Wednesday, September 21, 2016

How and When to Teach Children to Type

Kids today are practically born with technology in their hands, but when should teachers and parents help those hands graduate from tapping, dragging, and swiping to home row and touch typing? Keyboarding skills are great to have because they save time and increase efficiency. What’s more, typing can be fun!  It’s like a game.
The time teach children to touch type is whenever they ask to learn. Watching others who have the ability to touch type seems almost magical and serves as a great way to motivate them to take interest themselves.

A motivated child can begin to learn to type anytime,though it’s generally believed that they may not have the motor coordination or finger span to truly touch type until about age eight or nine.
Here are some low tech and high tech ways to begin.
Paper
Print a paper keyboard for typing practice anytime. Have extra time in class? Practice typing on your paper keyboard. Looking for something to do on a drive or in a waiting room? Pull out the paper keyboard and type away. This is an activity children can do anytime, anywhere. No battery required.
Software
There are several free and paid for typing programs recommended for children 7 and up.  The nice thing about typing programs is that they provide a fun learning environment for children.  The paid for programs generally start at around $20 with the highest end programs coming in around $50.  Here is a nice comparison of some popular kids typing programs.  
Online Games & Apps
There are plenty of online games and apps to learn to type. Visit Common Sense Education Ratings & Reviews and do a search for typing apps. There you’ll find apps like Tap Typing -Typing Trainer  (Grades 5-9), Dance Map Typing (Grades 1 - 5), and Typing Club (Grades 3 -12). These generally come in at a cost per user priced between free and $3.99.  
Children of any age can begin exploring keyboards, letters, and screens.  It is an essential 21st century skill and helping children master it early, not only provides a fun and useful activity for them to work on, but it will also help them share thoughts and ideas while saving a tremendous amount of time.
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