Monday, April 08, 2019

Knowing How to Keyboard Is IMPORTANT!!!!! . . . especially on State Tests!!!!!!

Keyboarding is IMPORTANT!!!!

Photo of an illuminated keyboard
Photo by Yingchih Hao on Unsplash
I remember taking keyboarding in 7th grade and then again in 10th grade (slow learner).  I learned to type at about 40 wpm.  It is a skill that has been incredibly useful through my life of high school, college, doctoral studies, and into the rest of my life.  

If I have ideas, I can easily express them as my fingertips blaze the keys on my MacBook Air.  I don't have to think about it.  I just think of the words that I want to write and my fingers click out those words without me even thinking about it.   My attention is on the words, NOT the keyboarding.

Keyboarding in Schools
Unfortunately, a number of schools have decided not to teach keyboarding. They figure that students are learning how to keyboard by themselves so they don't need to know how to hit the keys automatically.  This means that they don't learn the placement of the keys on the keyboard and they have to really think about which keys to hit to enter the letters they want.

Iowa schools are in the process of completing the Iowa Statewide Assessment of Student Progress (ISASP).  These are tests that range from 3rd - 11th grade in Reading, Language and Writing, Mathematics, and Science.  (There is more to the specifics.  You can learn more about it at the ISASP link above.)

Students will be expected to exhibit their writing using a computer.  I don't know how they are divided, but they will be allotted 120 minutes to complete the Language/Writing test. Students will be expected to write their stories/essays on their computer.  This means that they need to organize their thoughts and then tap the proper keys to create words on the screen. 
Students who type less than 15 Words Per Minute (WPM) will have a problem. (15 WPM is 75 letters which is a little faster than 1 key per second.) . Unfortunately, they will spend more time worrying about tapping the keys than creatively (and correctly) expressing themselves. This is a problem!!!


Research-Based Keyboarding Instruction for the 21st Century
A few years ago, Sunburst Digital found my blog - Keyboarding Research and contacted me about working with them on developing their Type 2 Learn program.  This has been a successful tool for teaching typing but they wanted to enforce it through a research approach.  They hired me to consult with them on refining their program and then writing a white paper about the best ways to teach keyboarding so that they could share this with their customers and highlight how Type 2 Learn followed these findings.

More recently, Sunburst Digital asked me to update the research.  They shared it on their website, but I have had educators ask me about this research so I decided to share it on my blog.  You will notice that Type 2 Learn is emphasized throughout.  It is a wonderful program, but if you don't use Type 2 Learn, the research can still be valuable.   I hope that it can inform how you and your schools are addressing this necessary skill.

(Click on the document to enlarge it. Click on the link below to access the .pdf)

Research-Based Keyboarding Instruction for the 21st Century - Zeitz by Leigh Zeitz on Scribd

I will be interested to see how the writing scores fare in Iowa this year.  I hope that I will be able to make another posting in the future to say that the Iowa writing scores are in great shape, but I don't count on it.

I look forward to hearing from you about your experiences and opinions on this so leave some comments about how keyboarding is handled in your schools.