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When and how to PS kids learn to type?

post #1 of 26
Thread Starter 

I started another thread about helping my DC with her homework and it occurred to me that I just have no idea what the expectations are for how and when a student learns to type. DC is in the 6th grade and they use the computer a lot for both in-school and home work. DC can't type so the amount of time spent searching for keys an two finger typing must just suck up so much valuable learning time. It's to the point that I will occasionally type things for DC so she can think freely and creatively without being slowed down searching for the "v" or whatever. Additionally, DC is using programs like Publisher and Powerpoint (student group work driven, not required by the teacher) and she just does not have any idea how to use them...and fumbles along, again, sucking up time formatting that could/should be used learning the material, IMO. DC did transfer from another school so I wonder if maybe she missed something in the switch?  Or, are schools out of sync with using technology as a tool/resource before learning to actually USE it properly?  

post #2 of 26

For my son typing instruction happened a couple times a week starting in 3rd or 4th grade. However, there is also a typing class my son is required to take this year in 6th, my son won't take it until second semester, but a lot of his friends are taking it now. His classmates who also had it in elementary are finding it kinda boring, so I'm not sure what level they are teaching at or if all the elementary schools had technology (typing) class or not. 

 

This is the first year in a much more digital environment using lots of new tools and software. His school is working towards going paperless. So that does mean that there are technology mishaps. There have been quizzes that won't load because the internet was down and teachers just rolled with it and adjusted. My son had one assignment that he spent the whole class period on only to be unable to figure out how to save at the end. He ended up deciding to redo it in a program he was more familiar with. There are distinct advantages to using these programs and teaching with these technologies, but yes there are also distinct disadvantages. However, the teachers typically expect that there will be a certain learning curve with the technology the kids are using as well as the content they are demonstrating and learning. In today's world digital literacy is something important for our kids to learn as well as other content. It can be hard to find that balance between content and presentation. But my guess would be that the teacher isn't going to expect something most of the kids can't produce.

post #3 of 26
Thread Starter 

Ok, so your child has had some typing and computer use in middle-late elementary. That makes me feel a bit better about possible reasons for why some of the technology expectations for DC seem so...., well, a subject on their own. Maybe we can carve out some time for DC to learn to type. 

post #4 of 26

There are several free and cheap programs on the internet to teach typing. My daughter who is 12 learned in technology class, but she refined her skills by her prolific emailing to her friends. ;-)

post #5 of 26

Even though my son had typing in late elementary none of it seemed to stick until he started typing regularly. For a matter of fact he's still getting the hang of things like automatically hitting the shift key after a period. He did some typing games before starting it in school and, as I said, he had a few years in elementary. Basically, I needed to create a reason for him to type. For my son it was allowing him to get a Google+ account. I know he's technically too young for an account, but I monitor it closely and it helped his typing take off. 

post #6 of 26
At my kids' school, although the kids have computer lab once a week, there doesn't seem to be much typing instruction going on. We use the (free) website Dance Mat Typing at home -- I have my 4th grader do 10-15 minutes 3 times a week for practice, and the program takes him up through the levels.

Our school has done away with the traditional multiple choice standardized test (STAR testing) and is piloting a computer-based, short-answer-style test, so slow typing skills will severely slow down students even if they know the material. That's my motivation for reinforcing typing skills at home, but of course not all families can/will do this, so I think if the school is going to switch to this sort of test, then keyboarding should really be pushed in computer lab.

Several of us moms brought up that point to our principal at the last PTA board meeting, and he gave some vague answers about buying a keyboarding program for the new computers in the lab, but he didn't give concrete plan for implementing keyboarding instruction. It's frustrating.
post #7 of 26

no help in elementary school. they were supposed to know how to do it. but they were given the choice to either type it or write it.

 

first typing class here in MS is in 7th grade in technology class. 

post #8 of 26

I replied on your other thread, but I had my kids do BBC's Dance Mat, http://www.bbc.co.uk/schools/typing/  , too for 5-10 min every day after school. It's cute with little animals that talk to you. No discreet typing instruction in school that I am aware of. They do have a mini tech lab and computers in the classroom in dd2's elementary school.

 

Dd1 just jumped into Power Point last year as a 6th grader. At her school (charter middle + high school) they do most of their work on Google Drive.  She just recently did a collaborative group presentation with Google's presentation software. I don't know a thing about it. She's knows how to use Power Point better than I do, too.  

 

We have always given our kids a fair amount of computer time  (but we do have parental controls and the computer will log them out after a set time period). They've always  liked to play games on the computer (My Little Pony, Webkinz, Disney) and now Minecraft for dd1 and I think that has given them a certain amount of familiarity that has helped with the learning curves for various software. Dd1 sometimes overestimates her abilities, but she really does pretty well. She also likes to shoot videos of her Little Pets or My Little Ponies and edits them in iMovie. I think all of that has helped with allowing her to be more comfortable with typing papers, doing presentations, etc.

 

Dd2 (9, almost 10 and in 4th grade) is gifted in writing and has been typing up her own books and stories on the computer for a couple of years now. She's pretty fast, but I need to encourage her to use two hands. I need to get her back on Dance Mat. I don't think she has completed it quite yet. I don't care if they're 100 words per minute typists, but if I could get them up to 30 or 40 words I'd be happy and I think that would help them to get their thoughts out w/o becoming belabored by the process of typing itself.


Edited by beanma - 10/24/13 at 11:17am
post #9 of 26

My DD was taught keyboarding in school starting in 3rd grade. They each had these little word processor type things. She wasn't fast in middle school but competent. By high school she was pretty fast. Starting 2nd grade, DS did almost all his homework online. By 3rd, the kids were power point pros. By the time he got to lengthy papers, he was a good typist.

post #10 of 26

DH is an elementary level computer teacher at a private school. He starts his kids on typing late first grade/early or mid second grade depending on the group of kids. He does publisher and other office programs starting in late 3rd and into 4th grade. Teaches html in 5th grade.

post #11 of 26
DS uses Dance Mat at school and if we ever get a regular computer, I'll have both kids start doing it at home.
post #12 of 26

I actually wish dd's teachers would let her type more of her papers. It's easier for her to type on her computer than it is to write things out by hand (just as it's easier for me now), plus Microsoft Word checks spelling. She has periodically gotten some typing practice with a Mavis Beacon computer program dh got her, plus it's gotten super easy for her since she got a Facebook account last April when she turned 13, and with that she got totally into chatting and stuff.

 

She was homeschooled up to now, and just started public school in the 8th grade, and her language arts teacher wants all their papers written out by hand so they don't have the computer helping with spelling, grammar, and so on. I guess it's good for her to build her writing skills, but it will be so nice for her when she can type all that.

post #13 of 26

So speaking from my personal experience, coming of age in the 90's and learning to type on my own (it was not a taught in school thing, for me).  I think I played some freeware typing, type games where I learned the basic hand positions, and then lots of practice (writing papers, instant messaging, sending emails, etc) and at some point I realized I was touch typing and I was reasonably fast.  It was a pretty organic thing.  I probably wouldn't worry about it too terribly much, or I would offer some of the typing games people have suggested, as an activity.  It is very likely that typing will not be the input method of choice by the time our kids are older anyway, technology moves so fast, and right now speech to text technology is improving continuously, and devices that use traditional keyboards are falling out of favor.  Kids who are immersed in and exposed to technology learn it intuitively, without much formal instruction, from what I have seen.

post #14 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by mammal_mama View Post
 

I actually wish dd's teachers would let her type more of her papers. It's easier for her to type on her computer than it is to write things out by hand (just as it's easier for me now), plus Microsoft Word checks spelling. She has periodically gotten some typing practice with a Mavis Beacon computer program dh got her, plus it's gotten super easy for her since she got a Facebook account last April when she turned 13, and with that she got totally into chatting and stuff.

 

She was homeschooled up to now, and just started public school in the 8th grade, and her language arts teacher wants all their papers written out by hand so they don't have the computer helping with spelling, grammar, and so on. I guess it's good for her to build her writing skills, but it will be so nice for her when she can type all that.

 

Make sure she understand that Word may spell-check, but even their grammar check does not check for context. So she should not rely on it completely. 

post #15 of 26
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by CourtBChase View Post
 

It was a pretty organic thing.  I probably wouldn't worry about it too terribly much, or I would offer some of the typing games people have suggested, as an activity.  It is very likely that typing will not be the input method of choice by the time our kids are older anyway, technology moves so fast, and right now speech to text technology is improving continuously, and devices that use traditional keyboards are falling out of favor.  Kids who are immersed in and exposed to technology learn it intuitively, without much formal instruction, from what I have seen.

Well, my DC is currently typing. I do think technology moves fast but the speech to text thing has been talked about for a long while. I think there's more to catch up with than the technology -- but how we think. I'm skeptical of the speech to text thing having any sort of real traction before my DC is out of grade school. 

 

Update: 

 

DC is moving through some software programs faster than I expected. She picked up Photoshop WAY fast. I was amazed. But typing is a skill different from general comfort of computer programs and that doesn't seem to be improving on its own. I think we'll do some sort of program in the summer when there's more free time. 

post #16 of 26
Thread Starter 

Also, I suppose I am a bit irritated that our city hasn't unified the expectations for technology - like they do every darn other thing. It seems one of the more important things to have scheduled out pretty chronologically. I'm curious to know what's in the works for that. With Common Core? 

post #17 of 26

I feel your irritation. Our kids were not taught cursive writing in elementary and then some teachers in middle school expected it. I had printed out some cursive sheets from the Internet because they wanted to learn. It worked out OK, but I was irked by the disconnect.

 

My kids have not had any formal typing class that I know of. We let them use computers at home. They play online games minimally, check e-mail, and make and edit movies with their friends. One DD is now in an advanced media arts class, so she accesses tutorials for techniques and things like that, too.

 

They started typing some assignments in elementary as well as learning PowerPoint. In middle school, they have to type a lot more. I also think it's organic. I never learned officially and now touch type at about 80 wpm just through doing it...a lot.. for my job.

post #18 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by IdentityCrisisMama View Post
 

Also, I suppose I am a bit irritated that our city hasn't unified the expectations for technology - like they do every darn other thing. It seems one of the more important things to have scheduled out pretty chronologically. I'm curious to know what's in the works for that. With Common Core? 

 

you know, I think it would be really difficult to unify expectations for technology. My province had a unified "infotech curriculum" for high school and the target was always moving faster than the weaponry, kwim? By the time the educrats had pushed their lists of expectations through the pipeline of their own bureaucracy, a process that took a couple of years at the very least, the technology had changed so much that their lists of learning outcomes were laughable. They applied to software that was obsolete, and skills that many 8- or 10-year-olds had naturally become proficient in. Also, even at a fixed point in time, kids' experiences and competencies vary so much: it's like dealing with a classroom of kids, with half of them in the PG range. Our local school is offering a week-long immersion elective in digital media and film editing next month. For some of the kids the learning will be along the lines of learning simple editing commands in iMovie, or figuring out how to duplicate frames to slow down an animation sequence, or figuring out how to export a movie in a different file format. They encouraged my ds to take part because he's into computers and digital media, but I was at the school yesterday when they were discussing it, and it quickly became clear that he is far more of an experienced expert than the teacher, having done CGI and machinima for years using a huge variety of tools and tricks. They ended up asking him to come in as a "guest speaker," lol! My 10-year-old can type like a maniac and do some pretty advanced desktop publishing: putting her in a keyboarding class for 20 minutes three times a week in order to develop her basic word processing competency would be totally meaningless to her, and a complete waste of her time. At the same time I realize that there are other 10-year-olds who are very new to computers and keyboards and wouldn't have a clue about formatting page size, margins, anchors and layers. I don't think a standardized set of unified teaching tools is going to deal effectively with such a wide range of skills.

 

Miranda

post #19 of 26

What really got me was seeing dd1 kinda half lying down with her head propped on one hand and using one finger on the other hand to type up something for school! Aggghhh! No way that is going to get done in a timely fashion! DanceMat is fun because it's in little chunks. I really wanted to get my kids to type with more than one finger and more than one hand.  I was afraid they would get in the habit of just hunting and pecking and it would be harder to change that habit than it would be to learn the home row keys and using both hands early on. I just didn't want that bad habit to get ingrained. I'm afraid it already has a bit with my youngest. She really loves to type up her own stories on the computer so probably has more typing miles under her belt than her older sister, but dd1 is using two hands now and commenting on how much faster she can type now. I am not a speed typist myself, but I use 2 or 3 fingers and my thumbs on both hands and can usually type about as fast as I think. (Not a very fast thinker either.)

post #20 of 26
Thread Starter 

I think there is a difference between me saying that I think we should have some basic plan for introducing technology to kids and whether we have a plan that will meet the needs of especially advanced kids where they are, yk?  

 

For us, we are technological household and our kid has had a quite average exposure to technology. We did opt for a charter school for elementary so there is some responsiblity on our (my) part to accept that we chose a school w/o a tech focus. BUT, from the sounds of this thread, kids are getting a HUGE variety of levels and ages at which schools introduce basics. 

 

I also do realize that computer software has and does change... but not that much. Correct me if I'm wrong but a program like Photoshop has been an industry standard for many years. Programs like GIMP function almost exactly like Photoshop -- so the language is transferable. There is the divide btw. PCs and Apple - something I don't know much about. 

 

I mean - I'm 40. I learned to type before I had ever heard of a computer. Back when not everyone was expected to be able to type in order to live in this world. I wonder if the fact that kids these days tend to pick up technology in ways that adults can't really understand makes adults assume that the are just going to absorb  the ability to type while texting away at their friends. /rant. 

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