Summer Google Basics Series – Part 1, Building Keyboarding Awareness For Our Students, Video Sample Included!
If we are truly taking on the task of “Fighting the Tech as a Toy Mindset”, then we need to set up purposeful, structured and scaffolded experiences that build confidence and cultivate developmentally appropriate digital skills that motivate our Little Techies to spend their screen-time doing purposeful activities instead of always choosing “Brain-Numbing Games”. Yeah, you know those kids! The ones that think you don’t see them trying to get on YouTube when your back is turned.
Now, I want to be very clear, I am all for allowing explore and “Sandbox” time with a random splash of “Just For Fun” activities but as we discussed in my last post, “Fighting The Tech As A Toy Mindset” we have a generation that is addicted to gaming for the sake of avoiding healthy experiences that develop useful life skills for our younger students. They need us to provide healthy boundaries and meaningful experiences to best facilitate 21st Century Learning. I have seen the effects of “Gaming” addictions first-hand in my classroom and in my own family. I believe this is an important issue in our schools and in our homes, worthy of careful planning and attention.
Think about what our kids see us doing for hours at a time? They see us typing on our computers and texting on our Smartphones. So, first things first, our kids wonder what buttons we are pushing and what do they do? Enter Keyboarding!
Why Teach Kids Keyboard Awareness?
- Homework Completed Quickly
- More Free Time
- Most Careers Will Require It
- Efficient Communication With Others
- Builds Confidence In Any Digital Task
- Improve Scores for Digital Tests
- Increased Efficiency Researching Online
Many experts agree that our elementary students do not need to spend a great deal of class time completing those “Skill & Drill” timed keyboarding lessons to improve their keyboarding skills. Voice Typing is a great option for our emergent writers, however, the reality is that our students need to have efficient keyboarding habits to communicate in practical ways. In my district, we found this to be true. We do not use our valuable class time for keyboarding/typing speed test anymore. We have found that kids just need exposure and functional skills to build upon as they learn to navigate digital tasks.
According to Dr. Leigh Zeitz, “Keyboarding is the penmanship of the computer age.” (Johnson, Nelson and Townsend, 2002). As a fundamental skill in today’s society, keyboarding provides our connection with the rest of the world through electronic communication. Students who become efficient keyboarders “compose better, are prouder of their work, produce documents with a neater appearance, and have better motivation.” (Nieman, 1996).
What Are the Keyboarding Standards?
According to ISTE Standards, ~ International Society For Technology in Education
3rd– 6th: Students use critical thinking skills to gather and evaluate information, complete assignments, solve problems, and make informed decisions using digital tools and resources appropriately.
K – 2nd: Students will demonstrate pre-keyboarding skills.
3rd: Students will demonstrate correct keyboarding technique.
4th: Students will demonstrate correct keyboarding technique while increasing speed and maintaining accuracy at a minimum of 20 words per minute.
5th: Students will demonstrate correct keyboarding technique while increasing speed and maintaining accuracy at a minimum of 24 words per minute.
6th: Students will demonstrate correct keyboarding technique while increasing speed and maintaining accuracy at a minimum of 27 words per minute
Mastering keyboarding requires more than just learning the locations of keys. The focus should also be on specific keyboarding techniques which involves the positioning and action of the body and fingers as the student is keyboarding. Students need models of keyboarders that display good posture and hand placement as they type. Without direct instruction, students will resort to their own methods and develop “Bad Habits” which inhibit keyboarding efficiency later in life. See the video below showing a student of mine that has practiced for about one year, two-three times a week for about 10-15 minutes on average. I show this to my students on Day 1 so they can have an idea of what keyboarding really looks like for a beginner.
What Does Keyboard Competency Look Like?
The video below shows one of my students, Alex, a 3rd Grader with 1 Year of practice. His Words Per Minute is 24 with 96% Accuracy.
In Ohio, Tech Standards aim for a range from 15-20 WPM (Words Per Minute) & 80-95% Accuracy for 4th Graders.
It is my opinion that Kindergarten/1st Grade students will need to begin with basic knowledge of the keys and their functions on their keyboard, understanding that Chromebook keyboards have a few different keys. Of course, this will vary depending upon device availability.
Logging In To Get Started
Many kids have trouble logging in to their Google account at first. I have colored tape on my Chromebook keyboards to help kids find the colored row first, then look for the letter. I got this idea from Christine Pinto, author of Google Apps For Littles: Believe They Can
John Sowash, the author of the Chromebook Classroom, has many great ideas to get kids started, as well. He suggests a “Login Challenge” and Keeping time on board to try to get to 2 minutes for everyone. John also suggests using Clever QR Code for about $.05 per student per month
Day 1 Skills:
1. Introduce the Keys, Specifically the Home Row Keys
* I only play the first 1:14 of this video below which I cut off at this time in my own slides when teaching my classes.
Next is a fun video I use for my K-2 students- “Keyboard Kids” Video. Warning ~ The lyrics repeat and will get stuck in your head! It does a good job explaining the basic keys- Enter, Space Bar, Delete/Back Space, Arrow and Escape Keys.
2. Keyboard Posture
3. Logging in and Bookmarking Typing.com
Videos that will be in my Slides (See Basic Keyboarding For Kids” Info Below) to help you get started-
Click Here to learn Features,
Click Here To Set Up Your Class
Click Here to show kids how to Login.
4. Troubleshooting if their screen is frozen,(Which Does Happen- Click “Refresh”)
5. Log out Procedures
6. End with Talking about how accuracy is more important than speed
* Because what good is speed if it is all wrong!
(*All of this information will be available on my slides at the end of this mini-series- “Basic Keyboarding For Kids”. See below for more details.)
Keyboarding is just one of the digital basics that facilitate 21st Century competencies for elementary students so, I think it is important to stick to the basic skills necessary when students are beginning to learn how to use their devices and set a foundation for success to then work in G Suite apps. The true artistry in this process is balancing great basic content with efficient use allowing our students to be truly independent, feeling the power that their own drive to learn will provide. I am constantly in awe of those kids that have a natural talent for navigating their devices. They certainly teach me things that I would never have had the time or creativity to explore. This is proof that “Sandboxing” especially using the recently learned tool is extremely valuable and should be a part of most of our digital lessons.
Purchase The Complete Set of Slides ~ Coming Soon!
At the end of this mini-series, I will offer you my complete set of Basic Keyboarding Slides for $9.95 (Still in Progress) from this series to teach your kids how to begin keyboarding basics. My Slides break procedures down lessons into bite-sized pieces, offering you kid-friendly language and all the videos, links and images you see throughout this series so that you may easily use the slides in your classroom. My next post will show you how to set up your teacher Typing.com Dashboard and go into the next few lessons. My favorite feature of Typing.com is the data collection and the use of a class scoreboard to keep the kids motivated.
My New Fall Series will include– Google Search Basics for Kids, Chromebook Webcam Creations, and Creating Comics with Toys!
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