Tuesday, August 21, 2012

What Characteristics Make 4th Graders Better Keyboarders?

Keyboard
Keyboard (Photo credit: Shane Pope)
Recently, Amy Lockhart and I had an article published in the Journal for Computing Teachers. It was the result of our research with her 4th graders into what characteristics affected their success in keyboarding. We investigated gender, age, hand size, music experience and athletic experience. Beyond the characteristics, we explored using the Almena Method for Keyboarding. 

The Almena Method is quite different than your typical instructional model for teaching keyboarding. Almena King developed a series of mnemonic jingles to assist in remembering the key locations. Once you learn these jingles, you can recite them to yourself to assist in remembering the location of the keys.

 Here is a brief overview of the study we completed:
This study evaluated the effectiveness of using the Almena Method keyboarding program to teach keyboarding to 4th grade students. Student characteristics were evaluated to measure their effect upon keyboarding success. Seventeen Midwestern fourth grade students of a mixed sex, ethnic, and racial orientation were involved. Students participated in daily 30-minute keyboarding lessons for four weeks. Students tended to increase their keyboarding speed by 33%. Age affected success inversely. Younger students improved more than older students. Music Experience had a positive effect. Larger-handed students improved the most. Gender and athletic background didn’t have any effect upon keyboarding improvement. Specific student characteristics can make a significant difference in student success.

Here is a link to the complete article:  http://www.iste.org/Store/Product.aspx?ID=2523

What do you think?  Does it fit your experience in student keyboarding?

Z

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2 comments:

  1. Anonymous11:43 AM

    Dr. Z - I just wonder how much longer it will be necessary to teach keyboarding at all? - Joel Weeks

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  2. Interesting question. I truly believe that we need to teach keyboarding so that we can write without thinking about finding the keys. I think quickly and I type at 70 words per minute so I can flow my ideas onto the screen.

    This doesn't seem possible with iPads or tablets. It isn't touch typing. It is hunt and peck. Some schools have just stopped teaching keyboarding. They don't seem to have too many problems with this. Maybe it is because the students have 1-to-1 access to computers.

    What do you think?

    Z

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