I am probably one of the worst spellers at this university, and I most likely would not be in college if it was not for a spell-checker. However, this program can easily become a student’s worst enemy.
Students tend to not proofread their papers as long as they do not see any red lines under words. That is where the problem begins.
Spell-checkers are supposed to help with spelling and grammar, using lines to guide the writer. A spell-checker does not highlight a word, though, if it is incorrectly used, which may lead a student to receiving a lower grade on a paper.
The example I am going to use comes from my experience of teaching.
Every semester I have students write a paper about groups, and every semester I have about half the students using the word “apart” instead of the words “a part” when they are talking about which groups they belong to.
I guess what I am saying is that the spell-checker does a great job at catching spelling errors, but when we use the nonexistence of redlines on our papers as a sign of everything being okay, that is when the program is no longer your friend.
Instead, actually proofread your paper, or better yet, have someone else proofread it. Print a hard copy; your eyes will read the paper better.
In case you cannot find someone to proofread your paper, you can always go to the Center for Writers for assistance.