While schools have made an effort to integrate computers and mobile technology into the curriculum – with some great success stories readily available for all to see and read – can the same be said for the skill and art of typing?
It appears the more formal and traditional typing class has gone. Now, I am not saying that we should have 50 minutes worth of typing scheduled into the timetable, but how are we able to prepare students for the future if we move away from necessary skills?
It seems that a considerable emphasis, rightly or wrongly, is placed on students creating and consuming. Young people have become significant users of the technology around them: moving icons and text with the simplest of finger swipes, professional style photos without an actual camera and Snapchat filters, to name a few. Arguably, the keyboard has become somewhat of an under-utilised accessory with more and more students clicking or dragging the correct answer on an online exam, browsing the school’s digital library or scrolling through celebrity news. Has the interface changed so dramatically, that typing and the keyboard are no longer necessary?
But, wait, the definition of typing:
“The skill of writing something using a computer.”
And a skill it is …
If I am not mistaken, students are still submitting essays, whether they are written by hand, with pen and paper or typed using – yes – a keyboard. An opinion, maybe, but students need to know how to use the keyboard to write their extended essays, science reports, or English coursework. Let me take this further. How much time might be saved over the course of one school year if students were able to touch type and not just touch a screen?
“It is established that normal users using a QWERTY on a touchscreen device are limited to typing at a rate around 20 words per minute, which is slow compared to the entry rates users can typically achieve on physical keyboards.” (The University of St. Andrews, 2013).
Assuming that without keyboarding skills, students run the risk of falling behind in their classwork leading to a downward spiral in academic performance, college applications and workforce performance. When will you next check that your students can, in fact, type and are not just punching keys?
2013 | Thumbs Up For Faster Texting | University Of St Andrews. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.st-andrews.ac.uk/news/archive/2013/title,217680,en.php