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The importance of keyboarding skills for children using computers

1 December 1992


This paper takes a critical look at the way elementary students enter information into computers. "Keyboarding", the act of striking keys on a computer keyboard, is likened to typing on a typewriter. There are major differences in machines, however, and in who is using them and why. At one time, secondary students took typing classes to prepare for a business environment. Now, elementary students are learning keyboarding to prepare to run programs in math, language arts, in fact, all areas of the curriculum. These differences mean taking a new look at how keyboarding skills are taught.

Arguments for teaching keyboarding skills run the gamut from efficient use of computer time to formation of good habits to reducing student frustration. Arguments against include allowing for creative thought formation to lack of time within the curriculum. Some researchers suggest giving formal typing instruction to students as young as kindergarten with anticipated typing speeds of twenty words per minute. Others suggest that students need not type faster than they can write, or, for that matter, think. For elementary teachers worried a.bout teaching keyboarding, software tutorials have been developed . with the younger student in mind. My observations show students practicing keyboarding on their own time, some surpassing set. goals. Follow-up by teachers and students is often lacking, however. We need to re-think the importance of keyboarding in the classroom.


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