Miscellaneous Technology Writing/Content

Typing Skills in Our Everyday Life (Activities)

Photo Credit: Adikos via flickr (CC BY 2.0)

Accuracy and speed are not the ultimate goals when typing or classroom technology is being taught, although they are positive side effects. The ultimate goal is for typists to be able to let ideas flow easily without interrupting themselves with purely practical typing problems.

Students do not need to think while typing. Fingertips move towards the keys without any thought. It is a thoughtless activity just like when a piano is being played effortlessly, without pause. Students should not have a problem with remembering where the keys are on the keyboard, especially while they are trying to construct a sentence or an idea. Of course, students just starting to learn how to type will struggle with the memory aspect of typing, but as they get older, they will be more and more comfortable, usually achieving average speeds of 30-45 words per minute.

By the time students are in high school, they have to type almost all of their assignments. It becomes a natural and unspoken part of the curriculum. Students will have to complete, among others:

● Written reports
● Comments on academic forums
● Journals and blog posts
● Research projects
● Digital notes
● Collaborative projects
● Online quizzes

Keyboarding must be at an even higher level in states that use the Common Core, which can be measured based on three techniques.

1. Students should have the ability to type a certain number of pages during a particular sitting. Fourth graders must be able to write a full page in one sitting, and by sixth grade students must be able to write three. (CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.4.6 and CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.6.6)

2. Common Core explicitly talks about the usage of keyboarding as a key part of the production of work during the third grade. CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.3.6 includes “the
usage of technology for the production and publication of writing (usage of skills in keyboarding)” as one of their required skills.

3. Students must also take standardized tests for the Common Core that show how far they have advanced in their typing ability.

It is an ongoing myth that when students need to type, they will end up teaching themselves, and so school-sponsored keyboarding education is not necessary. This idea is only partially correct. Yes, students will end up teaching themselves, but they may not learn at the rate they need to succeed. They may not work with enough technique to surpass the basic requirements of the Common Core.

One difficulty of learning to type in school is timing. Lessons begin in September and end in May, for the most part, which leaves several months where students don’t have the benefit of assistance as they learn necessary skills for the future, namely, typing. Many teachers use basic online programs to teach typing that don’t interest students, so the education, when it is available, is done on autopilot. This system only works for ten percent of students who are intrinsically motivated. However, all students need these skills, regardless of their learning style.

The additional ninety percent needs more than just training that is automatic, and they need more involvement from their teachers. Below are several recommendations on how to make lessons on typing effective and fun.

Gaming:

Drilling is an intrinsic part of every typing program. Critical placement, usage of the fingers, proper posture when typing, and many other techniques must be learned. Students start learning with great enthusiasm at the beginning, then gradually lose interest as the learning becomes monotonous.

Drilling can be made more dynamic and fun with online typing games that enhance the teaching of key placement, accuracy, and speed. Games should be offered intermittently and not on a timetable. When used as a reward for passing benchmarks on keyboarding, games serve as a motivating factor for students to learn more and develop their skills in keyboarding.

Quiz:

No student loves to take a quiz, but it is an essential part of the process for teachers. Quizzes give data so that the teacher can understand how much the student knows and where they need to improve. It gives the student this same information so they can be inspired to do better or continue good habits. A quiz on keyboarding shows the students and their teachers how far ahead they have gone in their learning.

Team Work:

Putting students in different teams to increase the social element of keyboarding may help remind students why they work so hard at these skills – to collaborate well with others and achieve more in their academic and professional careers. Students can work as a team to answer questions relating to keyboarding.

Integrating Home Practice and Schoolwork

Students advancing skills should be further developed by taking on writing projects in class. These projects can take different forms, from research to book reports to collaborative documents made in Google applications. As students perform a lot of research activities on the computers in class, teachers should be able to determine essential traits that should be looked for in typing students, like posture and finger position.

Starting the projects early will give teachers a chance to witness the student’s ability to
type effectively and gauge the quality of the project content, so that all elements of writing can be assessed at once. Parents should also be involved so they can strengthen the typing element of the project when their children get home. This will create an environment where good typing practice is a part of every element of a child’s life, giving them an advantage in a world that loves to type.

Keyboarding is a tool used to communicate relevant knowledge in a particular subject. As a tool, it can be equated to an artist’s brush, a pencil or even a violin. The more developed each student’s keyboarding skills are, the easier it will be for that student to excel in their work.

Everyday activities will help these students achieve what they want to achieve, with excellent  form to boot.

About the author

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Chassie Lee

Chassie Lee is the Content Expert of Typesy - a premium keyboarding for education used by schools, businesses, homeschool parents, and individuals.