Hello everyone! I would like to gather opinions related to keyboarding instruction in K-12 schools. This is a multiple part question, and points will be deducted for not answering all parts. (We're all teachers, so I thought that would get your attention)

Do you feel that keyboarding instruction (isolated course, non-elective, non-business course) belongs in K-12 curriculum?
If no, please describe your opinion why not.
If yes, along with your opinion why, can you also describe which grade level(s) you feel it has the most impact?

Personally, I can see both sides to the discussion, and would be helped by opinions of folks such as yourself. Thanks for any insight!


Tags: keyboarding, opinion

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There was a huge discussion about keyboarding here at ning a year or so ago. You might check out the comments to see if you get some answers.
Thanks for the redirection, but I was actually looking at personal philosophy of other members, rather than keyboarding resources. My guiding thought is "Just because you can, does that mean you should", and my focus was on keyboarding in K-12. I see the arguments for, so kids can get foundation. But I can see against, where kids integrate skills into their practice rather than dedicated classes for it. I have also heard some who say don't do it at all, and save for elective courses at higher grades.

I just want to get a gauge on varying perspectives.
I teach first grade in a small school in Northeast Georgia. I have started to teach keyboarding to my students here at the end of the year. With all the technology integration that is going on right now I feel it's important for students to be able to type. Without keyboarding skills assignments will take forever, especially if your looking for a good literature response or something like that. I've started teaching early in the hopes that it will continue and build in each grade level. By the time they reach fifth grade the can type their papers and blog efficiently.
That seems to be a big reason to teach keyboarding in primary or intermediate, from what has been shared with me... efficiency in future projects, similar to the "Stitch in time saves nine" outlook. When I was in the classroom, I had the same outlook. But as I get more of a system perspective and see differing viewpoints I thought it would be interesting to see what the varying opinions would be from a larger, more "technical" pool of experts. Thanks for your insight!

Patrick, I definately think kids need to know how to type, maybe an 'old school' philosophy but the faster you can get the ideas on paper, the better. As scripted curriculums and high stakes testing takes over I find fewer and fewer elementary students who know how to type well (or have basic computer skills) --I only see my students once day a week and good computer skills are needed for most of what we do. Sorry I linked you to the wrong discussion, there is a keyboarding 'philosophy' post and comments around here somewhere because I can remember a rather heated discussion!! Maybe this was it!
That is an excellent post, you are right. I read a few and it will take some time to digest the rest. In my district, we are pretty mush 2:1 in intermediate and clase to 1:1 in MS. There was discussions of adding keyboarding curriculum for primary, where they are 4:1. There have also been discussions of adding an elective in Middle School. Just trying to philosophically grapple with value.

As a teacher I saw a certain value. Stich in time saves nine. The earlier I taught them keyboarding, the quicker we were down the road. That was my classroom value. But the lessons had to be droning and repetitive for the muscle memory (I remember that from when I took keyboarding in High School).

As an administrator I can see another value. Using that time to teach keyboarding does detract from other activities that can be used, where certain keyboarding skills can be integrated, but not taught in isolation. But that does not get the repetitive nature usually to achieve results. I guess a time on task factor for achievement.

That is why seeking varying opinions brings me value, so I can see other perspectives, and practices. I don't know if anyone has the "right" answer. As Nietzsche said, I don't know if that exists. The trick is deciding upon something and going through the continuous improvement cycle to determine effectiveness and value.

Thanks again for the link to the other discussion thread. That is right along these lines...

Before NCLB, I actually saw more technology skills (including keyboarding) being taught in computer labs. With keyboarding practice (I think it started in 3rd) many kids were typing faster than I do by 4th grade. It does take time and practice but I think it is worth it--I really notice a decline in basic computer skills over the last 3-4 years. Keyboarding can also be practiced at home as homework, if kids have computers.

I would not have an elective for middle schooler that was keyboarding only--you may have a mutiny!! But assuming all this txting, IM, and chatting is making good typists is a misconception--teach them early before they learn a lot of bad habits!!
I teach keyboarding to 4-6 graders and see the kids 2-3 times a week for 40 minutes. We use about 25 minutes of that time for keyboarding (total of 45 days for 4th grader and 24 for for 5th and 6th). In my district we use keyboarding books and use MSWord during keyboarding lessons and practice. My lessons include not only the new letters for the day but how to format the font, insert pictures, etc. I feel that all students should learn to keyboard starting at 3rd or 4th grade. Our projects go much faster and we are able to tackle many more things because keyboarding is not an issue for most kids. There are some who do not do their practice homework and do not use the classtime to improve their skills and they find themselves lagging behind with keying in the information while classmates are on to bigger and better things. For some kids this is the incentive they need to practice their skills.

We also spend a great deal of time working on proper ergonomic skills and the teachers help to reinforce these skills. We try to help them to develop healthy habits. By 6th grade many of my students find it hard to do anything other than sit up straight and use proper skills.
Wow Lynda, what a great foundation you are providing for your kids. If my district did that we could get rid of the Intro computer apps class for 7th graders and move to some really great projects!!
Thanks Nancy. One more thing, my school is a lower income school with many students at risk. I have had many students that excelled at keyboarding and that skill may provide them the chance for a better job.
Agree--our district never hired 'computer' teachers. Our previous superintendent felt strongly that elementary classroom teachers wouldn't integrate technology if there was a 'computer' teacher. There is some truth in that if the model allowed for classroom teachers 'dropped' their kids at the lab. I can see that a good alliance between classroom and lab could really help kids learn a lot of skills!
I see the argument - but I also notice that where there is no 'computer' teacher, often classroom teachers won't integrate technology anyway - and they certainly won't impart the vital disciplines of keyboarding.
I'm a big fan of co-ordinated tasks crossing the expertise of subject teachers with the technology teachers early, and then the integration is acheived with student skills - ie the students carry the digital skills with them, not needing super savvy "all things to all people" teachers



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