Typing – probably the most useful skill you can teach.

I can honestly say that learning how type properly (sorry, two finger typing is not proper typing) is the most useful skill I learned in my teens that I took and used in adulthood. To this end, think that it is vital that we teach children correct typing skills from an early age.

Today I started teaching  my kindergarten class basic typing skills. Here are a few things to bear in mind before tackling this.

  • Kindergarten kids are still developing their fine motor skills. They are still learning to hold a pencil properly, and some may find that placing the correct finger on the correct key difficult.
  • Any typing they do a the moment is almost guaranteed to be the “index finger on the right hand (or left if they are left handed) does all the typing” variety of typing. They will want to revert to this all the time.

Here is how I taught the lesson:

  • I thought that it would be a good idea to really focus on the keyboard without on screen distractions, so I decided to make some of the lesson unplugged.
  • Firstly, I unplugged enough keyboards from the computers so that every child in the class had one.
  • Each child sat on the floor with a keyboar
  • I asked the class to look carefully at the F key. What made it different from the other letter keys, apart from the letter? The class observed that it had alittle bump on it.
  • I asked the same about the J key. I told the class that we use our index fingers to press these keys that are called home keys. We practised resting our index fingers on the keys and pressing them.
    • You need to check everyone at this point. a few will put their right index finger on the J key, then on the F and not one finger for each key.
  • So far so good. Everyone understood and quite liked clacking away on the keys.
  • I then played them the first part of this little animation, which is quite go at quickly explaining the other keys that sit under the fingers. It’s a good time to play it as I’ve already been doing most of the talking (and even I get sick of my voice).
  • We then discussed how there should be one finger on each key. They noted that the rude fingers (the one you flip the bird with) go on D and K. If you have a way of holding this finger up to show it’s the one you use without it looking rude, I’d love to know. Maybe point it downwards instead of up.
  • We went through each finger on each hand and the corresponding key
  • We then tried placing our fingers on the correct keys all at the same time. You need to watch and correct again – you’ll see some very interesting finger origami as some attempt to defy the limits of their finger joints.
  • Finally, using one finger at a time, we pressed each key with the correct finger. Quite a few reverted back to pecking each one with their index finger, so I encouraged them to have a go at using all their fingers.
  • We then played the rest of the animation. Everyone was still sitting on the floor and thought they were typing the key when prompted. I was discretely typing it from my keyboard. They thought it was great!

To cut a long story short, the class then went to a computer with a keyboard still attached and logged in. I employed the strategies from here and it worked quite wll. I got everyone on to the same little animation and they all had a go by themselves in the time we had left.

I really would like to have them type in to a word doc so they get more of a sense of typing. I could call out letters and they attempt to type them with correct finger starting with F and J but it would take a whole lesson to get them logged on, Word opened and then typing. We didn’t have that opportunity today. Maybe next time.

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