Log in

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.


  • Hamish McLean (View all users posts) 16 Sep 2014 9:43am ()

    Good discussion point Tash.

    Agree with Allanah King.  When I taught year 3 two years ago, I was supposed to be teaching handwriting but I didn't see the need so didn't.  Sure neat handwriting looks nice, but when do we actually see it... and in 5-10 years from now it will be significantly less..  I can see it being an art form a few years from now, but not highly relevant in our future society.

    When I was in 5th form..  (as it was called 18 years ago) I was the only boy in a 'typing' class.  My selection wasn't just because I wanted to be more efficiant at typing... Smile  and when I taught computer science at the same high school, the first 10 minutes of every class was on typing skills.  Hopefully this 10 minutes will be spent more effectively and typing can be part of the primary curriculum.

    Having access to devices is a problem for a lot of schools.  But from what I have heard from a lot of teachers saying that students will just learn how to type with more use on a digital device.  Just like saying give them a pen and they will learn how to write themselves.    Its more efficiant and better practice that primary students are taught which fingers to use and where the keys are.  

    Its fair to say I hated the actualy 'typing' when I was in 5th form, but it set me up for being a fast typer and being able to do it while looking at the screen, and not my fingers. 

  • Hamish McLean (View all users posts) 16 Sep 2014 9:51am ()

    Hi Mark.  Do you mean actual handwriting or printing?

  • Hamish McLean (View all users posts) 16 Sep 2014 10:26am ()

    Good point Laurence.  The more efficient the typer, the better.. not to mention having less stress in an exam environment.  Funny about oursourcing 'writers'.  Back in the day when a 'scribe' was a highly paid job, as not many people were literate.

  • Hamish McLean (View all users posts) 16 Sep 2014 2:40pm ()

    My view is that communication is dynamic.  We should not hold onto forms of communication just because they are there. Otherwise we would still be using hieroglyphs to communicate.  I agree that printing has its place 'currently' but the whole purpose of handwriting was for printing to be more efficiant, faster and elegant. In the mid-1700′s, master penmen were employed to copy official documents such as land deeds, birth and marriage certificates, military commissions, and other legal documents.  They were paid a lot of money, which is why hand writing became something important to teach at schools.

    I'm 37 and find it difficult to read my grandmothers writing.  While beautiful, it take me a lot of inferring to gain the meaning.  This is most certianly not the point in communication, and why I believe its and art form.  It should be fast, effortless, and ledgable.  Digital communication is all of these things, so I believe that eventually the pen and paper will disapear like hieroglyphs.  

  • Hamish McLean (View all users posts) 17 Sep 2014 12:07pm ()

    You got me wondering Tash.  I was hoping that it was the same as previous years, after a quick discussion with our Learning Motivator (team leader) who teaches y0-1 she said that its always been the same. (10 years in that syndicate)

    "You know the students that have had penmanship at home, and those that dont."

    So from her point of view, its about their education at home.  

    My daughter is 3, and knows how to hold a pen.  She has difficulty obviously, but knows to pinch, and rest it on your 'tall boy' finger.  However the first thing she learnt to do was to unlock my phone.  Not because it was forced on her, but I think because she see's us on them a lot, and wants to know what it is.  In saying that she also would rather paint, and use a pen more than use a digital device.  Possibly because my wife is an artist, and our daughter sees that a lot too.   It all comes back to education at home.  The first 5 years is at home, and we know as teachers, its the most important.  If only the rest of the world knew the same... and actualy practiced it.

  • Hamish McLean (View all users posts) 19 Sep 2014 2:20pm ()

     Throwing a spanner in the mix... 

    "...students learn better when they take notes by hand than when they type on a keyboard."

    Are these studies focused on knowledge and memory?  We know that knowledge is atainable easily in the 21st, and its the process of learning and how we learn that is the most important aspect in education.  It will be intersting to see the creativity aspect of the brain and see if this side is 'alight'.  

  • Hamish McLean (View all users posts) 19 Sep 2014 6:45pm ()

    Totally agree Warren

    If you want to find evidence pro or con, you just have to interpret the data.  

    Using twitter, watching video, while screencasting to other classrooms in parts of the world would be far better than writing it down with pen and paper.  

  • Hamish McLean (View all users posts) 28 Sep 2014 2:36pm ()

    100% with you in they Mrs H. 

    I applied for a job three years ago,  submitted via eCV (electronic Curriculum Vitea) the school responded saying they require a physical copy.  I suggested they print it out,  but they still wanted one sent.  I said I was no longer interested in the job.  

    We really need to ensure we facilitate education to best suite students future needs.  I agree that it's hard to imagine the future,  but we can see patterns and trends that help indicate what will be irrelevant. 

Join this group to contribute to discussions.