How common are keyboarding classes in American schools?
That’s a difficult question to answer, as there don’t seem to be any surveys or other research looking into the question—and many schools fold typing instruction into other classes such as computer science, digital literacy, or business. And yet, more and more children are expected to know how to type. The Common Core State Standards, for example, require that students in 4th grade be able “to type a minimum of one page in a single sitting.” By 6th grade, that requirement increases to three pages in a sitting.
But if your school doesn’t offer a typing class, how can you fit it in and make sure your students are able to type swiftly and accurately? Just as almost any job will require keyboarding skills, typing instruction is a fine complement to a range of subjects, from English language arts (ELA) to STEM. Here are a few tips for incorporating typing instruction and practice into your classes.
Use it as a daily warmup.
If you’re teaching a class like ELA, computer science, or business, in which typing is a clear component, have them begin the class with a few minutes on a typing program like TypeTastic!
For subjects where the connection to typing appears a little more tenuous, try warming them up by asking them to free write—or free type—about the course material. Not only will your students get a little typing practice, but you can get them settled and focused on the material or even encourage a little more engagement with the topic!
For a STEM class, ask them to type their design process, or an example of trial-and-error they engaged in for an ongoing project. Teaching a history class? Ask your students to type out as many questions for a historical figure you’re covering as they can in a 10-minute period of time—or have them describe decisions those figures could have made.
Offer typing games as a reward.
Sure, typing instruction is school work, but when it’s presented as a game, students will see it as a fun activity and a fitting reward for good behavior, finishing work early, consistently arriving to class on time, or any other behavior you’d like to encourage. And as we know, kids learn better when they’re having fun!
Hold weekly contests.
Make a typing instruction program available to your students to use in their free time in and out of class, and then offer rewards at the end of each week. Don’t limit yourself to rewarding only the fastest and most accurate typists. Offer rewards for areas like most improvement, most time spent, or most lessons completed.
Add a station activity.
When you have students break up for station activities, toss a couple computers with typing instruction programs into the rotation. Have clusters of students compete with one another or simply work individually on practice or games
If your school or district doesn’t set aside time for dedicated keyboarding classes, there’s still plenty of opportunity to ensure that your students’ fingers will fly across the keyboard with speed and accuracy!