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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.


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?


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.


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.


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:


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:


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

A New Typing Website With a Twist

keyboardingType Dojo is a new free comprehensive approach to learning keyboarding. The ad- and distraction-free interface provides not only practice drills but quick links to grade-appropriate keyboarding games (including the popular ones from DanceMat Typing). It’s easy to get started and just as easy to use making it the perfect tool for busy teachers and students who have lots to do besides keyboarding.

But in the crowded field of online keyboarding, Type Dojo will become your favorite for one other simple reason: It multitasks. It has tons of wordlists for many subjects so students learn while practicing keyboarding. For example, if you’re working on geography, students can keyboard with the Geography word list or Marzano Science. If you’re studying literacy, use wordlists for Dolch/Fry/Sight words, Compound Words, or Phrases. Activities present as a timed test (between one and five minutes) that are selected by grade and topic. When completed, students get a certificate that can be printed or simply saved in their personal file.


Categories: Keyboarding, Reviews, Word study/Vocabulary | 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


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


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

169 Tech Tip #17: No Excuse for Spelling Errors

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: #17–No excuse for Spelling Errors


Sub-category: MS Office, Google Apps, Internet

Q: What are those red and green squiggly lines in my document?


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

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.


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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.


Categories: Keyboarding | Leave a comment