Keyboarding- A Literacy Skill?
The answer is a resounding, YES! In reviewing a number of literacy and study skills checklists located on the internet, by third grade, students need to be able to use computer software to locate information for content areas in both science and social studies. On some checklists, students are required to access and use computer software to read e-books. Keyboarding is not just a way to address poor handwriting skills. Students are expected to use computers to analyze data from projects in the classroom. Keyboarding is an essential skill for college preparation and future employment.
- “Keyboarding is a cumulative skill – what can be effectively learned at one level depends heavily upon what has been learned earlier. If hunt ‘n peck habits become ingrained, it becomes much more difficult to develop a competent keyboarding skill. You need that basic foundation early on.”1
- Based on the standards of the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE), keyboarding literacy needs to begin in the early years to prevent the development of hunt ‘n peck habits. Exposure to and interaction with technology needs to begin no later than four years of age.
- Keyboarding speed, keyboarding accuracy and keyboarding method are the three most important factors in assessing keyboarding skill.
- A review of a number of anecdotal resources [as far back as the 1930’s] on keyboarding in schools reveals that elementary school teachers have reported that students demonstrate improvement in sentence structure. Language arts capabilities also improve with the use of word processing programming.
When Should A Child Begin To Learn The Keyboard?
Based on ISTE standards, pre-school children should know how to negotiate a simple menu on the computer screen using a mouse; begin to create stories using pictures and simple letters/words; identify power keys, such as ENTER and the spacebar; use technology terms, such as camera, battery and computer; and turn smart toys on and off.
Laurie Edwards, in her article on Education.com, states “Computer classes are taught in most kindergarten and elementary schools, so preschoolers who are already familiar with the operation of the keyboard and mouse will be ahead of the learning curve. They may also have an advantage if they have the opportunity to play with educational programs, as many learn reading and number skills from computer software. Some experts suggest that allowing preschoolers to have computer time can be beneficial because computer use: Introduces educational skills; Teaches spatial and logical skills; Stimulates language comprehension; Increases self-esteem and self-confidence; Prepares children for future computer use; Improves long term memory and manual dexterity; Boosts problem solving skills.