Lessons From “Hey Google”

November 28, 2017

Four-Year-Old Revelation

Yesterday I stopped by to visit my little niece on my way home from work. As soon as I walked in the door, she said,

“T, I got somefing (something) new. It’s so cool. You can wearn (learn) so much stuff. It knows EVERYTHING! Come see!”

As I walked in her room, I witnessed this.

(43 seconds of complete cuteness! Enjoy.)

Right after that star lesson and those sweet dance moves, we immediately began playing Barbies. Isn’t that what all Aunt T’s do? As we were playing and saving the world from an awful flood, Olivia looked up at me and said,

“Know what T? My Hey Google doesn’t know how to play Barbies. That’s one thing it needs to wearn (learn).” 


Did a four-year-old just discover that technology has yet to replace one’s imagination or be able to create an authentic “in-the-moment” experience?

I love technology, no doubt, but that is one heck of a revelation for a little girl. 

Non-Googleable Questions

Do we allow students multiple opportunities to tap into those authentic “in-the-moment” experiences?

Or, might we ask too many Googleable questions? 

Let’s be honest, Olivia will likely not remember the definition of a star, but she knows where to find it. However, she will probably remember our imaginative play scene in sequential order.


So, what are the benefits of asking non-Googleable questions during our daily interactions with students?

The list is endless, but here are a few:


Adding personal passion

Bringing in past experiences to enhance discussion


Productive conflict

The bottom line is, by asking non-Googleable questions, students feel more confident to respond because there’s no perfect answer.

Ability vs. Possibility 

Some easy ways to ensure a question is non-Googleable is to change the “ability” words to “possibility” words. 

Also, adding the word “you” to the question often makes it personalized.

These types of questions:

Do not have one right answer,

Tap into the individuality of others, and

Promote REALness that can’t be determined by Google.

Click the image below for examples of “non-Googleable” question tips. 

“Hey Google’s” Learning Needs

I love how Olivia said,

“My Hey Google needs to wearn (learn) how to play Barbies.”

It perplexed her when she realized her new toy might not “know everything,” as she supposed. Her little caterpillar eyebrows were thinking hard. She said,

“Will Hey Google save all of the animals from the flood and can it marry D (my husband)?

Check out the scene in the images below. Please note my husband’s size. I about died when she told him to kiss the bride.

“Well, I guess Hey Google doesn’t know everything, T, but it knows a wot (lot).”

I love the fact that she has a tool to search for information before she even knows how to type. However, when she reaches school age, I hope her learning experience is far different than the one she now has access to with “Hey Google.”

REAL Talk – The Why

Although her statement was so simple, it was profound. 

That’s my R.E.A.L. message! As much as I love technology, it will never replace REAL individual experiences. It’s impossible. 

How might asking more non-Googleable questions (in our daily instruction) prepare students for the future?


(As promised) The Imaginative T&O Barbie Scene

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  • Reply Aubrey DiOrio December 5, 2017 at 5:46 pm

    I love everything about this! I have an Amazon Echo dot in my classroom and one of the things my kids use it for us to get their genius hour questions approved with and “I don’t know” type response before continuing with their projects. Technology can’t replace imagination or curiosity!
    I recently blogged about my Echo Dot:

    • Reply Tara M Martin December 5, 2017 at 5:54 pm

      Awww…thanks, Aubrey. Amazon Echo is the check and balance for Genius Hour questions–LOVE! I appreciate you sharing your blog post, too.

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