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Teaching kids typing skills??

Started by Tash Jacobs 16 Sep 2014 9:11am () Replies (47)

A collegue and I were chatting recently about the debate over need to teach our students handwriting in this new fast changing digital world.  We ended up pondering and debating over the question..

Should we be teaching our students to touch type from an early age?

Since this discussion I have watched several older students typing away somewhat inefficiently with their two finger styles (which are now so embedded as to be hard to change).  

We would be really interested to know what others are thinking and doing around this topic.


  • Annemarie Hyde (View all users posts) 28 Sep 2014 1:09pm ()

    You may have it right, Jill. Are we just suffering another "I'm unsettled by change" moment In this handwriting/typing debate?

  • Annemarie Hyde (View all users posts) 28 Sep 2014 1:15pm ()

    Agreed. The need must be owned by the learner. If you said to me, "Right Annemarie, you now need to do typing lessons," I'd get really cross. My perception is that my two finger style is fine - especially on my phone and iPad. I'm with Pauline. Imagine if we made the kids have collaboration lessons or building lessons before we let them into Minecraft? *shiver* 

  • Annemarie Hyde (View all users posts) 28 Sep 2014 1:48pm ()

    I beg to differ. Paula Hogg https://mobile.twitter.com/diana_prince_ww strarted a similar discussion on Twitter, focussing on the effect on reading ability.

    That led me back here.

    I wonder if Cripps' theory is still valid, especially as you point out, with other tools we now have access to?

    I don't think there is a place for handwriting if it is "just in case". Look at the demise of telegrams and printed photos. There are more efficient ways and I'm more likely to Facebook you or text you on your birthday than post a card. Even my shopping list is on an app. While equity of access to digital tools is a issue, I can see a place, but not years of daily drills.

    I heard Russell Burt from Point England, talk about a parent meeting he had with over 80 people present. The same question was asked. He asked the group, "How many of you have good handwriting after 15 minutes a day, 5 days a week for say 7 or 8 years?" Three parents put up their hands. 

    What we don't know is what link there is between physical manipulation of the letters and reading ability. We have manipulated letters since the development of a symbolic way of expressing language. Fine motor skills are important in other areas too. 

    I look forward to seeing where this discussion is going.

  • Annemarie Hyde (View all users posts) 28 Sep 2014 2:06pm ()

    I agree that there is a place if there is a purpose. I only heard to aid other classroom skills though, not bigger purpose. 

    In my youth, we were asked for handwritten applications. If the job requires that skill all well and good. I would question whether I wanted to work for someone not using the tools we have access to now.

    I'm also hearing "they." Where is the place of choice of tools and meeting needs of individual learners in your classes?

    As a "Twitter" fiend, I question that handwriting alone creates the need for pithy epithets!

    I'm being nit picky I know but I'm enjoying reading all these posts which I've left for my Sunday reading!

  • Annemarie Hyde (View all users posts) 28 Sep 2014 2:18pm ()

    So true! It's more important to teach the best form of communication!

    All I'm hearing here is tool tool tool - all based on personal belief rather than real future-focussed reasons. Um...and not sure about Nathaniel's rationale about being marooned on a desert island. 

    Until we have equity and can easily access digital devices, there is a place for learning to print the letters - but not mindless drills. 

    Can I have some real research please into use of fine motor skills maybe? Or effect on reading?

    I return to one of Jill's earlier statements. Is it more about our reluctance to accept change?

  • Annemarie Hyde (View all users posts) 28 Sep 2014 2:21pm ()

    i am with you Shane. Hooray!

  • Annemarie Hyde (View all users posts) 28 Sep 2014 2:53pm ()

    Thanks Hamish and thanks everyone for my Sunday reading. I'm no closer to knowing whether it is okay to ditch handwriting completely but I rather think we are not all ready for that. As an individual learner, however:

    • I love that my OCD side can produce a neat piece of writing.
    • I write (create text) more than ever in my life before.
    • i write for authentic audiences around the globe.
    • My writing is purposeful and the need to write is owned by me.
    • I can collaborate on text in real time with people who are geographically distant.
    • My desk has less paper on it for me to file (not really) and I can locate items more easily.
    • My individual learning needs are being met with self chosen tools.
    • I can access material to read from my house on any topic.

    Please don't make me do typing drills! Yuck! Please understand that I need to own my learning and that it's not about how you think I should do it! Happy hols everyone. 

  • Annemarie Hyde (View all users posts) 28 Sep 2014 6:13pm ()

    After my day reading around this I've written - typed that is - a blog post: http://likeahoginmud.blogspot.com/2014/09/the-great-debate-to-type-or-to-hand.html

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