Why should YOU teach keyboarding? This is the most important question that you and your curriculum designers can ask when you are making decisions about your keyboarding teaching strategies.
I just received an email from Linda George who teaches in a school district in New Hampshire. Their district is in the midst of considering a change in their keyboarding curriculum. They have been using Type to Learn 3 to teach keyboarding in 3rd grade everyday for 4 weeks. They are considering extend this 20-day, 4-week instruction unit to a 20-week, once-a-week process. In an effort to discuss and consider this dilemma, Mrs. George created a wiki for discussion, How Do YOU Teach Touch Typing? This wiki contains some interesting responses from teacher and students. You should go there and place your own response.
Here’s my point of view on this question:
Why should we teach keyboarding? We teach keyboarding to build students’ skills in using computers. We teach them skills so that they will be more efficient when they write papers, emails and even blogs.
The biggest contradiction that we have in our schools is that we teach our students how to keyboard but expect them to write use pencils and paper in their classrooms. I understand that it’s costly to provide computers or portable keyboards for students to use in class, but it would make learning much more efficient and give more purpose to teaching keyboarding. I have already written about this in another posting on this blog.
What about teaching keyboarding once a week instead of 4 straight weeks? It’s a waste of time.
Remember that keyboarding is a psycho-motor athletic ability. How much would you learn about playing baseball if you only played it for 40 minutes once a week. Verrrrry Little.
If you played baseball 40 minutes a day for 4 weeks, you could develop a foundation of playing skills that you could use for the rest of the season. As you play for the rest of the season, you will be able to further refine your abilities. Taking 20 weeks to learn how to keyboard is an experiment in futility. Does this mean that students will only be able to write papers that use the homerow keys for the first month? It is a situation where educators can say that students are being taught to keyboard but taking 5 months to learn to keyboard wastes most of the school year.
I think that we often forget why we are teaching keyboarding. It is a living skill that our students need to learn in 3rd grade so that they will be able to work effectively and efficiently.
Comments on: "Why are you teaching keyboarding?" (7)
Thank you so much for your comments! I believe that I have enough information now to present a very good case to keep things status quo. I also have a much better appreciation of why and how to teach keyboarding. I am very glad I reached out and asked for others’ opinions.
It’s hard being all alone in a field. It’s nice to know that there are folks out there who do understand and are willing to share their expertise with others. I am thankful for that.
How do you counter the IM culture of today. Retention of keyboarding skills has declined for our students to nil. Any students with personal computers, netbooks, smartphones, etc. lose all skills during breaks. This is especially true for those in the younger grades who do not feel the need for quicker data entry.
Thanks for the input, Sharon. I know that you are seeing the students in the k-12 grades, but there IS hope. I would say that 80% of my university students are touch typists. There are those 2-finger wonders, but most of them understand the need for efficiency.
Can you be more specific about what you are seeing at the various grade levels? From which part of the country do you hail?
I had not noticed your response until today as i was again researching keyboarding. I am from a district in Maine and we are moving away from direct technology skills instruction into a fully integrated system with the skills needed for the technology portions of curriculum taught in “real time” and not as a separate class. We will be using a team teaching environment (classroom and technology teachers together) This is in grades K-6. Previously we have taught keyboarding in grades 3 and 4 with reviews in 5 and 6. In grades 7-12 our students are in a 1-1 program and they do NOT retain the keyboarding skills that we spent extensive hours teaching earlier. Their use of keypads on phones, touches and pads and using their own computers at home without oversight, has made our efforts nearly worthless. We are debating keyboarding at 7th grade, but wonder at the difficulty of re-establishing new habits at this level. Your thoughts?
I can see your frustration. The students learn how to keyboard in elementary school but don’t use it until middle school. I couldn’t maintain those skills if I had to wait that long. Instead of reviewing them in 7th grade, is it possible to provide true keyboarding application in the 3rd grade? Can you go 1:1 in the elementary school?
Failing that, I think that a review in 7th grade would be good. An hour a day for 4 weeks with a computer program (not typing book) should get them back up to speed. You might consider a program like Type to Learn 4. This could be used in the elementary and the in the middle school because it has a different set of tasks/standards in the middle schools.
Type to Learn 4 is online so they can practice at home as well.
Hope this helps.s
I am an educational aide who was thrown into teaching a keyboarding class to K-5 this year. I enjoy it, but I am no expert. How can I get my students excited about the home-row? I am always hearing “Why do we need to learn the home-row Mrs. A?”
I love your blog by the way. I am currently putting together a few things to help the students become excited about Keyboarding.
Here is a great website for you to introduce keyboarding to your students. http://www.bbc.co.uk/guides/z3c6tfr#z2sjq6f
It is animated and kids have a GREAT time working with it.