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Keyboarding is Fundamental to Success in a Digital World

by | Jun 6, 2017 | News

A few years ago, while observing a class of frustrated high school freshmen and their language arts teacher attempt to compose a short research paper using a word processing program, I realized that keyboarding is a critical skill. Despite being “digital natives,” these students lacked the keyboarding skills necessary to type faster than they could write by hand. Everyone was frustrated, and instead of using their keyboarding skills to facilitate writing, the students and teacher chose to return to traditional pen and paper.

Turns out, I had assumed students were picking up keyboarding skills before they entered high school either through self-teaching or through teacher-taught instruction in elementary or middle school. I was wrong: most students have no previous keyboarding instruction whatsoever from any source.

Since that frustrating day, I’ve had the opportunity to continue to work with and learn from educators around the U.S. to understand their digital literacy and keyboarding programs and research. Often, they’re trying to solve some version of the same keyboarding issue I experienced in that language arts classroom. I’ve learned that, generally, students who are accurate and proficient keyboarders tend to:

  • Demonstrate increased efficiency in using keyboards as writing, editing, and computing tools
  • Are better prepared to show proficiency on online assessments like PARCC or Smarter Balanced since they can effectively use a mouse, keyboard, and word processor to produce text and ideas
  • Have increased achievement in language arts and writing
  • Show improved idea creation, thoughtfulness, motivation and integration of keyboarding with all subject areas

Does your school or district have a strategy to prepare students to have foundational keyboarding skills? Does it include a consistent, coherent curriculum delivered by teachers who understand how to teach keyboarding?

Getting started can be challenging, but you can begin by providing a comprehensive, standards-aligned digital keyboarding curriculum that helps students build foundational keyboarding, word processing and broader digital literacy skills. Preferably, the keyboarding curriculum should be interactive and engaging, and delivered via multiple types of internet-connected devices. Make sure the curriculum includes progress monitoring tools and reports to track student keyboard growth in accuracy and word-per-minute rates over time and adjust content to meet student strengths and gaps.

Keyboarding is a fundamental skill. You can help your students succeed in school and in an ever-increasingly digital world by implementing a keyboarding program built upon an understanding of the benefits of keyboarding, best practice, and sound instructional design.

To learn more about our keyboarding curriculum, including our new Adaptive Keyboarding application, click here.

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