April 25, 2013

Why Keyboarding Should NOT be Dead

keyboarding kids copyTeaching keyboarding in the classroom continues to be a hot topic. Sides have formed up and dug in–is it critical or unnecessary? Can students teach themselves or will that create bad habits? Educated, knowledgeable experts fall on both sides of these question so it’s going to come down to what works for you, in your classroom.

If you are Pro-keyboarding (as I am), here are some reasons to consider as you make your decision and prepare for what might be a all-out battle for Truth and Justice with your Admin:

  1. Students need keyboarding to carry out research, increasingly done online not open book. That starts in 2nd grade–or earlier. Without knowledge of both keyboard parts and how to efficiently use them, research becomes onerous and slow.
  2. Students must log into computers and many websites. Without keyboarding skills, it’s a long slow process to add user names and passwords to the multitude of sites that require them. Oh the typos that dot the landscape as students hunt and peck for the right keys!
  3. NOT knowing keyboarding fundamentals means students take up to three times longer to do any tasks requiring typing. This is anecdotal data. Test it on your students. What are your results?
  4. NOT teaching keyboarding means students will type as they text–all thumbs. Have you noticed this phenomena? It is difficult and awkward and will convince students they don’t like technology
  5. Common Core requires students typing effectively, with the ability to keyboard 1-3 pages (depending upon age, starting in 3rd grade) at a single sitting. This cannot be done without training.

My conclusion: Keyboarding should be taught in the classroom as a project-centered skill. That means classroom teachers must know the basics:

  • place hands in home row position, pointers anchored on f and j
  • keep elbows at sides
  • keep legs in front
  • place keyboard one inch off edge of desk
  • strike key with the closest finger (3rd grade and up start on keys)
  • curve fingers over keyboard and ‘reach’ for keys

To sign up for the upcoming Summer (virtual) Keyboarding class, click here.

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Jacqui Murray has been teaching K-8 technology for 15 years. She is the editor of a K-8 technology curriculum, K-8 keyboard curriculum, K-8 Digital Citizenship curriculum, and creator of technology training books for how to integrate technology in education. She is the author of the popular Building a Midshipman, the story of her daughter’s journey from high school to United States Naval Academy. She is webmaster for six blogs, CSG Master Teacher, an Amazon Vine Voice book reviewer, Editorial Review Board member for Journal for Computing Teachers, Cisco guest blogger, a columnist for Examiner.com, featured blogger for Technology in Education, IMS tech expert, and a monthly contributor to TeachHUB. Currently, she’s editing a techno-thriller that should be out to publishers next summer. Contact Jacqui at her writing office or her tech lab, Ask a Tech Teacher.

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