Sunday, June 05, 2005

The English Keyboard

Last year I made the comment to a group of computer types that you didn’t have to know how to read to google in English. I explained that some 5 year old children sit down at a computer with a scrap of paper with a word printed on it.

One of them rejoined “And why would they want to google if they can’t read?” Incredulous, I replied, “To play Neopets, of course.”

It happened again this winter. Two 5 year olds were discussing what games they play on the computer and one said to the other “No problem – you just type N-E-O-P-E-T-S.” I happen to know for a fact that these two children couldn’t read or write in the conventional sense.

Last year an ESL student who couldn’t speak, read or write English completed a PowerPoint on Canadian Animals. He had used words scribbled on paper and the google: images search.

I recently saw a 12 year old, who, through hearing impairment and other circumstances can not read or write, sit down at the computer and google her favourite celebrity and play a video from the site.

So you don’t actually have to know how to speak, read or write English to google from the English keyboard. Want to try that in Chinese?


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