We have very limited keyboarding offerings in my district. While keyboarding is touched upon in K-5 classes - it is a sporadic effort at best. In our 6th grade curriculum, keyboarding is addressed for a few weeks, but without the prolonged consistency needed to build true proficiency. As a former business education teacher, I am dismayed by the lack of emphasis on what I believe is an essential skill. Maybe I'm crazy. Does anyone else feel this way?

Deb
New Jersey

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Deb: You could always assign keyboarding for homework. There are some Internet programs that give a score after the child has finished a section. If the child doesn't bring in their score then they didn't do their homework. The only one smal caveat is that you would have to make sure that everyone in your class has aworking computer. When I taught computers, (my first year) I would see children struggling to type projects and getting frustrated and wanting to giveup because they typed so slow. My job wasn't to teach them keyboard but to meld curuculum with technology.
I am very hard headed about this because I believe in my heart that it has to be someone's responsibility to teach them keyboarding. The online programs are a nice supplement but they don't replace teacher reinforcement and encouragement.
I agree but if you spend some time teaching the correct form, etc. it can carry over at home. Then, at school when you're typing a report, blog, etc. you can renforce all their hardwork at home by complementing them on great form, hand placement, etc.
Frank,
Probably a combination of your approach and mine would be ideal if teachers would take the time to emphasize form and to reimforce. Your plan certainly would minimize the time that would be needed on direct instruction in school and I think could be quite successful.
Deb
Hi Deb and newfound friends,

I so relate to your comments. I, too, have come up against District lack of interest in keyboarding in elementary schools

For some months now, I have been looking for innovative, non-bureaucratic School Districts that are enthusiastic about trying new ideas, especially lateral-thinking ideas, and would be willing to try four lesson plans I have created for Grade 1 called "A Fun, Alternative Way to Teach Children Keyboarding". The four lessons of 30 minutes each (each lesson can be split into two 15-minute lessons) are all it takes for children to learn the correct finger positions on the keyboard.

Playing a fun game on a body-sized keyboard on the floor, children take it in turns to be "fingers" and jump on the keyboard when their letter is called out (using quirky association words and actions to memorize the keys). Children love to jump about

Thousands of hours have been spent discussing keyboarding in elementary schools and all I am asking Districts for is one hour of a Grade 1 teacher’s time to "give Lessons 1 and 2 a go" and, then, give me feedback. I have had feedback from two teachers so far: 1) “The benefits are the kinesthetic, visual, and auditory learner all get to learn their way. It uses all the senses and anytime a child can see as well as do, they remember better. I will teach my keyboarding classes this way from now on. It is fabulous” and 2) “I am already using the lessons with them during their projects. It is helping them to find the correct keys much more quickly”

I am an Australian and we are great believers in “giving things a go” but I must admit that I found the lack of interest so frustrating and disheartening, I felt like giving up . . . until I found your “Teaching Keyboarding” post, Deb, and responses. Bravo, Deb and all of you. It’s so easy to sit back and go along with things and it’s not so easy to persist against apathetic opposition when you see something that needs fixing

Your comments have taught me a lot about District-perceived problems with teaching keyboarding in the lower grades and time in busy teaching schedules seems to be the main obstacle, along with the perception that it’s a very rudimentary skill, boring and tedious, non-glitzy and the lack of qualified teachers. I have also given it a lot of thought and I think the way keyboarding is taught is too hard and it can’t be integrated with other classes

It’s too hard because the way keyboarding is taught has not fundamentally changed since the advent of the typewriter. If you look beyond the games, music and falling letters of typing software programs today, you will see that they still subject students to days or weeks of mindless, repetitive hitting of keys and typing random letters that make no sense. Young children couldn’t cope with this. Even adults become disheartened, or run out of time

Keyboarding can't be integrated with other classes because typing software programs force teachers to teach keyboarding in isolation; children learn and practice keyboarding stuck in the program, usually stuck in a computer lab (this also ties up computers that could be used for other things) . . . and children type words and sentences that have no relevance to curricular areas

I believe the four lesson plans overcome all of the above problems.

Touch typing is simply learning the correct finger positions on the keyboard and, then, practice. The four lesson plans take just 2 hours to conquer the bigger hurdle of learning the correct finger positions and, then, I agree with Sylvia, this new knowledge needs to be put into immediate practice to reinforce the skill . . . and the best thing is that, because verbal association words are used, until they are ready for computers, the children can practice in classes that don’t have computers or at home with their parents. No special teacher training is required.

The game uses two shower curtains (left and right sides of the keyboard) with clear sheet protector pockets for the card stock paper keys to be inserted, so they can be used on the floor for the game to spell children’s names and other familiar words or displayed on a wall and used, or just verbally reinforced for 5-10 minutes, by any teacher. They can also be easily stored when not in use. So, integrating keyboarding into the daily Grade 1 curriculum shouldn’t be a problem and it can be done in a non-pressure, fun way. And, Ginger, NO drill and kill

Children love computers and, if they learn the correct finger positions, I don’t think they’d even want to type with two fingers. I can just imagine them going home and telling their parents, Mum or Dad, you are using the wrong finger. One teacher who tried the lesson plans with her Grade 1 class said the parents of the children were thrilled

I actually think the subject of keyboarding is going to hot up soon. I found this comment online recently: In some Districts, middle school and high school students are already doing all their writing assessments online. One teacher commented "They keep talking about wanting our fourth graders to do this too, but I think it would be a nightmare!!! They still hunt and peck at this age!!!

Finally, and I hope I am not out-of-line in saying this (if I am, feel free to delete this part), if anyone would like to try Lessons 1 and 2 and, then, give me feedback (and, down the track, a School District testimonial), I would like to offer you a School District Licence for the price of a Single-School Licence, ie, Aust$420 (US$334 on today's exchange rates)

This District Licence would give every school in the School District access to the four lessons plans (for Grades 1-2), the Children's version, using computers and overhead slides (Grades 3-6) and the Adult version (which I have sold online in over 50 countries for the past 8 years), so everyone at every school in your School District can learn to type (even the teachers)

I would, also, throw into the deal my Microsoft Word Tutorials 1, 2 and 3. My Microsoft Word Tutorial 1 "Getting Started (CONFIDENCE Builder)" is free and has links to it from many educational sites, including Yale University. In return, again, I would ask for a School District testimonial

Finding this board has really inspired me. Thanks

Cheers,
Georgie
Hello again,

There doesn't appear to have been any responses to my post. I am so disappointed. I hope it's not because I was out-of-line putting my special offer at the bottom (I don't know the rules of this board)

Cheers,
Georgie
Georgina,
I am not at all put off by your post. I hadn't checked my Classroom 2.0 posts in a couple of days and must have missed your original post until tonight. You program sounds very interesting. Do you have any literature that I could pass on to my boss? In my role, I don't really get to make big purchasing decisions and currently, I'm working in a middle school (grades 6, 7, 8) so I have limited involvement with the elementary schools. I believe you are correct in your thinking that keyboarding is going to resurface. I hope I see it happen soon! Thanks for your response and encouragement.
Deb
Hi Deb,

Thank you so much for responding and so glad you weren't put off by my post. I have taken your advice and, today, started a new topic called "A Possible Solution to the Keyboarding Problem". At the bottom of my topic is a reference from the mother of an 11-year-old who used the Adult version with her child (this was before I came up with the Children's version and four lesson plans) that might interest you if you have students in your middle school that can't keyboard

All information about my method is on my web site (no glossy literature). If I am not being too pushy, perhaps, you could give your boss copies of my posts (I think they contain the more important details) and, with my current special offer to get feedback (very keen on this), I don't think it would be a big purchasing decision (I know resources are always tight in education)

Deb, thanks again. I do appreciate your help

Cheers,
Georgie
I think that it is sometimes a good idea to teach typing in the school vicinity and sometimes it’s not depending on where the school is and who the people are, like rural people and the such may need to learn keyboarding or they may not because some may not have a computer. Like the ones who live in big cities where technology is accessible and they need to learn what to do around and the purpose to do things faster and research faster. But since most of the world is technology covered and I think it would be a good idea to teach because in between 2-10 years we should have everyone usually having a computer so yes that would be a good idea so everyone’s prepared for the coming great boost of technology. It’s not like we haven’t already but we’ve been progressing slowly and were going to hit some sort or bit of knowledge that gives a boom and spike in technology all over the world.
I've been doing research on when the proper time is to introduce keyboarding for a graduate class...and basically, most of the reports and articles I've come across are all over the board. Some say fifth grade and up is the ideal time, while others say that's too late. A few recommend starting with 3rd grade, while there are those who say it's not the appropriate developmental stage to encourage successful keyboarding. For those whose schools and districts have implemented keyboarding programs, what resources, reasoning or support were used to justify why keyboarding is taught at the grade levels in which they are taught? I would really appreciate feedback!!

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