With new Common Core standards some schools are finding it important to implement keyboarding for lessons for young students. This is an important skill to learn as early as kindergarten. In the Columbus Ohio area, several elementary schools have begun to include young students in keyboard instruction.
The reason behind this isn’t too surprising. A key piece of STEM learning is technology and in order to take online tests, keyboarding is important.
As more school and state assessments move online, educators are worried that students lack the typing skills to take those tests or compose responses using a keyboard. The new Common Core assessments, for example, will be online and require students to type as early as third grade.
As a result, several local districts have ramped up their lessons, some as early as kindergarten.
“When we started hearing about this a couple of years ago, we were all terrified,” said Tricia Faulkner, principal at Madison Elementary. “This is going to be a whole new ballgame for students and staff, and we are all adjusting to it.”
The Groveport Madison school district started integrating new lessons for elementary students this year that include keyboarding for kindergarten students, which raised concerns for some teachers, Faulkner said.
How would kindergartners — who are just getting acquainted with letters and words — understand how to find letters and how to place their fingers on a keyboard?
“They may not master (keyboarding) in kindergarten, but they will by the time they get to the third grade,” Faulkner said. “They will get the skills they need so they’ll be ready to take those tests.”
Some schools don’t begin formal typing lessons until third grade, in part because that’s when keyboarding is first introduced in the Common Core writing standards.
Keyboard skills and typing have long been a mainstay for students learning to access the computer but now keyboarding lessons for young students are being featured in many districts. Some, including Canal Winchester, Hilliard, Pickerington and Reynoldsburg, use online keyboarding programs for additional help.
This year, Westerville’s technology team crafted online keyboarding lessons for elementary students that teachers can embed in their lessons.
Students at Robert Frost Elementary recently received their first lesson. They learned about the “home row” and how to position their fingers on the keyboard. They learned that their thumbs rest on the space bar and that their pinkies cover a lot of territory.
They took their first steps typing without looking at the keyboard. This is an important milestone in keyboarding lessons for young students.