I have lost the battle to resist the urge to participate in this discussion.

It is time to stop looking to the past as we identify the skills kids need.

The myth of touch typing.
1. Many people took typing in highschool in "my day." Only a few became
expert typists. Just because you are taught doesn't mean you learn or
become expert.
2. Many people did not take a typing course is school and because they
needed it on the job became adequate to exceptional typists with or without
knowledge of the qwerty finger positions. Think journalists and computer
3. Qwerty has been proven to be an inefficient keyboard.

Here's what I learned as a former keyboarding teaching turned tech
integrationist turned learning designer.

1. Providing guided instruction in how to use a specific keyboard is very
helpful for children when they are first using a computing device. But
letter to key recognition is the main goal not touch typing.

2. If an organized effort to teach "touch typing" is deemed necessary:

   - As Lucie says, the teacher must be actively involved, observing,
   supporting, encouraging, guiding, applauding, making it positive.
   - Teacher involvement should never be punitive.
   - Understand that not all people / children will be good at touch
   typing. Kids who have trouble with other kinds of focus or fine motor
   control are probably going to need to look at the keys or use different
   fingering. That's ok. Journalists and computer programmers have done quite
   well over the years with the so called hunt and peck method.
   - it is pointless to teach touch typing unless the student has frequent
   opportunities AND need for practice. This should not be the only time they
   use a computer at school. The motivation to become fast and efficient comes
   from *need*.

3. Do we really need to teach touch typing and the querty keyboard? Is
there any research that our efforts to teach typing have improved students
success? How many teenagers do you know who needed a course to learn to
text with their thumbs? Have *you* ever split the keyboard on your iPad and
used your thumbs to type - it is pretty fast once you get the hang of it.
Have *you* ever used the microphone to do google searches? How many
different keyboard layouts have you seen on phones? Our kids need to be
able to adapt to multiple interfaces and input mechanisms. They do not need
to be fast and efficient typists in a secretarial pool.

If you want to change a child's relationship to working on a computer,
teach them to program.


Jane Wilde
Geek, learner, teacher, trainer
Faculty, Marlboro College Graduate School
Doctoral student, University at Albany
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