Google is promoting anti-education message - MPs warn after adverts suggest spelling is not important | Eurasia Diary - ednews.net

25 June, Tuesday


Google is promoting anti-education message - MPs warn after adverts suggest spelling is not important

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Google is promoting an anti-education message as its advertising campaign suggests children do not need to learn how to spell, MPs have warned.

The adverts urge people to "keep spelling it how you say it", referring to the algorithm that predicts what you are trying to spell when typing into Google’s search.

One such advert gives an example of someone typing into a search bar "what to do in rakeavic" and below it says: "Showing results for what to do in Reykjavic".

The advertising campaign has been denounced by MPs who say that the tech giant should be “ashamed”.

Robert Halfon MP, chair of the education select committee, said: “It is incredibly disappointing that Google are doing this. They are trying to tell children ‘don’t learn spelling, just use Google instead’.

“They are creating a dependency culture, dependency on the internet. Its entirely wrong, they should be ashamed of themselves.

What they should be doing is the opposite: trying to encourage children to spell correctly.”

Matthew Warman MP, who sits on the All Party Parliamentary Group for technology, said that a balance must be struck between helping people learn and condoning incorrect practises.

"On the one hand it is a genuinely helpful feature. On the other, internet is supposed to make us wiser, not stupider. It is a really difficult balance,” he said. 

"We have to get the balance right and this is not necessarily sending the right message.”

Around half of admissions officers said they do not believe that students arrive at university "sufficiently prepared” for higher education, according to a study conducted by ACS International Schools.

Admissions officers at 81 universities were asked what impacts of students’ ability to thrive at university, and what has the biggest impact on their ability to successfully complete the first year of study.

The majority said that student were “unable to remember facts” and had an “a ‘Google-it’ mentality”. Almost 90 percent said that students were unable to think and learn independently, and a similar proportion said that students are unable to manage their own time or workloads.

Tim Loughton, a Conservative MP and former children’s minister, said that while there are some types of technology that encourage users to get away with sloppy spelling and grammar, the Google search does quite the opposite.

“You put in the wrong spellings into a Google search and it corrects it - whereas if you do a text message you never know the right spelling,” he said.

“Pointing out that there is a correct way to write things might help people get the right spelling the next time around. At least it is steering people to what correct.”

A Google spokesperson said: "Technology is not meant to replace hard work or education and we would never suggest people should rely solely on the benefits it provides.

“This campaign shows the usefulness of Search in pulling together information and opening up learning opportunities for all."

 

Telegraph

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