Well said Lucy!!

Clarena

Clarena M. Renfrow, M.Ed.
Educational Technology  Spec. 
ITeachTechnologyNow.com
802-287-1039


On Jun 1, 2014, at 5:54 AM, Annie Brabazon <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

Hi Lucie,
I couldn't agree more with your thoughts about keyboarding. We have been using Type to Learn and I am not sure it is improving skills. I went to Chrome store and there looks to be two typing tutor programs, one from Depaul bookstore  and one from  Heuxa software.  Do you know which one you used?
Thanks
Annie


On Thu, May 29, 2014 at 9:31 AM, Lucie deLaBruere <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
Lots of discussion here
As a former 'typing' teacher who believes that keyboarding 'fluency' is important because it is key to literacy in a digital age,  I'm glad to share some of my observations. Most educators are committed to helping students develop  'fluency'  in writing -  but its hard to reach that level of fluency if your search for the next 'word' in writing fluently is interrupted by your search for the letter 't'.   Once a student can key fluently, their writing skills grow exponentially.  They experience a freedom that has a lifelong impact on their  WRITING and THINKING fluency.  When I started to work with  writing and reading coaches and educators around the concept of  fluency, the conversation moved away from one of keyboarding speed to fluency and everyone got on board. It didn't feel so much like 'taking time' away from academic goals to teach keyboarding. 

From experience I agree with the comments in this list 

  • that there are many approaches that can do more harm than good.  I have found many programs that move too fast too quickly (Mario Teaches Typing had younger students in tears because they wanted to reach 'water world', but the program did not provide enough pedagogically sound scaffolding to get kid there).  Also for some kids the video game mentality (of beating the next level)  was so strong that they never really 'learned' the skills they needed,  they just found anyway they would to reach the next level. (those kids will need extra help and attention from you) 

  • that once a week is NOT enough.  15 minutes a day is also not enough.   But that does not mean that we need to go back to the days of teaching keyboarding using curriculum that was structured for a days of the typewriter or days  prior to 1:1 access.   If you have a learning environment where students are learning in a digital learning environment,  whether it be a 1:1  or one where students do meaningful learning on devices every day,  this can count as 'practice'  and will be much more meaningful than weeks after week of drill work.   However some strategic drill work, can be key to building skills that can help  you succeed in the 'real game'.  Just like in athletics, connecting the drill work to the real game can reduce the amount of time you need to spend on drills, and capitalize on the time you do allocate to drills.   The ratio changes at different points in the process. 
  • I can't recommend the "best" program, since I've stopped looking lately.  When I last left the K-8 classroom we were transitioning from Type to Learn to Typing Tutor.  Found that the 3 'stars' gamification was well designed and offered formative assessment for kids.  The tracking of classroom data helped teachers integrate keyboarding in the classroom, offered formative assessment that the teacher could use to differentiate and scaffold students in ways that met their individual needs.  There were customization options that worked well for educators.  Since it was in the cloud, students could work outside classtime  (after school, tutoring, home) and increase their 'drill time'  to build skills, especially if the educator also build in some strategies that reinforced this.  Parents and tutors could get engaged with the process.  And of course everyone loved the Google Apps integration.  Again  I'm sure there are others out there.. but that is what I liked about Typing Tutor - the last program I spent significant time with. 
  • As much as we'd like to pass this on to an 'automatic' tutor like a keyboarding program,  it is important to remember the power of the human element in learning to keyboard. MODELING -  when kids see their teachers or other kids 'type fast', many of them will also desire to be able to do this.   Praise, reminders, and incentives for keyboarding techniques (not looking at your keys)  that get you over the hurdle come best from a human being - not a program.  If you front load the human element in the initial learning phase (learning the home rows, Shift,  and the initial reaches)  your students will reap the benefit and will be able to move through the rest more independently.   Nothing pays off more in the early stages than walking around the room, helping students adjust their techniques.  Very similar to sports, (helping them adjust their grip or swing). Kids also really like the human touch and will strive for it. They would rather please and get praise from a human than a computer program. 
  • I found that using "typing guards" as a positive challenge 'AFTER' the initial learning of the reaches and home rows increased learning , but it had to be done as a reward, not a punishment.  I would "knight" each student when they got past lesson 5 and had "earned" the right to use use the "expert" tool .  Most could not wait to have the earned this level. 
  • REAL Digital age learning -  If prepping students to be good test takers is your goal (not saying it should be) -  then giving them lots of opportunities to do real learning using digital tools AND helping them use the right technique AS THEY DO  that work is KEY.   Spend a whole week with daily focus on learning the home keys, initial reaches without looking while staying on anchored on home rows, and then expect them to use that technique while they do their daily work.  Of course they will have to "look' for the keys they don't know, but if they stay true to the technique of anchored home room, the muscle memory will kick in and the "looking"  will disappear (especially if you throw in some contest, games, and drills to help them gain their confidence and ability in keyboarding fluency without looking).  Teaching keyboarding should NOT be an isolated skill that belongs to one teacher or special class. 

    Most of these observations come from my recent work in a K-8 school.  In my prior days of teaching high school, the strategies were slightly different since those kids had NOT grown up digital, and I was their introduction to the task -  I'm afraid it might feel 'too late'  to take that on at this late in the game and I'm not sure my old strategies for high school would still work today.

    And of course, there is the whole topic of fluency on a tablet or phone, which is a whole different topic.  Would love to hear more about this topic from those who are in 1:1 with tablets.

    Lucie 




On Thu, May 29, 2014 at 8:32 AM, Rochelle Garfinkel <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
This test has song lyrics (amongst other things) as an option for a quick timed test. http://www.speedtypingonline.com/typing-test
I used it very successfully as an assessment with 7/8 grade. Just had them practice and then take a screenshot of their best effort to submit it to me.



Rochelle Garfinkel, MLS
Librarian & Educational Technologist

Marlboro School
PO Box D
2669 Rte 9
Marlboro, VT 05344



On Wed, May 28, 2014 at 6:13 PM, Joe Bertelloni <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
Hey Thomas

I think song lyrics might create a slippery slope. Might want to avoid. 

Joe 

Sent from my iPhone. I apologize in advance for any unintentional errors.


On Wed, May 28, 2014 at 6:10 PM, Thomas Heller <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

I guess I am lucky, I get 7th graders every other day for half the year.  We spend about 25 min/class on keyboarding. We use http://www.sense-lang.org/typing/

Friday's (one out of 5 classes) we play the typing games but on the other days we do tutorials or they practice with the BBC News. Hard to motivate students enjoy the create your own text. I have them copy from wikipedia, but I said no to song lyrics. Should I say yes?


On Wed, May 28, 2014 at 12:51 PM, Rochelle Garfinkel <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
This is an interesting concept, and I agree with Mark. So many of our models for teaching keyboarding are within the structure of a once per week tech class, which for beginning keyboarders is not going to do much. 

Has anyone developed a different sort of model? I'm thinking about a way in which students can have 15 minutes every day to practice in their main classroom (K-8 school). Then, in tech class they could have the choice of playing some of the games that reinforce their fundamental skills, and/or work on actually typing up projects that they are working on in class.

If anyone has successfully created a model like this, please share details!




Rochelle Garfinkel, MLS
Librarian & Educational Technologist

Marlboro School
PO Box D
2669 Rte 9
Marlboro, VT 05344



On Wed, May 28, 2014 at 12:38 PM, Mark Kline <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
This is something that I've found with keyboarding programs. There are some that are "fun" and "exciting" due to lots of graphics and gee-gaws. That doesn't necessarily improve learning, though. In addition, I've found that many move the kids ahead too fast, so that they become overwhelmed with trying to build new knowledge on top of a shaky foundation (because they haven't had enough repetition). While teaching, I often had students who asked if they could be "backed up" a bit in their progression through the program. They then felt more successful and could strengthen the foundation so that new lessons went better rather than just being frustrating.

Think about when we "old-timers" learned typing. It was generally a full class period every day for months. I don't mean that the drill-and-kill was necessarily good, but the repetition was important. I'm not convinced that 15 minutes once or twice a week, without many reminders about things that need correcting, really does much more than develop worse habits.

Learning keyboarding is like becoming good at dribbling and shooting a basketball or hockey puck -- it takes a LOT of repetition. Helping students to march forward doesn't involve fun as much as motivation to improve. In sports that is not so hard -- you get better so that you and your team do better in games. With keyboarding teachers can sometimes find ways to help students perserve through the tough times until they start to see the benefits of being able to "think with their fingers."

Forgive my rambling,

/\/\ ark



Mark Kline, M.Ed.
Technology Coordinator
Waterbury-Duxbury School District, Vermont


On Wed, May 28, 2014 at 10:47 AM, Bob Wickberg <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
We've used a program called Ainsworth Typing Tutor at both the High School
and Middle School for years.  A couple of years ago one of the middle
school tech ed teacher bought, and we helped set up, Type to Learn, he
said the kids would like it better because it had better games.  But when
I talked to him a few months later, he said he went back to using
Ainsworth, because the kids learned faster.  So, Ainsworth isn't the
sexiest thing out there, but it does seem to do the job.  It's not free,
but we bought it so long ago (I've been here 10 years, and it was here
before me, and it's never been upgraded), I couldn't tell you what it
cost.  I think we've gotten our money's worth, though!

Bob Wickberg
Technology Coordinator
Brattleboro Union High School District # 6
802-451-3418



School Information Technology Discussion <[log in to unmask]> writes:
>Typing Web and Typing Tutor are both free for home use and can use
>existing Google Apps accounts (but don't need them).  Both come well
>reviewed.
>
>School Information Technology Discussion <[log in to unmask]> writes:
>>Hi all,
>>
>>
>>A parent of an incoming 9th grader would like to have their child
>>practice keyboarding over the summer. Any recommendations for
>>age-appropriate keyboarding programs -- either online or purchased
>>software?
>>
>>
>>Thanks,
>>Sue
>
>
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--
Tom Heller - Tech and Web @ VUHS
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Windows Cleaner, Ubuntu User.

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--
Lucie deLaBruere
www.LearningWithLucie.com
http://twitter.com/techsavvygirl

Google Voice (802) 557 0013

[log in to unmask]

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Nothing is really work unless you would rather be doing something else.
  - James M. Barrie
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