classroom management / Keyboarding

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 curriculumK-8 keyboard curriculumK-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 TeachersCisco guest blogger, a columnist for Examiner.com, featured blogger for Technology in EducationIMS 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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9 thoughts on “Why Keyboarding Should NOT be Dead

  1. You make some outstanding points. I know adults who have taught themselves how to type (incorrectly), but they can function. I agree with you in that it is important to learn correctly. The few self-taught adults I know are limited in their WPM because of their hand or finger placement and because they have to watch the keyboard as they type. Let’s teach it right the first time.

    • So many adults who thought they’d never need ‘secretarial’ skills like typing are now in trouble because keyboarding is part of everything we do. My goal: Get kids skilled enough they can use keyboarding for what life requires.

  2. Pingback: OTR Links 04/25/2013 | doug --- off the record

  3. I have been teaching keyboarding skills since 1973. At that time it was to two groups of students. The first group was the college bound, who needed the skill to keep up with the work they would be responsible as they earned their degrees. The second group were students who chose a secretarial career. This group are referred to now as administrative assistants.

    Anyone who did not fit into these two categories did not learn to keyboard properly. As time passed everyone, no matter what area of employment was chosen, uses a computer and therefore inputs data using a keyboard. Obviously inputting on a keyboard can be done without proper training, but it is not done efficiently. Also, because people are not taught the proper way to use the keyboard, many more people have been afflicted with carpel tunnel syndrome, a most painful ailment.

    Before all data was entered using keyboards, time was taken to teach cursive writing, which is much faster than printing. Why? It is faster because the pen does not leave the paper until the end of the word. In printing, the pen leaves the paper after each stroke. Now cursive writing is rarely taught. In fact, it is never practiced to rate of expertise. It was replaced by keyboarding. I think it is important to take the time to teach such a valuable skill so that anyone who will need to input information on a keyboard will do it efficiently and productively. It is a major cost factor that should be considered.

    • Well said. I hadn’t considered the carpel tunnel. I can see the connection. I fear we are fighting a losing battle with keyboarding, Diane. I guess the last straw will be when ‘talking’ takes over. And then our classrooms will be forever with that noisy buzz of conversation.

      • and that constant buzz will work against the voice recognition software that is being touted as a viable replacement for the skill.

  4. Until voice activation is mainstream, we should teach keyboarding. We think at about 40-50 wpm; therefore, we should be able to type at least that fast. While desktop and notebooks are still being used, other keyboarding skills; such as: short cuts and hot keys, are also essential for efficiency.

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