Last week, I had an 8th grade photojournalism student who was supposed to be working on a blog post caption about a picture of the 1963 March for Freedom in Washington DC. I had showed them the pictures they were to write captions for in advance, and had showed the picture below and mentioned that the Washington Monument was in the background. (For your entertainment, I only told them this after I was corrected by a student on Thursday who informed me that it was NOT the Lincoln Memorial as I said, but the Washington Monument. Oops!)
Since all the students had to do was look at the photos and write captions for them in the format we'd discussed, I was surprised to find a student on Google. I walked over to him and told him to get back to work, but he then told me that he was trying to figure out how to spell Washington Monument, and he was using Google Instant to help him figure out when he was right! So, he'd type letter by letter until it brought out the words he was trying to spell and a picture and map of the correct item, and then he'd go back and type it correctly in to the blog post. Genius!
[By the way, automatic spell check in every program in Macs is one of my favorite school features. Whoever thinks spell check is bad for kids, has never been so terrified that they asked the teacher why the computer says their name is spelled wrong. Kids are way more likely to correct their spelling when they know its wrong in the first place.]