Back to School Top Tips on Keyboard Recognition Skills
There used to be a time when we all took notes with pen and paper, however in today’s world children are increasingly using laptops and digital notebooks. With children back at school now, it is important to try and encourage them to learn how to use a keyboard effectively. Let’s check out some top tips to help encourage keyboard recognition skills.
Lots of research suggests that children are ready to learn to touch type between 6 and 8 years old - this can be affected by things like spatial awareness and motor skills, however. Some children learn best with ‘sight typing’. This process is where proper fingering is used, and key recall is automatic.
Many children can’t use all their fingers either, so they need to use ‘vertical typing’.
Some top tips for keyboard typing are things like:
- Encouraging children to work in pairs or under supervision.
- Reinforcing the key skills by practicing frequently.
- Doing short, regular sessions to help with improvement.
Run Dedicated Sessions
To help children learn, teach keyboard recognition as part of the curriculum or in IT lessons!
The programs should be done in a way that appeals to children, but not in such a way that distracts them.
As part of the process, you should encourage finger exercises as a warm up, as well as good posture - make sure they’re facing the computer and sit with feet flat on the floor.
The font size should be suitable for the situation - where possible, make sure it is comparable to the printed words in the textbooks you use. Fonts like comic sans and Ariel are good choices!
Typing Assistance and Tips
There’s a couple of different things you can do to help with typing.
Place coloured string down the centre of the keyboard to help with separating the sides. Ideally, covering the hands of the children will help them to become more familiar with touch typing.
Their thumbs should rest on the spacebar on your keyboard. When they type, encourage the use of finger tips only. Make sure that you explain how the hands should bend over the keys and wrists should bend over the keyboard.
When typing, you want to encourage kids to aim for a steady typing speed as they touch their keys. You don’t need to correct any mistakes until the end - this interrupts touch typing and makes it hard to learn.
Your goal should be to type in small enough stages that you inspire success. Don’t try and make kids do too much all at once. Make sure that they relax every few minutes to allow their arms and hands to loosen up.
You should aim to introduce frequently used words and letter strings as soon as you can - it makes a big difference. You should also encourage the use of capital letters via the shift key - your students can practice by typing their names.
Where possible, teach children about sticky keys as a way of helping them access easier functions - these are located in the control panel. There are also a lot of keyboard stickers you can use like Granada Learning and Keytools.
Where possible, teach kids about correct finger placements, and get them to take an online typing speed test every so often - it encourages practice.
For young children consider investing in an ‘early learning’ keyboard. The different colours for vowels, consonants and numbers all help with recognition and typing.The Accuratus Monster 2 Early Learning Keyboard is perfect.
Teaching kids how to use a keyboard is vital for future work. Start early and it’ll help them a lot to have it ingrained.