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.