Best Practices for Keyboarding Instruction

proper-keyboarding-technique

As keyboarding teachers, we all know the benefits of touch typing and want to pass on these benefits to our young learners.  An individual who is a master at touch typing is faster, more accurate, and therefore more productive.  In addition, using proper technique reduces mental and physical fatigue.  Here are a few things to keep in mind when teaching a group of new students how to correctly touch type.

Emphasize Technique
  • Let students know they will be evaluated on technique so that they begin to value practicing proper technique. 
  • Help students set goals for technique and letter mastery to give them something to work for. 
Typing and the Sense of Touch
  • Students who lose their place often may be looking at their fingers. Looking away from the copy makes the student less efficient. 
  • Ask students who are watching hands what sense they are not using (sense of touch).  
  • Have students practice finding the home row by feeling for the “bump” or “ridge” on the “F” and “J” keys without looking. 
Introducing the Home Row
  • Identify the "name" of each finger:  Left pinkie "A", left ring "S", left tall "D", left pointer "F".  Right pinkie ";", right ring "L", right tall "K", right pointer "J". 
  • Space with the right thumb only. 
  • Remember, home row keys are keyed with the tip of the finger. 
Introducing New Keys
  • Demonstrate these reaches to the students. This can be done on an overhead or at a keyboard.
  • Reaches on the top row should be keyed with the ball part of the finger. 
  • Reaches on the bottom row should be keyed with the nail part of the finger with the exception of "B" and "N". 
  • NOTE:  "G, H, B, N" are keyed with the ball part of the finger.
Use of Peer Feedback
  • It is difficult to always know what all ten fingers of each student in an entire class are doing, so make use of peer feedback.
  • Peer  feedback can be used to allow students to take ownership of evaluation and to check for understanding of instruction.
Evaluation of Errors
  • The cause of an error is more important than the fact that the student made a mistake. 
  • Many errors are the symptoms of poor keyboarding technique, wrong finger curve, eyes not on copy, poor posture, etc.  Gently correct technique errors as they are observed.
  • Challenge students to avoid using the backspace or delete keys to correct errors.
Motivation
  • Help students see their progress immediately. 
  • In the beginning, measure progress in terms of perfecting technique, rather than by increasing speed.
  • Praise students when they are using correct technique.
Closure
  • Keep in mind that reflective thinking aids the learning process. For example, discuss the new letter(s) and keystroke(s) learned.
  • End the day with "eyes closed" dictation or, if using the KeyMaster Learning Lights Keyboard with “lights off”.

 

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