I suspect this may be a contentious topic as it’s bound to be one you either completely agree or disagree with. Last week, all students from Grade 3 – 6 at my school completed a typing test and this week, we’ve been throwing ourselves into keyboarding practise. I know it seems old fashioned but I still see it as a central and vital skill. While I have no doubt that voice recognition software (or thought wave pattern recognition software for that matter) will improve before my Preps hit University, it is still a skill that it useful to them right now and, therefore, is something that is useful to teach. There is nothing more frustrating than watching a student in your grade hunting and pecking for letters to ‘publish’ their masterpiece. As I said to them when introducing the keyboarding lesson, I want it to be as automatic for them as forming letters with a pencil, so they have more brainpower to decide the content of their work and less for the mundane act of getting it on paper/screen.
Having said all that, how am I doing it? I’m using a couple of favourites of mine which, luckily, are favourites of most of the students too. BBC typing (or, as it has come to be known in my classroom, ‘the scottish goat’) is a great website aimed at younger students but which equally appeals to my Grade 6s who aren’t ready to play grown up yet. Tux typing is part of the Edustar image (if you’re in a Victorian Government school) or can be downloaded free from their website. This appeals as it has both lessons and games which I use from Prep up to help them with letter and keyboard recognition.
So far, students have reacted pretty positively to my chosen focus. They are highly motivated to improve their skills and I appear to have sold to them good enough reasons for doing so. I shall keep you posted on their progress 🙂