Computer Lab Chicken Dance- AKA Hunt and Peck

“Nieman (1996) voiced the opinion that if students are to function productively in our computer driven society they must be trained very early in proper keyboarding techniques.”

I know many of us have wandered into a lab when students are typing up an assignment or entering a URL into a browser.  If we broke out a timer are our students typing ten words a minute, or are they hunting and pecking or “chicken dancing” on the keyboard (as I call it)?  How are students able to focus on higher levels of Bloom’s Digital Taxonomy when they are so very focused on finding keys on a keyboard? 

If we want students to function at the highest levels of integration, application and creation, then we need to make sure that keyboarding skills aren’t impeding our students’ ability to think about the intended purpose of the assignment.  “Times have changed. Schools can no longer prepare students for the workplace of the future without providing them with skills necessary for using computers competently. One of those necessary skills is, of course, keyboarding.(Starr 2005)  How can we possibly teach students in the lower elementary to keyboard properly when we only get into the labs every 6 days for a half hour?  This is a good question I’ve heard several times.  I don’t pretend to have the magic solution to pull out of my hat either. 

Laurie Patterson a K-12 technology specialist in Massachusettes takes this stance, “It’s just like drilling math facts. You might teach addition facts in second grade and even drill them into the students each day. But by the time they get to third grade, you are no longer drilling students on addition facts. They are expected to know those facts and use them during math. The same is true for keyboarding. Students should learn the proper form (with drill) in third grade; they should be expected to be able to use those skills in fourth and fifth grade.”

Without a period to teach keyboarding skills, how can we teach our students to use two hands on the keyboard, use shortcuts, and proper posture when using the computer?  Until there is a technology curriculum developed for grades K-12 with progressive introduction and development of computer skills, teachers need to offer students exposure to keyboarding basics and model proper techniques as much as possible (which may be hard because most teachers went through school in the days of an optional typewriting course offered at the high school level and may not have partaken in that class at all).  My suggestion at this point is to send practice sites home to parents so they can allow their students to practice at home.  The video below was submitted by mrflickinger on YouTube.

Here are some suggested practice sites for student to learn keyboarding:

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About bulldogtechteach

I am a technology integrator serving in a k-1 and a 2-5 elementary building. I firmly believe in the power of technology to engage students and allow them to create and master their learning.
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