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Nicole H (not verified)

I teach computer skills to

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I teach computer skills to students in grades K through 7, and although my curriculum doesn't suggest beginning formal keyboarding until grade 3, I found a neat program called Paws Junior that has allowed my first and second grade students to acquire formal keyboarding skills. (My attempts to teach Kindergarten students proved to me that they are not developmentally ready for formal keyboarding.) The program comes with color coded stickers that are applied to each key and bands that are labeled with the home row keys which students wear on their hands. Learning to key comes easily once they learn that their right pointer finger (which rests on the green J key) can only "visit" (type) other keys that are green. The program can be purchased at SRA.
Sue Maxam (not verified)

I'm editing a journal on

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I'm editing a journal on Teaching Keyboarding and wonder if any of you have experience in teaching keyboarding online. While I agree that a keyboarding class taught by a knowledgeable teacher is the best method, some students do not have this option. Learning keyboarding online (in a class with a keyboarding teacher vs. online software) may be the best option for these students? What do you think? Do you have any experience in this area?
Tisha McBride (not verified)

I am in my first year as a

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I am in my first year as a Technology Applications teacher at Lumberton Early Childhood School in Texas. I taught Kindergarten for 10 years prior to this position. I never had more than 3 computers in my classroom and I found it difficult to fit in technology as a curriculum in the regular classroom. I used it to enhance other disciplines but correct usage of keyboarding and terminology was not priority. I taught computer in small groupts and it took weeks to finish projects. I currently have 589 students age 4-7 years of age. Many of these students have already been exposed to computers and many have habbits from home computer use. I introduced home keys starting the first week of school this year and the students were ready and willing to accept my challege of correct usage of the computer. I am part of a rotational schedule therefore I only see my students every 6 days and yet they come to me time after time remembering their hand positions and ready to work on there keyboading skills. This week was my 11th class with my students and we started working on Word Processing on the 10th week. Now that they have aquired an understanding of keyboarding they have been able to type, backspace, enter, space, bold, underline, itailisize, change font color, size, style and center. We have also inserted clip art and sized it. This has all been structured and I can't wait to turn them loose and see what they create on their own. Naturally the first graders are more successful because of their maturity, fine motor skills and reading skills but my kindergarten students are successful at a begining level with all that I have introduced. I have had them name computer parts and their functions. The skills they have aquired are beginning keyboarding, mousing skills, opening and closing programs, printing to different network printers, shutting down computers, word processing, and online tutorials at home that are optional. The children are continually rising to the challenge and enjoying it along the way. I am glad to be a part of their technology journey.
Georgina Farmer (not verified)

Hi, Your comments are so

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Hi, Your comments are so interesting to me because I have created four lesson plans for Grades 1-2 called "A Fun, Alternative Way to Teach Children Keyboarding" that could revolutionize the teaching of keyboarding in primary schools. They are simple, lateral thinking and they work! In schools around the world, formal keyboarding lessons don't take place until Grade 3 (it can be as late as Grade 6). With more children being introduced to computers as early as Kindergarten, this means that children have no option but to "hunt and peck" for at least 3 years. This is such a waste of time (and frustrating for children and teachers). Worse, when they do undertake formal keyboarding lessons, it's a lot harder to break the bad habits they have developed When I looked at available typing instruction software, I realized why. Despite being "spiced up" with games, music and falling letters on the screen, the user still has to mindlessly hit each key over and over to remember it and type random letters . . . very young children couldn't cope with this; they wouldn't understand what they were doing So I created the four lesson plans using quirky association words, rather than mindless repetition, to help the children remember key locations. It's a game on a body-sized keyboard on the floor where selected children become "fingers" and jump when their letter is called out (children love to jump about) After the four lessons, the children KNOW which finger hits which key (I can just imagine them going home to their parents and saying "Mum/Dad, you are using the wrong finger") and can immediately apply this knowledge, in a non-demanding way, in any class that requires them to type text, eg, to enhance language skills, children compose letters to friends, story writing activities or presenting project findings in words and pictures in other classes. With few large blocks of time in a school day, each lesson can be split into two 15-minute lessons and no teacher training is required I recently posted the link, Typing Tutor, to Lessons 1 and 2 on a popular Lesson Plans site and said I would give any teacher access to Lessons 3 and 4 if they gave Lesson 1 and 2 "a go" in 2006 and, then, provided me with feedback and answered a few questions . . . and I would like to offer the same deal to you all . . . if it is permitted for me to post this offer as I do sell the four lesson plans, together with a Children's version using computers (Grades 3-6) and Adults version (Grades 7+) online as part of a Multi-User Licence for schools One teacher commented: The benefits are the kinesthetic, visual, and auditory learner are all getting 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!!!! Cheers, Georgina Farmer
Linda B. (not verified)

My kids' schools don't teach

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My kids' schools don't teach any keyboarding of any kind! (middle and elementary) I skimmed through all of your comments hoping to find a glowing recommendation for a particular program we can use at home. We can't do an online course, so I need to purchase a program for them. Any suggestions? Thanks!
Patsy Lanclos (not verified)

Linda B, Watch for a future

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Linda B, Watch for a future blog post that may answer your question. There are many commercial programs available such as Typing Tutor, Type to Learn, Mavis Beacon. However, if you do a search on the Internet for "typing programs", you will find there are many available for free. Some of the programs you can download to your computer (so that you are not using them online) and some are available only online. Patsy
Larry J. Thomas (not verified)

I wholeheartedly support

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I wholeheartedly support smaller class size as a factor in recruiting more teachers. However, there is a strong need for educational support. There is a prominent need to have more support services in place. Students need to have an additional person nearby to help when the teacher is doing whole group teaching. Students need to be exposed to a variety of learning and teaching styles. I truly believe that beginning teachers should serve as a classroom assistant for one semester before graduation in order to obtain a teaching certificate.
Ross Abels (not verified)

Thanks for contributing to

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Thanks for contributing to this necessary conversation Patsy. Whether at school or at home, computers will continue to play a vital role in the lives of students. Keyboarding skills are no longer vocational in nature, but necessary to communicate, extract and disseminate information. Keyboarding, a psychomotor skill, is internally monitored and controlled and externally performed. Sound pedagogical procedures inherent learning the psychomotor skill of touch keyboarding are necessary to facilitate student proficiency and enhance the use of time and effective use of technologies. The goals of a intentionally designed sequence of instructional experiences to develop keyboarding skills include: • Develop touch keyboarding techniques for alphanumeric and symbol entry; • Develop acceptable accuracy and speed of touch keyboarding skills to facilitate communication. In developing keyboarding skill, stress technique first, accuracy second and speed last. Skillful technique is the best guarantee of combined accuracy and speed. In developing keyboarding proficiency, students must be guided through a series of increasingly complex movements of eye, arm, hand, and finger sequences which culminate in the movements or motion patterns they are expected to use in keying. Sufficient time should be devoted to initial keyboarding instruction (about 30 hours minimum), and the new skill should be reinforced throughout the school years. Keyboarding skills improve little or abate without consistent reinforcement.
Caroline Morris (not verified)

First of all, I'd like to

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First of all, I'd like to thank you, Patsy for giving me such valuable resources (your article as well as the website). I teach "Computer Explorations" at a school in North Alabama. I teach keyboarding and basic computer literacy skills at the 6th grade level. My school system is going through application phases of the International Baccularate Programme which requires technology taugh at the sixth grade level. My students, for the most part, are progressing rather well through our keyboarding unit. The students I teach live in very poverty-stricken communities, and this exposure to technology at ages 11-12 is such an advantage in their lives. They LOVE the hands-on learning and life-long skills they are acquiring. The only disadvantage in my situation is the fact that these students will not have a computer class again until 9th grade. That's 2 years that their skills will diminish. Hopefully the system will work that out. Thanks again!
Paula Brady (not verified)

Thank you for listing the

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Thank you for listing the specifics that students can and should be mastering. I'm wondering how young you think students might learn to keyboard? I see young children using the "hunt and peck" method. (Yes, I just went back and put one space instead of two at the end of each sentence! Thanks so much for the reminder.)
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