Monday, December 5, 2011

Elementary Keyboarding


Keyboarding is one of the most basic skills a student will need to be successful with technology.  Here are some ideas for keyboarding goals based on some research I've done.

Kindergarteners are just learning their letters and sometimes mouse skills which come before keyboarding.  Kindergarteners might be expected to be able to type their names by the end of the school year and have a basic understanding of where the following keys are on the MAC keyboard:
  • Command (I call it swirlyque and they like that)
  • Spacebar
  • Return
  • Shift
  • Volume control
I teach them to Quit a program fully using Swirlyque "Q."
Kindergarteners might be able to type popcorn words at the end of the year.

First grade students are becoming readers and can be expected to type basic sentences.
First grade students can start blogging with "What I did on the Weekend" journal entries or observational entries about seasons, science projects and more.
They can do a lot of labeling with the keyboard.
They can begin Type to Learn and can start learning which fingers reach each letter.
They should be able to type their names with capital letters.
They should be able to put a period at the end of a sentence.

Second grade students should keep working on Type to Learn and expand the range of letters they know quickly on the keyboard.
They should be able to type a sentence with a capital letter, punctuation at the end and one space between each sentence.
Regarding keyboarding, the best thing students can do in second grade is get more and more familiar with letter placement on the keyboard and keep practicing.
They can learn CMD>C and CMD>V.

Third graders should keep working on Type to Learn or some other typing program and keep practicing.
By the end of third grade students should be able to type a paragraph with correctly punctuated sentences and an indent at the beginning of the paragraph.
They may type their first paragraphs and booklets for presentation.
They need to learn the tab key.
Reinforce the return/enter key.
Begin to learn more "shortcuts" like CMD>P and CMD>S.

Fourth grade students are beginning to type work regularly for submission and presentation.
Keep working on Type to Learn or other typing program.
Keep practicing.

Fifth grade students should be able to move around the keyboard.  The highest WPM I've seen from a 5th grader is 52.
Keep using TTL4 or other typing program whenever possible.
Become more comfortable with shortcuts.

Sweet Search

I just discovered created by Finding Dulcinea, self proclaimed Librarian of the Internet.  I watched their intro video and I agree with their thesis that students rely on Google blindly when they're researching and don't check dates, authority of authors or analyze their search results before using them in their research.  Sweet Search is supposed to do this for us but when I tried it, even the elementary level search engine, I had trouble with the results.  However, they also have a biography section which looked pretty fabulous and probably makes sense for 3rd grade and higher biography research.  There is also a social studies section that lists a number of excellent social studies online resources.  I was familiar with some of these but others were new to me.  I'm looking forward to exploring Sweet Search further to see if it's worth using and also whether they have any analytical tools we can teach students to help them evaluate websites themselves.