As I was exploring the online edtech world, trolling for new ideas, I ran across my digital friend Scott’s great idea to encourage keyboarding. It’s one I never have seen before, so I asked if he’d share the details with
Let me back-up a moment and give you a brief bio on Scott Jackson:
After three years as a sub, I was hired as a tech teacher at St. Martin of Tours School in Philadelphia. It is on the edge of the inner city. We have kids from 30 countries. Our church (that was in the picture) has been serving the community for 86 years. In 2009, the opportunity to use my social studies certification arose and I taught a seventh grade homeroom for two years. This year I am back in the lab as a
He’s come up with a clever idea to encourage keyboarding skills without making them boring. Take a look:
Keyboarding is a long dreaded task by teachers and students alike. The rote, droning teacher and students petrified of mistakes are replaced by fun and exciting activities for our younger students. To accomplish this, I have designed the Passport to Typing to correspond to the levels of BBC Dancemat Typing (http://www.bbc.co.uk/schools/typing/).
These lessons focus on a different set of keys. After the home row, the lessons add two keys until the entire keyboard is accomplished. At my school, I do Dancemat in the second half of second grade. Since there are 12 lessons and one is completed weekly, this fits well between January and the end of the school year. Usually, I will take every third week off so class does not become boring.
In the first week with Dancemat, I hand out the Passport to Typing.
This is a two page document that can be colored on the front, filled in with student information, folded, then stapled. The students usually need help with folding and getting the pages in the correct order. If you are ambitious, you could add a photo inside the front cover where the student information is listed.
After the passport is constructed, we have a short discussion about the keys of the day. I often take out a large walk on keyboard. This keyboard is constructed from 8 x 10 sheets of cardboard, taped together in keyboard order, and then it is laminated. The long laminated sheets are taped together on the back. The keyboard can he swept or wiped down after being stepped on all day. The keyboard is large enough a student can step from the home row to the keys of the day. Even older students have asked to jump out their names on my giant keyboard.
Once the students have a grasp on the new keys of the day, we begin our Dancemat lesson. For most students, this will take between 15 and 20 minutes. While they are typing, I will remind them about finger placement, using both hands, and all their fingers. When they complete their lesson, the students will either get a small sticker or a stamp in their passport. I was able to find a small stamper with seasonal designs at Big Lots. This works great for tailoring the stamp to the season.
Variety and interesting characters, with the rewards of a sticker or a stamp, makes keyboarding class with Dancemat a joy. The passport creates a tangible record of their progress in a colorful and fun way.
Here are some pictures Scott sent. You’ll see the passport and the gorgeous school where he teaches:
If you have questions for Scott, feel free to post them, especially if there’s any part you find unclear or if you just want to congratulate him on such a wonderful idea!