Share this article!

The importance of keyboarding instruction in elementary classrooms is well established. And with a plethora of typing software to introduce students to this vital skill, elementary school teachers can easily implement typing instruction within their classrooms. But how do educators decide which typing software programs will provide the most value to their students? To support, we will outline four attributes of leading solutions.

“NCTE (National Council of Teachers of English) and other respected educational organizations view digital skills such as keyboarding as essential for learners to communicate in the 21st century.”
Matt Renwick, Author & Principal

4 Features of Successful Keyboarding Programs for Students

Choosing the right typing instruction software for students is crucial in shaping students’ proficiency, speed and accuracy in keyboarding. Well-designed typing instruction software not only teaches the basic mechanics of typing but also incorporates engaging and interactive exercises that implement these skills in real-world exercises. Moreover, the right software fosters a positive learning experience, keeping students motivated and focused on improving their typing abilities. 

As typing is a foundational skill for various educational and professional tasks, investing in the appropriate software ensures that students are well-equipped to navigate the digital landscape and meet the demands of the modern workforce.

Below are some of the most important features of a successful keyboarding program for students.

Focused on Typing Technique

Typing instruction should focus first and foremost on student typing technique. If students begin practicing on a keyboard without proper training, they create their own methods of finding the keys to type. Referred to as “hunting and pecking,” this choppy practice results in poor habits that will eventually compromise overall typing abilities. 

Typing is recognized as a motor skill, and training student fingers to respond correctly and quickly can be likened to athletic conditioning in which muscle training uses repetition until habit forms.

Indeed, proper typing technique improves typing accuracy and speed while also cultivating student confidence in their own abilities. The latter is an immeasurable benefit that will carry students as they develop additional digital skills, such as using business applications like Word or PowerPoint.

Gamified for Engaging Practice Opportunities

The science behind gamification in the classroom demonstrates positive outcomes on student learning. Jacqui Murray, who has taught K-8 technology for nearly 20 years, notes that 20 percent of a student’s learning experience should be through gaming, not just drills. According to her findings, “this keeps repetitive drills from getting boring and makes keyboard practice fun.”

To supplement typing drills and make content more relevant, typing software should include game-based design elements to improve student engagement, comprehension and retention.

Designed with the Science of Learning

Educators today understand the science of learning, and that students learn and remember better when they experience lessons through a variety of modes. How can these be reflected in a typing solution?

  • Visual: Animated fingers and color-coded keyboard
  • Verbal: Word banks to provide content based on density (finger region or letter)
  • Auditory: Correct and incorrect verbal cues
  • Kinetic: Touch typing and animated fingers
  • Solitary: Independent practice environment
  • Social: Interactive in-class application exercises
  • Logical: Dashboards to display results

Leveraging the science of learning to create an engaging experience will ensure that students of diverse ages and developmental skills will effectively learn typing skills. 

Adaptive Learning Based on Formative Typing Assessment

Formative assessment in a typing solution provides targeted instruction based on students’ abilities. Specifically, formative typing assessment supports:

  • Adapted learning based on evidence to personalize student learning.
  • Accessible evidence of progress for students to actively manage and adjust their own learning.

When students use feedback from their teachers to learn how to self-assess and set goals, they increase ownership of their own success. Teachers and students collaborate in an ongoing process using assessment information to improve, rather than judge, learning. It all hinges on the assessment’s ability to provide timely, understandable and descriptive feedback to teachers and students.

With the digital nature of typing instruction, typing software allows for continuous assessment of student progress and subsequent guided practice to reinforce proper typing technique and elevate student learning. Students can track their own growth and apply feedback to improve their technique, including typing speed and accuracy.

While students of all abilities and income levels have access to games, phones and electronic devices that require them to point and click or to swipe on a screen, typing instruction still requires diligent classroom practice. Modern tools, adaptive learning resources and individualized teaching materials, coupled with muscle memory training, are integral to equipping students with foundational digital literacy skills.

Final Thoughts

“Students need to know how to use the keyboard to write their essays, reports, and papers, whether they’re submitted through the teacher’s home page or printed out to hand in for their grade. Over the course of one school year alone, students can save hours of typing time by learning to touch type. Without these essential [typing] skills, many students risk falling behind in their classwork, something that will impact their performance throughout their school years and even affect their employability as adults.” — EmergingEdTech

 Learn more about EasyTech’s adaptive keyboarding program by clicking the button below.

This article was originally published in March 2019 and has since been updated for information, relevance and resources. Staff Writers Team

Staff Writers

Founded in 1999, provides educators with solutions to prepare their students with critical digital skills. Our web-based curriculum for grades K-12 engages students as they learn keyboarding, online safety, applied productivity tools, computational thinking, coding and more.

Further Reading