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Traditional software methods of teaching keyboarding are not especially suited to meeting the needs of young children
Early elementary school students
The repetitive random letter teaching aspect of software-based methods does not naturally suit the capabilities of young children and may be the reason schools spend thousands of dollars on "familiarity" typing software games for early elementary school students
An online poll in 2005 asking "When does your school begin to teach keyboarding?" revealed: 47% use typing games in Grades 1-3 to promote keyboard familiarity
This "familiarity" typing games approach for at least 3 years just teaches students how to divide the keyboard into left-hand and right-hand letters, use the space bar and enter key and, in some cases, the Home row. Not only does it produce little or no return, but it exposes young children to the bad habit of typing with two fingers
"As if you can just give kids a game to play and they'll master keyboarding! I have watched kids at this age play many different keyboard training "games" hoping (vainly) to find such a magic bullet program"
Higher grade elementary school students
When students eventually start formal keyboard training, these programs only recognize when the correct key is typed, not what finger is used. This could lead to students—used to playing "familiarity" typing games—reverting to typing with two fingers to keep moving to more advanced learning stage levels in a program
"Even AFTER several weeks of an introduction to proper fingering technique, when they play the games that are supposed to reinforce those lessons, most children will drop everything they've learned about proper fingering and just revert to two-finger "pecking" to GET POINTS (or whatever quick rewards the game offers)"
The goal of learning to keyboard is "automaticity", performing a skill easily with little effort or conscious awareness. To attain automaticity, students need to continually practice in school and at home as part of their daily keyboard use until "proper typing" becomes automatic
These programs force teachers to teach keyboarding in isolation. Students practice in sporadic sessions "locked" in a program. Limited or scattered use typically shows no impact and this newly-learned computer skill can't be integrated with curriculum class work, nor practised at home unless parents can afford the program
"Using newly-learned computer skills in authentic situations is preferable to months of trying to attain a minimum skill level before moving into authentic situations"
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