July 17, 2013

Dear Otto: What are Common Core keyboarding standards?

tech questions

Do you have a tech question?

Dear Otto is an occasional column where I answer questions I get from readers about teaching tech. If you have a question, please complete the form below and I’ll answer it here. For your privacy, I use only first names.

Here’s a great question I got from Lani :

I am trying to set up my curriculum map for 2013-14, for preK-8. This is the first year I will be actually using the lab f/t…I hope, along with library skills. I purchased several of the structured learning books & your blog has been amazing! My question, you mentioned that keyboarding is part of the CC…45wpm minimum, by end of 8th grade. I have looked at the CC State Standards, but cannot find this or any tech standards. Can you share where this is? I have new administration coming & would like to be prepared! Thank you.

Here are the relevant Common Core standards for keyboarding:
  • Keyboarding is addressed tangentially–saying students must be able to type *** pages in a single sitting (see CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.4.6 for example. The ‘pages in a single sitting’ starts in 4th grade and continues through 6th where it’s increased to three–see CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.6.6)
  • By 3rd grade, Common Core also discusses the use of keyboarding to produce work, i.e., CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.3.6 which specifically mentions ‘use technology to produce and publish writing (using keyboarding skills)’
  • The keyboarding requirement that is giving teachers across the continent heartburn is that keyboarding will be required to take Common Core Standards assessments (a year off except where Districts are testing this eventuality).

It’s worth noting that CC standards are progressive–students are expected to learn material, transfer that knowledge to the next grade level where they show evidence of having learned it by using it and building on it. Therefore, the notation to ‘produce and publish writing using keyboarding skills’ in 3rd grade carries into all successive grade.

Here’s the meat of Lani’s question/answer: To fulfill these standards will require a level of keyboarding expertise by 4th grade. I get the speed by extrapolating what CC wants accomplished. To type one page in a single sitting in 4th grade means typing approx. 300 words without taking a break. At 25 wpm (my recommendation for that age group), that’s 14 minutes of straight typing. That’s a lot! But not too much. If 4th graders are slower than 25 wpm, the time commitment of sitting in front of a monitor goes up tremendously. For example, at 15 wpm, they would be typing non-stop for 20 minutes–can they do that?

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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 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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