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Touch Typing Basics from KidzType

Here’s a comprehensive infographic put together by KidzType. It covers lots of basics from touch typing rules to which-finger-which-key to one that is often forgotten when teaching keyboarding skills: pacing.


Categories: Keyboarding | Tags: | Leave a comment

169 Tech Tip #15–Save Early Save Often

tech tipsIn these 169 tech-centric situations, you get an overview of pedagogy—the tech topics most important to your teaching—as well as practical strategies to address most classroom tech situations, how to scaffold these to learning, and where they provide the subtext to today’s tech-infused education.

Today’s tip #15–Save Early Save Often


Sub-category: Keyboarding, Problem-solving

Q:  My computer crashes often. How do I keep from losing my work unexpectedly?

A:  Saving is easier than you think. I know–you think it is easy, so what’s the deal? Have you ever lost your work because… it just disappeared–maybe a power surge, maybe you pressed the wrong button. Who knows, but hours of work evaporated. Encourage students to make it a habit to save every ten minutes.

Here’s what you do:


Categories: Classroom management, Keyboarding, Problem solving | Tags: | 3 Comments

World Typeathon Starts Monday–Join in!

There’s something exciting going on over at Typing Tournament Online: The World Typeathon.typethon-4

This is a free event and allows students to pit their skills against typists from around the planet. Here are the details:


Round 2 starts Monday Nov 14th 2016 and ends Sunday Dec 18th 2016.

For the full-time table click here.

Everyone can participate at any time

From as little as one week to the full 5 weeks and from 1 class to the whole school – all may participate in the World Typeathon. Students can type from school or home on any device, including iPads. It’s open to any class from any school in the world.


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169 Tech Tip #128–Top 10 Chromebook Shortkeys

tech tipsIn these 169 tech-centric situations, you get an overview of pedagogy—the tech topics most important to your teaching—as well as practical strategies to address most classroom tech situations, how to scaffold these to learning, and where they provide the subtext to daily tech-infused education.

Today’s tip #128–Top Ten Chromebook Shortkeys


Sub-category:  Keyboarding

Here’s a poster with ten Chromebook shortkeys popular in classrooms:


Categories: Keyboarding, Tech tips | Tags: , | Leave a comment

169 Tech Tips–Two Great Chromebook Shortkeys

tech tipsIn these 169 tech-centric situations, you get an overview of pedagogy—the tech topics most important to your teaching—as well as practical strategies to address most classroom tech situations, how to scaffold these to learning, and where they provide the subtext to daily tech-infused education.

Today’s tip: #121–Chromebook Caps Lock and #122–Chromebook Delete Key


Sub-category: Keyboarding


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16 Websites to Teach Mouse Skills

I repost this article every September because I get so many requests for mouse resources for those youngest keyboarders. Enjoy!

One of the most important pre-keyboarding skills is how to use the mouse. The mouse hold is not intuitive and if learned wrong, becomes a habit that’s difficult to break. Here are some images to assist you in setting up your newest computer aficionados:

[gallery type="square" ids="50137,28323,28324,50140,50139,54260"]


Here are 16 websites students will enjoy, including 3 for adults new to computers:


Categories: 1st, Keyboarding, Kindergarten, Mouse skills | Leave a comment

Tech Ed Resources for your Class–K-8 Keyboard Curriculum

I get a lot of questions from readers about what tech ed resources I use in my classroom so I’m going to take a few days this summer to review them with you. Some are edited and/or written by members of the Ask a Tech Teacher crew. Others, by tech teachers who work with the same publisher I do. All of them, I’ve found well-suited to the task of scaling and differentiating tech skills for age groups, scaffolding learning year-to-year, taking into account the perspectives and norms of all stakeholders, with appropriate metrics to know learning is organic and granular.

Today: K-8 Keyboard Curriculum


K-8 Keyboard Curriculum (four options plus one)–teacher handbook, student workbooks, companion videos, and help for homeschoolers

2-Volume Ultimate Guide to Keyboardingkeyboarding

K-5 (237 pages) and Middle School (80 pages), 100 images, 7 assessments

K-5–print/digital; Middle School–digital delivery only

Aligned with Student workbooks and student videos (free with licensed set of student workbooks)

Doesn’t include: Student workbooks or videos


1-Volume Essential Guide to K-8 KeyboardingEssential Guide--KB Curriculum cover--small size

120 pages, dozens of images, 6 assessments

Great value!

Delivered print or digital

Doesn’t include: Student workbooks or videos


Categories: 1st, 2nd, 3rd Grade, 4th Grade, 5th Grade, 6th grade, 7th grade, AATT Materials, Keyboarding | Tags: , | Leave a comment

3 Online Keyboarding Programs Students Will Choose

Teaching kids keyboarding isn’t about finding the perfect online website or downloaded software and setting students lose on a year-long self-directed journey of progressive lessons hoping their speed and accuracy improves. That might work for adults, but it’s a prescription for boredom and failure with K-8 students. They require a mixture of activities, only one of which is drill. I’ve discussed my eclectic mixture in earlier posts.

When you select the varied keyboarding activities, pick sites students will have fun with and look forward to playing. After all, the goal is to teach good keyboarding habits which only happens if students are engaged, committed, and connected. Here are three of my favorites, one for each level of the student’s typing development:

kozzi-6587958--1122x1113Big Brown Bear

Beginner typists

Big Brown Bear has two free parts:

  • Learn to Type — focuses on typing skills
  • the Keyboard Game — focuses on key placement and speed

Here, I’ll talk about the Keyboard Game. It is designed for pre-typists and includes no discussion of keyboarding habits or hand placement. The goal is for pre-keyboarders to learn where keys are in a fun, non-threatening, unintimidating way. The program starts with a big keyboard that fills the screen. Students type the key outlined in red as fast as possible while a timer in the lower right corner counts down from thirty seconds. When done, students see their score.

In my classes, I mention hands on the keyboard and elbows at their sides (mostly to get them used to thinking about these), but want their focus on key placement. I set a goal of ’22 in 30 seconds’.  and let them move on to something else when they meet that goal. Every few minutes, I drop the goal–‘Now I’m looking for 15!’ They love this game approach.

This game prepares students to learn good keyboarding habits (like posture) and then practice their skills.


Categories: Keyboarding, Reviews | Tags: | 4 Comments

Dear Otto: My Students Think Hunt-and-Peck is Good Enough. What do I do?

tech questions

Dear Otto is an occasional column where I answer questions I get from readers about teaching tech. If you have a question, please contact me at askatechteacher at gmail dot com and I’ll answer it here. 

I got this question from a teacher. It’s becoming more common as students start life on iPads:

Do you have any suggestions for kids who have developed substitute patterns for using home row keys? Many of our 5-7th graders have learned how to hunt and peck quickly and are resisting using the correct fingers on the home row. Ultimately this will limit their speed, but they don’t see that consequence yet. Help.

The goal of keyboarding is twofold:

  1. to keep up with the student’s thoughts 
  2. not interfere with that creative process

Students should be able to type while they’re thinking, put their ideas onto the page without interrupting what’s buzzing through their brains. It should be an invisible tool in support of their learning–like handwriting. If they’re hunting and pecking (albeit quickly), they are searching for keys rather than collecting their thoughts. If they’re typing from a print copy (which is becoming less common in classrooms), their head is bobbhunt and pecking between the right place on the page and the keyboard.

Few hunt-and-peckers exceed 20 wpm, and studies show that students need in excess of 20 wpm to keep up with their thoughts. For some students, this simple math will convince them. Additionally, hunt-and-peck speed rarely exceeds the speed of handwriting, which is 25-35 wpm for 5th grade. Touch typing speed pretty much doesn’t top out. Middle schoolers who have practiced with a goal of touch typing easily reach 45-75 wpm. Apply this speed to authentic uses of typing, such as homework and classwork. Wouldn’t they like to finish earlier?

The buy-in to this concept is the first step: Do they agree with the goals of touch typing? Does hunt-and-peck satisfy the goals?

Do a few experiments with students. Make it a scientific experiment as they are used to in science class. Here’s an example where my classes compared handwriting vs. keyboarding Here are student pros and cons to handwriting vs. keyboarding.


Categories: Dear Otto, Keyboarding | Leave a comment

Summer Keyboarding Class for Students

Summer is coming, and so is Summer Keyboarding for Students! If your students are looking for a summer keyboarding class to smooth out their rough edges, prepare them for next year’s increased tech demands, or get them started, this is the program for them. It’s online, one hour a day M-F for three weeks, with a wide variety of activities that keep keyboarding fun and challenging. All the details are below.

Note: Early Bird special for those who sign up by May 15th. Use coupon code SUMMERPD to get 10% off!

Sign up now–

  • it’s all online, but includes 1:1 attention so space is limited
  • you get lots of the materials as soon as you sign up. Take from now until June 22nd to review them, use them in your end-of-year and next-year planning


Categories: 3rd Grade, 4th Grade, 5th Grade, 6th grade, 8th grade, Keyboarding | Leave a comment