The Status of Elementary Keyboarding - A Longitudinal Study
Jody Laehn, Anne Lang, Deb O’Leary and Mary
study conducted in May 2003 to determine if the number of school districts
that offered keyboarding instruction at the elementary level has increased
since more elementary children use the computer as a writing tool.
The purpose of the study was to determine the status of elementary
keyboarding in the State of Wisconsin.
as early as 1932 found that elementary children who typed their work
achieved greater gains in all subjects than those who did not type
their work (Hoot, 1986)
was also found to be highly motivating and led to more positive attitudes
toward spelling (Anderson-Inman, 1990)
is now as important as penmanship, yet many students learn the keyboard
without guidance, waste limited compute time, and develop habits that
may be difficult to change.
have documented the value of children learning touch keyboarding (McKay,
1998; Owston, 1997; Bartholome, 1996;
Nieman, 1996; Hoot, 1986) Rogers (2003) lists the following benefits for
children who are introduced to the touch method of keyboarding:
- Improvement in language arts – reading,
spelling, and writing ability.
- Improvement in efficiency in using the
computer as a writing, editing and computing tool, thereby maximising
- Improvement in attitude toward writing
– less frustration in looking for keys rather than entering information.
- Improvement in proper keyboarding techniques
and use of the computer, thereby eliminating the formation of bad
keyboarding habits for later word processing and computer allocation.
- Improvement in motivating all students
toward doing homework.
- Improvement in creative thought.
- Improvement in integrating keyboarding
with all subject areas.
- Improvement in preparing all students
for a technological society.
general consensus is that age 8 or 9 in grade 3 or 4 are the ideal
ages to be taught keyboarding skills because children at this age
possess the necessary fine motor skills, eye-hand co-ordination, and
reading ability to succeed in keyboarding. (Erthal, 1998)
studies indicate that keyboard learning shoulod
be taught prior to using the computer, especially since students need
formal instruction to acquire keyboarding skills using the touch system
(PCBEE, 1997; Nieman, 1996; Prigge and Braathen, 1993)
the findings of the study were:
software was preferred over textbooks.
classroom teachers are the primary instructors in teaching keyboarding
of keyboarding instruction was considered important as one the touch
method was introduced that the skills be reinforced at every grade
level following the introduction.
processing was integrated most with language, arts and social skills.
with usable keyboarding skills concentrate won they are typing and
not where the keys are.
indicate a dramatic increase in language skills as a result of children
inputting words and sentences frequently using a computer. Keyboarding
and language arts are a dynamic duo. Keyboarding should be integrated
with language arts and other subject areas, such as social studies
The Spacing Effect
One of the
primary psychological principles of learning is that distributed practise
is better than massed practice. That is, practice for several short
periods of time is better than practice over a single but equal long
period of time. An example of this principal is learning to play the
piano. Practising the piano for a half-hour each day for six days
is better than practising for a three-hour block one time in six days.
In other words the practise is distributed or spaced. ((Bartholome
and LaBonty, 1994)
shows that children with keying skills are able to compose faster,
are prouder of their work, produce documents with a neater appearance,
have better motivation, and demonstrate improved language skills (Nieman,
skill directly influences productivity in reading language, arts and
jobs require effective keyboarding skills. (Nadine Bunnell,
Keyboarding Specialist, Utah
who used to find “hunt and peck” keyboarding sufficient realise that
it doesn’t make much sense to have a computer with lightning speed
if the information inputted into the machine trickles in like molasses
in January. (Sandberg-Diment, 1984)
recommended that keyboarding first be taught as a concentrated unit
in the third grade and reviewed in each succeeding grade to allow
students to achieve a high degree of proficiency.
is a cumulative skill – what can be effectively learned at one level
depends heavily upon what has been learned earlier. If hunt and peck
habits become ingrained, it becomes much more difficult to develop
a competent skill. You need that basic foundation early on. (Desert
News, April 5, 1999)
most kids and adults can learnt to hunt and peck on their won, real
typing speed depends on Proper Technique (Michael J Himowitz,
“Typequick has been developed in conjunction with experienced educators
to produce an award winning keyboard training package. I recommend Typequick to students and organisations
who seriously want to acquire keyboard skills.”
Reitaku University, Japan
What are keyboard skills?
- An automatic
skill or sub-conscious skill
- All ten fingers
- Fast and accurate
entry of characters onto the computer screen
- Without looking
down at the keyboard
- Without searching
Why are keyboard skills so important?
in today’s digital age
- 90% of business
documents are electronic
- Lack of formal
- Increased confidence in software use
- Ideas can be recorded at 3-5 times the
rate of handwriting
- Reduces time spent at PCs
- Increased job prospects