eLearning - Teaching Keyboarding to 2nd and 3rd Grade Students

#edtech #elearning Teaching keyboarding to 2nd and 3rd grade students using Dance Mat Typing, an online typing program. Part 3 of a series of teaching keyboarding, or typing, to elementary aged students. The School Technology Report.

Teaching Muscle Memory in Tech Class - #edtech

Today was the first day back to school for my students here at Bethke Elementary here in Timnath, Colorado. Parents dropped off their students this morning and grinned as they drove off, knowing that they had just tagged us -- we were now "it."

QWERTY keyboard layout - homes keys - Start po...
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Early this afternoon I got a class of second graders who were ready to "play" in my computer lab. What a shock when they found out that this was the year they learned to touch type. "Touch typing," I explained. "Is when you can type on your computer keyboard without looking at the keys."

They weren't impressed, they wanted their computer games back.

I then demonstrated on my computer by typing a sentence that a student had made up...

Mr. Flick loves to eat pickles.

As I typed I asked the students to keep an eye on me and make sure that I didn't sneak a peak at my keyboard. After I finished typing in the sentence without looking, you could have heard a pin drop. It was like they had just seen a magic trick. They were amazed at the art of touch typing.

"Do you want to learn how to do this?" I asked.

They all answered in unison "Yes!" so I knew I had them hooked.

I then explained to them about muscle memory and that my brain doesn't really have to think about typing -- my fingers just know where the keys are because my little finger muscles have a memory of where the key is. To my student who were used to one finger "hunt and peck" typing, the art of using all 10 fingers to type was starting to really intrigue them.

Our next stop was Dance Mat Typing, an online set of typing lessons that are great for my second graders to cut their teeth on touch typing. They loved it.

At the end, when they were starting to leave the class, one student asked, "Do you think my pinky will remember that it can type an A next week?"

"You bet!" I replied as we shook pinkies.

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The keyboarding dilema - Part 1

As I speak at different conferences across the country about school technology I am often asked about keyboarding. I know it doesn't sound all that exciting but I believe it is one of the greatest tech skills that students need to develop.

Many school districts have dropped keyboarding, or typing, from the curriculum in both middle and high schools. It has been pushed down to the elementary-aged students.

I agree with this completely.

By the time a student shows up in middle school they need to already be proficient at keyboarding. Many of the assignments that are given to 12-year-olds and older are to be completed on a computer, not many teachers will allow hand-written work any more.

If a student shows up at middle school only typing a few words a minute they are severely handicapped. Imagine an assignment to do a 1000 word essay on the U.S. civil war. After about 30 minutes of work the student who is struggling at 8 to 10 words per minute is still working on his opening paragraph while another student who is at 50 to 60 words per minute is done.

I once had a 5th grade student that could type at over 100 word per minute, imagine his advantage over his classmates.

A student who struggles at keyboarding will struggle at school. He could be a very bright student with horrible grades because of keyboarding.

I will give more details on this tomorrow, everything from kindergarteners who lose letters to 5th graders who can type blindfolded.