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WHAT WORKS IN EDUCATION The George Lucas Educational Foundation

What's the Best Way for Kids to Learn Keyboarding?

What's the Best Way for Kids to Learn Keyboarding?

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With the introduction of STEM in the middle school and high school, our district is looking at how to reconfigure the tech arts, keyboarding and family and consumer science curriculums. Currently, kids get essentially three years of keyboarding in middle school, with different levels of challenge. My thought is that now, teaching keyboarding by middle school is really too late- most kids have developed "bad" keyboarding habits by that time if they did not learn touch typing, and re-learning will be difficult.

I took a poll of HS juniors today to see what they thought, and they all hated typing class in middle school and said it was hard to learn because they already knew how to get by on a keyboard, for better or worse. This makes me think we really need to move our keyboarding into the elementary school sooner rather than later.

If so, what programs or advice might you offer? Are the cute, online computer games that teach home row typing good enough? Should there be an investment in software? Should we encourage parents to teach kids to type at home?

What do you think about keyboarding? When should kids learn to type, and what's the best way? And how would you change the middle school class to reflect needs? We're open to any and all ideas! What's worked in your school or with your kids?

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Whitney Hoffman's picture
Whitney Hoffman
Producer LD Podcast, Digital Media Consultant, Author

Thanks Adam! those were on my list of recommendations for our school district, so I'm glad to hear they are worth while!

Adam Fort's picture
Adam Fort
Touch typing enthusiast and educator

Thanks for reply, Whitney. Did you try Ratatype?

Rick Wilson's picture
Rick Wilson

Hi Whitney , I sent you a complementary copy of the latest cloud Keyboarding Program for Education. Ultimate Typing EDU. Thanks

Karla Heyduk's picture

I'm the new Pre-k to 5th technology teacher at our elementary school and I feel we need to focus on teaching some basic keyboarding to our younger kids and a little more to our 3-5th grade students, especially after seeing some struggle with taking the new Smarter Balance state test that is required. Any helpful hints or ideas would be wonderful.

Tracey Siner's picture

I'm in a similar situation as you, Karla, as we prepare for the PARCC. Any thoughts on the EduTyping program?

Kevin Jarrett's picture
Kevin Jarrett
K-4 Technology Facilitator from Northfield, New Jersey

We use Typing Pal (http://www.typingpal.com/) and it's got some great features, a decent user interface, and the statistics are good. It's also very inexpensive.

We are looking at Typing Web (http://www.typingweb.com/) which seems a little better for older kids, has a different user interface and shorter lessons. Both are solid and worth checking out!

We start with "Keyboard Awareness" in K & 1 then introduce the formal typing programs in 2nd and continue through 4th. IDK what we do in Middle School, tho...

Hope this helps!


Adam Fort's picture
Adam Fort
Touch typing enthusiast and educator

The best age to start learning a touch typing could be 5-7 years with typing tutor Dance Mat typing (http://www.bbc.co.uk/schools/typing/) that all young kids love.

After 10-12, try tutors like Typeracer (http://play.typeracer.com) and Ratatype (http://www.ratatype.com) where children can compete.
At age of 7-9 kids should try more complicated tutors like TypingWeb (http://www.typingweb.com) that is more complicated and teacher may see the typist's progress.

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