OK, I know I am repeating myself, but I seriously need detailed anecdotal evidence/descriptions of successful elementary keyboarding programs - if such a thing even exists. An administrator today told me that he wants to start keyboarding in kindergarten by teaching them to recognize letters in the alphabet and relating it to letters on a keyboard. I was trained as a business ed teacher so this is a bit of a stretch for me to envision. It kind of goes against everything I learned about keyboarding being a psycho motor skill requiring consistent, repetitious practice. OK - I'm trying to be open minded - it's not 1985 - I'm not teaching keyboarding on IBM Selectric's, I'm not in charge, etc. etc. This is a subject that I have ranted about for years. I think there was a decade or two in the land of technology education where many chose to completely forget about boring old keyboarding. It seems to be making a comeback but I don't think this wasn't on my band wagon agenda. I'm not sure what I have or had in mine - any suggestions?? Positive and negative stories welcome - it's always nice and less costly to learn from others mistakes! :)

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Thanks, Deb. What do you teach? Are you in the elementary level?

Hi Leigh,
I started out as a high school business ed. teacher but in my 22 year career, I have taught every grade level (k-adult business school). I currently work as a computer facilitator on a middle school level - I work with teachers, support and administrative staff - students occasionally - to help integrate and keep technology working smoothly in our middle school environment.
I'd say 3rd grade at the earliest, but I'm finding even some of my 4th graders have such small hands they have a hard time on the full-size keyboards (and NO, we will never get smaller keyboards in my district in my lifetime!). 4th grade seems an excellent time to spend a lot of formal time on keyboarding, but if parents are willing (as I will do with my children) to introduce QWERTY in preschool I see no problems with it. Same as almost everything - learning letters, writing, reading - some children are ready earlier than others.
Just wanted to add that I looked at your work and will be digging into it in much more detail in the next few days in hopes of the never-ending quest of improving my teaching ...........check my (month-old) keyboarding blog at www.mrsolson.edublogs.org to see how I'm starting to use blogging in my keyboarding classes. My 6th graders LOVE getting to practice on something other than Typing Time, and on the 6th Grade page you can see the work they're doing on their own blogs. It has really given them something to get excited about and has shown them that when working on something fun, it's even MORE fun if you can type quickly!
kolson, My 4th-6th graders have a blog Let me know if you have a few students who would like to join our blog site and I'll set up accounts for them. I'm sure my kids would like to meet some new people. We use our blog as a formal writing site--no chat or IM lingo. It's been a great place for students to communicate.
Nancy -

I took a very quick look at your blog and will explore much more later today. I would love to work with you on some sort of collaboration between our students. I'll contact you after reading more on your blog. Thanks for sharing!
I know this is a bit late but keyboarding is an essential skill and does not have to be boring. There are some great links on my post for teaching: Keyboarding, a vital skill.

Marie -

Thanks so much for the link to your keyboarding post, I'm marking it for closer scrutiny when I have a chance to sit down and read!
Boxer shorts!

Boxer shorts fit over the keyboard nicely and block the view of the students so they can't look down. Their hands go up the leg holes.

Just a very random thought.

Good post, Marie. I liked, and agreed with, the article on Teaching Keyboarding -- When? Why? How?

WOW, was a creative (and expensive) solution! With 3 sons and a husand all wearing boxers I know how expensive they can be, but I guess you'd only have to buy them once.
I did this this year in our lab since we don't have keyboard skins and it actually wasn't expensive - we only have 20 computers in our lab and I bought these on sale. My middle schoolers didn't like the idea of boxers - even when I labeled the bucket I have them in as "Keyboard Shorts". lol

Ah well. I'm now trying to decide if I want to order real keyboard skins or not. At this point I've relaxed on the "not looking" at your hands and just stress that you will be faster if you don't look. In reality I sometimes look - I don't do numbers well unless it's a lot of numbers and I'm using the 10-key pad - and if you're taking a typing test for a job they wouldn't care if you looked at your hands as long as you typed as fast as they wanted and accurately so I haven't been trying to cover the keys lately.
Hey Nancy....I bought them in Sri Lanka, where I worked at an private, international school. Clothes in Sri Lanka are incredibly cheap so it wasn't really an issue.



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