Touch typing is being taught in progressive curriculums now. Experts agree it’s never too early for teachers to get on board and teach keyboarding.
When teachers were students themselves, they learned touch typing as well. As skilled professionals today, they devote a portion of class time to keyboarding practice. Inept teachers move quickly to other Information Technology skills believing there are more important things on which to focus.
There are numerous reasons why keyboarding should be a priority and available for students in schools. Here are three:
As a student learns to keyboard, their confidence grows and they are more apt to perform well in school and touching typing can help when it comes to homework as well as allowing the child to concentrate on learning.
Younger children especially are excited by the opportunities to learn which technology brings and keyboarding is no exception. Give your students access to compelling and well-structured typing software and they don’t mind practicing. Technology catches children’s interest and, as the teacher, you can choose from a wide range of interactive activities including, of course, typing games.
Technology is everywhere and is growing. Technology changes our lifestyles, our health, education and society.
Keyboarding is a requirement in many classrooms already. Experts predict touch typing will become even more crucial in the future as dependence on keyboard-based gadgets increases. It’s only reasonable to make sure children are prepared with the typing skills needed for keeping up with technology and making the most of it.
Tips to help teachers teach touch typing
More than ever children are growing up knowing how to use keyboards. Whether on Mom’s tablet or Dad’s smartphone, kids as young as three are interacting with a touchscreen or keyboards. Just because their exposure to touch typing happens early doesn’t mean the child will develop good typing techniques and habits.
There’s still a strong need to teach touch typing to school-age children. Many kids prefer to write by hand because of motor skills issues, spatial challenges, memory issues, and other functioning issues.
How can you, as a teacher, help your kids get better at typing?
Touch typing doesn’t have to be time-consuming or difficult. The key is to offer touch typing lessons early.
Touch typing refers to using all ten fingers without removing them from the keyboard. Many offices and jobs require employees to have touch typing skills, usually between 35 and 65 words per minute.
Touch typing is valued because of its efficiency and time-saving ability — not to mention there aren’t many office jobs nowadays which don’t require computer use.
These, along with other benefits, make touch typing a valued skill to learn for children — and grown-ups.
Dance Mat Typing is an interactive game which easily takes a child through touch typing tutorials. At each level and stage, students learn how to touch type in a step-by-step procedure which makes it easy and interesting as the child to grasp the basics.
KidzType uses colorful cartoons which are interactive with the players. Quality typing games teach the child how to use the letter keys, punctuation marks and even capitalization.
Tips for Teaching Typing
Give skills time to develop
Kids learn to type by mastering one key at a time and practicing letter combinations. Most children haven’t developed their own hunt-and-peck systems so by taking enough time to introduce the keyboard, basic guidelines such as ergonomics and wrist placement can be reinforced.
Stress Accuracy Over Speed
Speed will come later. When kids are learning, accuracy is more important.
By emphasizing accuracy over speed, children learn that touch typing is a skill involving trial and error. Kids can be disappointed by their lack of typing speed causing them to be disinterested in learning how to touch type.
A little praise goes a long way
Praising and rewarding children for their progress helps increase a child’s motivation to learn. Praise is more effective when it is specific and when teachers are mindful of how and when they praise. Praising children for their progress is motivating and teaches them what they're doing well.
It’s important to allow kids sufficient time for breaks. Each session should last no more than 20-minutes. Any longer and the child tends to lose interest and is more easily distracted.
In between each session introduce ‘break breaks’ like a little dance, going outside for a few minutes or anything to help their mind refocus and relax.
What age should a kid learn to type?
The consensus is that kids gain sufficient finger span and coordination to begin learning touch typing by age 7 or 8.
Regardless of how kids learn to type, it is important to know that typing for kids shouldn’t replace handwriting skills.
Michelle Yoder, a pediatric occupational therapist from New York says, “We cannot deny that we are in the digital age. Once children become fluent writers, they need to learn to type.”
For many kids struggling with dyslexia, touch typing has shown to be useful as an aid in improving other skills like spelling, memory, vocabulary and reading.
Whether a child has dyslexia, touch typing is faster and more efficient when it comes to completing their work.
Children with dyslexia tend to have problems with graphomotor issues as well as spatial and motor planning issues.
For these students, Elizabeth Schiff, a private tutor in New York City, feels learning how to keyboard can be a boon as it circumvents these problems and leads to much faster and easier learning.
If your kid’s challenges impact typing, don’t give up. They may take longer to master touch typing, but once they do, they may find writing assignments easier and less frustrating.
There are many reasons why teachers are devoting curriculum time to teaching students how to touch type. Boosting their academic performance is the most important.
Touch typing is a skill which is growing in demand. The bottom line? Touch typing increases productivity and the quality of writing.