January 3, 2019- AWE Learning Staff
Young learners are taught handwriting at an early age. In our innovative society, should typing skills go hand in hand with learning handwriting? With the increasing use and importance of technology in our everyday routines, typing is a skill of utmost importance in the workforce. Young learners should be introduced and taught typing skills at a young age to prepare for their use of technology both in school and in their future careers. In fact, it is estimated that by the time today’s elementary-aged students enter the workforce, the majority of all jobs will require the effective use of computers.
Do you or someone you know use the ‘Hunt and Peck’ method of keyboarding? The Hunt and Peck method refers to someone who types using two fingers. This form of typing typically takes much longer than one who is proficient in touch-typing, typing using proper formation with two hands. Teaching the proper typing form should be instructed at an early age before bad habits form. Around age seven, children have the concentration span to learn typing skills. Their hands are the right size, they love being on the computer, and they’re motivated to learn. Studies have shown that students that become competent keyboarders early in their education are better writers, show more pride in their work, and have higher motivation to succeed.
When mastering typing skills and consistently using the same finger for a letter, the individual automatically remembers where the finger goes without conscious thought. This automaticity makes one a faster keyboarder and allows the individual to be more productive and decrease the amount of time spent on an assignment. When children can type confidently and accurately, they can put more focus on the content and learn new things, rather than struggling with their keyboards. Additionally, it allows thoughts to be captured quicker, so children are less likely to forget an idea they have in mind.
Mastering typing skills involves learning technique (physical positioning and movement), ergonomics (safe and comfortable keyboard interaction), and acquisition of proper key location. While some learn typing just by ‘doing,’ others learn better through formal lessons. Muscle memory is required to successfully master typing; this takes time, repetition, and practice.
Typing does not replace handwriting, but it certainly has its benefits over handwriting. It makes drafting and editing easier. As opposed to handwriting, typing allows writers to revise their content by moving paragraphs and adding and deleting text. You may think that if you’re spending more time typing than writing by hand, you’re going to lose your handwriting skills. However, touch-typing increases muscle tone and dexterity and can result in improved handwriting.
Young learners enjoy being enthralled in technology. Why not teach them typing while they’re young, engaged, and excited? Don’t let early learners pick up bad habits that they later need to break in order to learn the proper methods. Technology is constantly advancing, and so is our use of computers and keyboards. Help your early learners get on the right path early!