around the website to answer the questions.

I mentioned on the assignment slip that screencast-o-matic.com was a popular, and free, screencast creation website, and that they might want to use it.

A few days later, one of my students (a 9th grader) came to me and said that she wanted to do the screencast but couldn’t. “Why not?” I asked her.

Student: Because I have a Chromebook.

Mr. B: [with confused look] You can’t do a screencast with a Chromebook?

S: No.

B: Do you have your Chromebook with you?

S: Yes.

B: Show me.

The student took out her Chromebook and went to screencast-o-matic.com, and sure enough there was a message saying, “Sorry, our site doesn’t work with Chromebooks.”

B: Well, there are probably other ways to create a screencast with a Chromebook. Did you google it?

S: [with confused look] What?

I opened my laptop and googled ‘screencast chromebook’ and was presented with several thousand blog posts and articles with titles like “3 Great Tools to Record Screencasts on Chromebook.”

The next day she emailed me a link to her screencast.


I was meeting with another student about her Personal Project. This is a kind of independent research project that all 10th-graders at my school have to complete. This student’s project involved creating a book of recipes for a person who had diabetes. She had been doing some research about diabetes and types of meals that would be appropriate for a diabetic.

One of the things she was supposed to have already done prior to this meeting was to write down a list of specifications for her project. Since she hadn’t yet done that, I had her write them down right then. As she was getting started she stopped and asked me, “How do you spell ‘diabetes’?”

Mr. B: [managing to keep from gaping at her] Um, I guess I would have thought that since this is your chosen topic and since you’ve been researching it for the past two months, that you would already know how to spell it.

Student: [laughing] Well, yeah, but not from memory!

Silly me.

Photo Credit: Premshree Pillai via Compfight cc

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