Monday, July 16, 2012

Is keyboarding a dying art?

How much time do your students spend practicing keyboarding in your school?  The students in our district begin learning keyboarding in kindergarten.  In the past they have spent a significant amount of time in their computer literacy courses learning how to type.

Over the past year our district has been developing a plan to completely change how our elementary lab courses work.  We want to move to a more project based curriculum framework, and we want to focus less on specific tools, and more on skills.  Our plan is to create a new project based curriculum that will pull content from the core subject areas for projects.  In these projects we will target technology skills like word processing, data analysis and research, animation, filming, and photography.  This way our students are gaining technology skills while also reviewing content from their core subjects.

Once we discussed what we wanted our students to do, we then needed to tackle the device we wanted to use.  We decided to go with iPads.  However, we were concerned that our students wouldn't learn to type as well if they only learning on the virtual keyboard.  So we plan to buy full size bluetooth keyboards that will be used specifically during keyboarding practice.

My question is:  How important will keyboarding be in the next five years?  As voice dictation capabilities improve will there be a need to type?  As I was brain storming this idea I used the voice dictation features of Evernote to save some of my thoughts.  Based on this experience, I won't be dropping my keyboard anytime soon.  But five years is a long time.  Will next years kindergartner still need to rely on keyboarding skills when they move on from elementary school in 5 years?

If we didn't spend time dedicated to keyboarding we could dedicate more time to teaching critical thinking, data analysis and research skills.  Would time be better spent on these skills over that five year period?  Or will keyboarding still be critical?  In my opinion keyboarding may just be a dying art.