I have always had an interest in keyboarding. It is the primary form of input for computer today and it is still chiefly taught at the high school level. What about the students in the earlier 8 grades? What should they do while they are waiting to go to high school where they can learn how to type? Would you believe that there are actually courses at the secondary level entitled “Keyboarding 2”? How long does it take to learn to type?
Typing is important and everyone should be able to type at least 40 words a minute. This sort of speed allows the user to flow with a train of thought as it comes. It doesn’t mean that 40 wpm will be attained in typing class, but if students are given a solid foundation in keyboarding, their speed will develop as they keyboard their ways through life. Does this mean that 8 year olds should type at 40 wpm? No. They should be provided with the basics of keyboarding and then learn to type faster than they can write (typically 11 wpm). This will allow them to have an efficient way to enter their thoughts and writings into a dynamic electronic format. Editing and revising are necessary for improving writing and are much easier to do in a word processor than on paper.
The typing model should be turned on its head. Keyboarding classes at the high school level should be moved down to the elementary levels. The business/keyboarding teachers will all cry “But what will I teach?” I quickly respond with “Business Communications”. Don’t worry about the skills of typing. That will be handled at the earlier grades so the students will learn how to type correctly when they first need it. Teach the refined art of business communication. Explore the formats for letters, email, faxes, voicemail, graphics, etc. There are so many forms of communication that are used in business communiqués that there will be no end of material. AND the most exciting part of it is that you will actually be able to make the class applicable to real life by running a business (mock or real) that requires all of these communications. It would be a class that students would relish rather than a catch-up elective that goes begging for students.
You will find a number of articles in this blog that can provide you with background research for making your own curricular decisions. I have also included software reviews, downloadable free/shareware software (remember that you usually pay what it’s worth), and recommendations for the keyboarding hardware. This is not an exhaustive list of research and resources. PLEASE contact me with your suggestions and/or experiences concerning keyboarding.
Contact me if you have any opinions on teaching keyboarding or anything at all.