keyboard photo from Flickr

So I’ve been talking with my former college professor about keyboarding skills, how kids learn them and whether we should still be teaching them.

Part of me looks down at my swiftly moving fingers (I don’t look down that often) and thinks “Yeah!” being able to type fast is awesome!

Another part of me remembers the first time I rotated an iPad and tried to use both hands to type on the screen. It was not very successful…I kind of made up my own new system.

As a lab teacher, I spent very little time on keyboarding skills. This is for two reasons.

1) My students have already taught themselves how to keyboard on their phones or at home.

2) Were I to focus on keyboarding instruction until my students had mastered Home Row, there would be no time for video editing, music editing, teaching Digital Citizenship, web design or learning programming skills.

Part of me wonders if I am doing my students a disservice. Will they end up in college or high school unable to type fast enough? Will they sit down to take that online GRE or writing test and fail because they have run out of time?

Then the other part chimes in: “Are your students entering a world that rewards fast typers or a world that rewards innovative thinkers and creative minds?”

What do you think?

If you have any research or articles pertaining to this topic, please share them in the comments!

5 Thoughts on “Should We Still Be Teaching Keyboarding Skills?”

  • One of the main reasons I got my job is because I can type fast. At least, that was the initial reason, and it's a skill that has taken me to 15 different countries, and it's opened countless other doors for me in my career. However, it isn't just the typing, it's the writing skills, which is not something that you learn from Home Row. No one gets paid to take dictation anymore, they get paid to write and process and distill. The only people who needed to type fast for their careers were secretaries and administrative assistants, which is what I started out as, but that is no longer a viable career path as we're increasingly moving into "paperless" offices and everyone is responsible for their own documents these days. The actual mechanics are not as important as what you can do with them under a time crunch…
    It sounds like you're preparing your kids for much more than just being office drones, which is great. Media manufacturing is more important the document production at this point. I do, however, believe that while typing fast may not necessarily open doors for people in the future, CODING fast will open up lucrative careers for anyone who can do it, in our lifetime and beyond. Everyone I know who writes code coherently and quickly is making really good money, and they can pretty much work anywhere they want, and sometimes even keep their own hours and companies.
    …just my two cents…

    • Very true. We definitely are moving away from mindless, automated busy work into work that requires sound thinking skills and communication skills. I also think you're dead-on about coding. Patent-wars aside, there are tons of start-ups and young entrepreneurs using their coding skills to work for themselves and make money!

      Thanks for stopping by, Fuad!

  • I say some level of typing instruction would be beneficial. I would speculate that the majority of students will have some level of exposure to a keyboard before instruction in the classroom. If they are an avid computer user, they would have developed a system of their own for typing.

    From my experience, I taught myself how to type before learning it in a classroom. It drove my typing teacher nuts that I didn’t use the proper home keys and finger placement. That being said, I had no issue being one of the students to finish the typing assignment first, albeit with improper (if you will) typing habits.

    So to sum this up, I would say that any exposure to technology will be a definite benefit to students as they move through their education. Technology and typing is not going anywhere. The more experience a student gets with typing will help them out down the road..

    We might want to have another discussion on handwriting. Will this be a dead technology?

    • Yes, David, the next conversation is definitely about handwriting. I don’t see it going anywhere, though I must admit that mine has gone downhill and I barely ever handwrite. With tools like Livescribe pens I think there is still a place for handwriting, and there may even be studies that link handwriting to comprehension, but as for teaching ‘cursive,’ or ‘penmanship,’ I see the time spent on these decreasing for sure. That said, some of my kids could use it!

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