Keyboarding: When & How Much?
Keyboarding, like playing the piano, is a psycho-motor skill. In order to effectively learn to touch type, students need the sufficient hand size, finger dexterity, and hand-eye coordination. Studies have suggested that late elementary school children are developmentally ready to master touch-keyboarding (Erthal, 1985.) Reflecting this, the Common Core State Standards require that keyboarding be introduced in the third grade.
Keyboarding, like any learned skill, benefits more from distributed practice than massed practice. In other words, it is more effective to practice in frequent blocks of a shorter duration than in fewer, but longer, blocks. As a result, teachers are being asked to assign 45-60 minutes of keyboarding homework a week. Students will also keyboard in the computer lab under the supervision of a teacher at least once a month. This guided practice will ensure that positive habits are being developed. Using this schedule, students will receive over 30 hours of practice in the third grade, a number that the research suggests is important to establishing a solid keyboarding foundation (Berg and Jackson, 1996.)
Berg, D., & Jackson, T. (1986). Elementary Keyboarding--Is It Important?. Computing Teacher, 13(n6), 8,10-11.
Erthal, M. (1986). The Status of Keyboarding. Journal of Business Education, 60, 192-193, February, 1985.
Erthal, M. (1996). Who should teach keyboarding and when should it be taught?. Retrieved November 29, 2010 from http://www.usoe.k12.ut.us/ate/keyboarding/Articles/Whowhen.htm