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Keyboarding the Neglected Everyday Skill

Author: Mark Page-Botelho Posted: 2016-12-04

Keyboarding is an important skill (Wetzel, 1985) that is taught using one of many readily available programs for any situation. For Kinder through 2nd grade, use the program Tux Typing if your school uses PC's, as Tux Typing is easy for younger students to use. Also, it allows for custom word lists, to help with homeroom collaboration. If your school uses Macs or PC's, and you have good Internet connectivity, use the web based Dance Mat Typing from the BBC web site. The goal for K-2 is familiarization and basic techniques (Nieman, 1996). For 3rd through 5th we use a more comprehensive typing program such as All the Right Type, which is a client server based program for the PC. Non-web based typing programs often allow for tracking of student progress, unlike most of the online typing programs. For the Mac Mavis Beacon has a program that can be loaded on your school network. The goal is to have students learn basic typing skills using programs, then to incorporate the skills learned into existing projects where they can practice what they have learned. Web based applications are also a great choice,e specially since they can work on all devices. There are many browser based apps that are free and track progress such as the Chrome Browser app Typing Club, found in the Chrome Browser Store.
"After students achieve grade level WPM level, they should continue keyboarding familiarization using leveled word lists"
Three Areas of Importance for Typing

Posture - Students need to learn good poster while typing to decrease fatigue Nieman (1996) 
Homerow - Insuring that students keep their fingers on the homerow will help them become efficient Nieman (1996) 
No looking - Taking the time to look for keys demonstrates that more practice is needed. Nieman (1996) 
WPM - 3rd grade aims for 15wpm, 4th grade aims for 20wpm, and 5th grade will aim for 30wpm Sormunen (1988, 1991, 1993) 
Keyboarding Teaching Tip

When students are typing, they will tend to pick-up their hands in order to reach key certain keys such as Backspace. Allowing them to do so will hobble their ability to achieve a high typing rate. Show students that they can reach far-away keys, but have them keep their pointing finger on the initial home row keys J and F. This will allow them to quickly place their other fingers back on the home row keys.

To help students learn to type without looking at the keyboard, have them use the on-screen visual keyboard common with most typing programs. If the program you are using doesn't have an on-screen prompt, you should think about getting or using a different program.

Also, once students are taught Home Row, use a piece of felt or folded paper to cover their hands. This in conjunction with the online screen visual can really help them quickly learn proper finger placement.
Systems and Education Department website:

Nieman, P. (1996). Introducing early keyboard skills: Who, what, where, and how?. Business Education Forum, 51(1), 27-30.
Sormunen, C. (1988). A comparison of speed achievement of students in grades 3-6 who learn keyboarding on the microcomputer. The Delta Pi Epsilon Journal, 30(2), 47-57.
Sormunen, C. (1991). Elementary school keyboarding: A case for skill development. Business Education Forum, 45(6), 28-30. Retrieved January 30, 2005 from Utah State University, Business Information 
Sormunen, C. (1993). Learning style: An analysis of factors affecting keyboarding achievement of elementary school students. The Delta Pi Epsilon Journal, 35(1), 26-38. 

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