Hi newfound friends,

I would like to ask you for and would really appreciate your comments or, even better, would love you to try a lateral-thinking method I have devised that, I believe, could solve the current keyboarding problem in elementary schools. I found Deb's post "Teaching Keyboarding" a couple of days ago and was heartened that others feel too that keyboarding is a vital but neglected skill

Using my method, Grade 1 children learn the correct finger positions on the keyboard in four lessons of 30 minutes each (each lesson can be split into two 15-minute lessons) playing a fun game on a body-sized keyboard on the floor (using quirky association words and actions to memorize the keys). Grades 3-6 children learn the keyboard in two lessons of 30 minutes each, using computers and overhead slides

Unlike current typing software programs that use mindless repetition and typing random letters and force teachers to teach keyboarding in isolation because children are stuck in their software programs, it’s fast, fun and amazingly easy and, best of all, this new skill can be integrated in a fun, no pressure way into any class that uses computers AND any class that does not have access to computers, eg, children can play the game to spell their names and other familiar things

Other benefits of children learning the keyboard in Grade 1 and using this skill in other classes are that children wouldn’t get into the bad habit of two-finger typing and middle school keyboarding classes would no longer be required. NO special teacher training is necessary and parents can verbally reinforce the quirky association words at home

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”

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!!!

For months, I have been looking for ten innovative, non-bureaucratic School Districts that are enthusiastic about trying new ideas, especially lateral-thinking ideas, and would be willing to try the four lesson plans and only two have expressed interest (one in New York and one in Arizona). I even came up with the below special deal

If School Districts would like to try Lessons 1 and 2 and, then, give me feedback (and, down the track, a School District testimonial), I offered them 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 the School District could learn to type (even the teachers)

I, also, offered to 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 asked for a School District testimonial

Thanks for reading this post, and I would dearly love to hear from you

Cheers,
Georgie

PS The mother of an 11-year-old had this to say (this was before I came up with a Children’s version and the four lesson plans):

"I just taught my 11 year old (who gets BORED with ANY repetitious task and gives up or whines and even cries wanting to stop). But after about a minute on your preview sample, HE CONTINUED effortlessly, for the first time. WE BOTH enjoyed each other, me teaching him and him learning it! I kept looking at other typing tutors the internet had to offer, but they did not compare to your method!"

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Hi Skip,

Thanks tons for your response. Your comments are very valuable because they reinforce for me that feedback is key

My method does work. I devised it several years ago when a neighbor asked me to teach her how to type (she was frustrated and ready to give up). Since then, I have sold it online in over 50 countries around the world, mostly to individual people . . . but I do have on my web site (under the link Class Feedback) comments made by children in Grades 3 and 4 who used the Adult version. The teacher prefaced the children’s comments with the words:

“Georgie, I asked them to tell you what they thought of your program. I did not tell them what to say. I was as curious as you as to their reactions. Enjoy! More will be coming! Please remember they are only in third grade. To quote Karna, "You should be proud as a pig in mud". I had a hard time not to laugh. He asked if that would be okay. I said Yes - honesty above all!”

In the middle of last year, I created the four lesson plans for Grades 1-2 and changed some of the quirky association words to be more child-friendly for a Children’s version for Grades 3-6 using computers and overhead slides

I realized that getting feedback was an important next step, so I started contacting random Districts for feedback in return for my special offer. Only two Districts responded. I couldn’t understand it. They had nothing to lose (one hour of one teacher’s time and feedback) and everything to gain (every school in their District would have access to the four lesson plans for Grades 1-2, the Children’s version for Grades 3-6, the Adult version and my three Microsoft Word tutorials for the price of a single school licence). Why couldn’t they just “do it” to see if it works and, then, talk? Deb’s post “Teaching Keyboarding” and responses helped me to understand

But I firmly believe the day is coming when Districts will have to pay attention to keyboarding. Already, the National Assessment of Educational Progress acknowledges that 4th graders’ writing skills still have to be tested using paper-and-pencil, in part, because many elementary students currently lack keyboarding skills and experience

When the day comes, typing software programs won’t be good enough. Children will need real-life experience of composing using the keyboard. They won’t get this stuck in a software program for months, if not years, mindlessly hitting each key over and over to memorize it and typing random letters and, then, doing boring drills that have no relevance to their work in the classroom

When I learned to swim, pretty quickly I could dog paddle; my feet were off the ground and I was moving in the water. I thought to myself "Wow, I can do this" and wanted to keep on learning. There's NO "Wow, I can do this" feeling with typing software programs; nor are they fast; nor would children understand what they are doing and why they are doing it

So, Skip, I am going to keep on “plugging away” to find another eight Districts to give my method a “go” and, then, give me the important feedback. I have already tried lots of different approaches; I have been excited, I have blandly stuck to the facts, I have been brief and to the point, I have overwhelmed them with information (sigh) . . . but there has to be a way and I am learning all the time. Reading comments and talking in this forum has helped . . . and I thank you and everyone for that

Cheers,
Georgie

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