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Keyboarding

Engagement through Competition

Ask a Tech Teacher contributor, James Lovelock, has been thinking about the nexus of student engagement, online games, and learning. Here are his thoughts:

games in schoolStudent engagement has long been a point of conversation for educators, the concept that students must have an active interest in order to get the best benefit from instruction is hardly a new thought.  Having said that, the ways in which that engagement is best achieved is a source of dispute, particularly depending on which philosophy on learning is held.  Competition is definitely one of the more disputed forms.

Usually criticism of the idea of competition as a tool is that where some people win, other people must lose and that can serve to disengage them from learning.  This sort of criticism is particular of classrooms where a couple of students may be seen to be dominant in certain areas and every other student conceivably looks at them and thinks inwardly “what is the point?” and proceeds to tap out, achieving the opposite of the intended engagement.  To be fair, when competition is implemented without consideration to purpose or outcome for an entire class, this can happen.

Having said that, competition when used in a considered manner can be a highly effective tool for engagement in learning.  A common example is that of a spelling test where rather than students competing individually they compete in groups, mixing together students who are stronger and weaker in the challenge so that those who would otherwise disengage are able to participate.

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Categories: Games/Simulations, Keyboarding | Leave a comment

Tech Tips #171: Return your screen to normal

tech tipsThis is not part of the 169 tech tips for your class book but it will be when I update the ebook:

Tech Tip #171: Ctrl+0 returns your screen to normal

Often, readers or friends push their computers in my face, frantic because they can’t see all of the screen. It bleeds off the edges.

 

“I use Ctrl- to zoom out–like you said–but I can’t get it back to where it used to be, the way I like reading it!”

 

I can solve that.

Ctrl- (pushing Ctrl and – together) zooms out of a screen be it on the internet, Word, or many other programs. Ctrl+ zooms in. But sometimes, your screen is so off-kilter that you can’t tell where “normal” used to be. For that, hold down Ctrl and push 0 (the number zero):

Ctrl 0

That puts your screen back to the standard setting before you zoomed in or out.

I’m surprised how often I and friends use this.

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Categories: Keyboarding, Tech tips | 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 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

Overview

K-8 Keyboard Curriculum (four options plus one)–can include a teacher handbook, student workbooks, and a special package for homeschoolers

2-Volume Ultimate Guide to Keyboardingkeyboarding

K-5 — 6 grades, 238 pages, 7 unique assessments, 5 templates, over 100 images; sold as print or digital

Middle School — 3 grades 73 pages, 7 unique assessments, 5 templates, 40 images; sold as digital only

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

Student workbooks and videos sold separately

__________________________________________________________________________

1-Volume Essential Guide to K-8 Keyboarding

120 pages, dozens of images, 6 assessments

Great value!

Delivered print or digital

Doesn’t include: Student workbooks or videos

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

Overview

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)

Student workbooks and videos sold separately

__________________________________________________________________________

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

(more…)

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

Should you Teach Typing? And Does it Work?

why learn keyboardingThis topic that is close to my tech teacher soul. It has become a familiar argument between those who believe children intuitively learn to type (“see them on smartphones and iPads–they don’t need help”) and those of us who believe instruction makes them better, faster.  Ask a Tech Teacher contributor, James Lovelock, discusses this:

 

Explicit typing, simulated application and practical application – Why is this not a thing?

When it comes to education, there has always been a call for approaches that are more grounded in context. For example, you could just look at a map and do some measurements, or you can get out there with a trusty surveyor’s wheel and chart a space and learn real applications. It makes perfect sense to do this, practical application proves relevance and also allows for greater engagement.

Having said that, one would not do this without first explaining the concepts and practicing the basics of measurement. Yet all too often, when it comes to touch-typing that is exactly what occurs, students are expected to just ‘pick it up’ as they go along because the work required to develop the skill correctly can be viewed as “unnecessary,” “too time-consuming,” or “artificial learning.”

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Categories: Guest post, Keyboarding | Leave a comment

Gamechanger: Type to Learn is Now in the Cloud!

When I started teaching a decade ago, Type to Learn was the MS Word of typing programs–everyone used it. The game-based keyboarding program was fun, engaging, and actually worked. Students graduated from the thirty-forty lessons (that took about a year to get through) with the skills they needed to become fast and accurate typists who could use the keyboard as an effective tool in both classwork and homework.

At some point in the past, busy teachers moved away from a committed program that teaches typing to solutions that promised to automate the process with rote drills and games. With most of these freemium online programs, students log in and get started. No installation, no set-up, often little supervision, just typing. The problem is, they don’t work very well. With the push to move assessments online, students need good keyboarding skills. That means:

…fast accurate typing as a tool for writing and test-taking, not a distraction

If you’re one of the many who realize your students’ typing skills aren’t up to this standard, you’ll love Type to Learn’s game-changing update: It’s now in the cloud. No more software downloads. No more inability to sync between home and school. No more “runs only on desktops and laptops”.

Let me back up and describe Type to Learn Cloud. It’s a comprehensive typing program that teaches not just the basics but advanced skills necessary to become fast and accurate touch typists. It does this through a process of review, demonstration, practice, and assessment. Using avatar-like animation, engaging sounds, and colorful graphics, rolled out in a space-themed story, students progress through thirty-six lessons, five games per lesson, and seven assessments to complete the interactive missions that will save their world.  It operates in the cloud, works on most digital devices (including Chromebooks and iPads with an external keyboard), and plays well with all browsers. Students can work from home or school and their progress syncs between the two.

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Categories: Keyboarding, Reviews | Tags: | Leave a comment

Touch-Typing: Rote vs Integrated Learning or Rote and Integrated Learning?

Here’s a fascinating article by Ask a Tech Teacher contributor, James Lovelock, discussing the balance between rote drills and integrated learning in teaching keyboarding:

***

keyboarding As a pre-service teacher, I have always found the arguments around different forms of teaching and learning to be highly frustrating.  Authoritative and Egalitarian models of teaching are considered superior to Authoritarian even though we know that in some cases the Authoritarian approach may be the best due to factors such as cultural expectations or simply the context of a classroom.  Likewise, when it comes to learning, while Integrated Learning is certainly the preference there are times when Rote Learning is appropriate to implement.

It is at this point most educators look at me like I have just said the moon is made of cheese.  Rote Learning has become a bit of a dirty phrase in some circles, right up there with corporal punishment as a throwback to an older era of unenlightened education.  Rote Learning lacks authentic application and therefore lacks engagement and fails to root student learning in real life applications.

By itself, I’d wholeheartedly agree that Rote Learning in isolation is a weak form of instruction.  Having said that, Integrated Learning by itself has its own pitfalls.  Take a class of thirty students, tell them they are going to learn how to type only by using it in searches on google and creating reports in Microsoft Office.  Students who have already learned how to touch-type at home (like I did in the early 90s) possess significant advantages over students who did not learn to touch-type outside of class and particularly over students who have limited access to computers outside of school.

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Categories: Guest post, Keyboarding | 1 Comment

Cute Video on Keyboarding

From Kidztype, a 1.5-minute video on the essence of keyboarding. Enjoy!

–Full disclosure: Kidztype is an Ask a Tech Teacher sponsor

More keyboarding:

Keyboarding 101

Touch Typing Basics from KidzType

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

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Categories: Keyboarding | 1 Comment

Keyboarding 101

When students — and adults — think of learning to keyboard, it usually generates images of rote drills where you sweat over a keyboard as you’re graded on speed and accuracy.

keyboarding

Trying to change that image is what has driven many teachers to online sites but these too often teach in an automated, undifferentiated way — logon, do exercises, repeat — that bores some and doesn’t work for others.

keyboarding

The feedback I often get on these sorts of sites is that students do improve speed and accuracy but only on the site. When they apply the knowledge to authentic situations (like typing a book report or an essay), students return to hunt-and-peck, watching their hands, and hating what they’re doing.

There’s a better way to learn keyboarding: Blended Learning. When I teach keyboarding, I use a variety of approaches, none too long and never too much, so each remains fresh and challenging rather than boring and repetitive. Here are some of the methods I mix up in my classes:

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Categories: Keyboarding | Tags: | 6 Comments

169 Tech Tip #59: Alt Keys

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: #59–Alt Keys Add Symbols

Category: Google Apps

Sub-category: MS Office, Webtools, Keyboarding, Problem-solving

Q: How do I create the copyright symbol (or another symbol) in Google Apps or Word?

A: It’s easier than you think. Hold down the Alt key and press 0169. ©. Use the keypad with the num lock on–don’t use the number row. I could not get this to work until someone pointed out that you must use the keypad. Duh.

Have students try out some others that would be useful for them. For example:

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Categories: Keyboarding, Problem solving, Tech tips | Tags: | 1 Comment