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 ABE 820  Instructional Strategies
 Of Teaching Keyboarding

 State University of West Georgia
 Winter Quarter, 1998

 Instructor: Dr. Jack E. Johnson

 Abstract and Disclaimer

Instructional Strategies of Teaching Keyboarding was taught at the State University of West Georgia during the Winter Quarter, 1998, as an on-line course. Twenty-four graduate students were enrolled in the course that was scheduled to meet for 10 class periods from 5:00 p.m. to 9:15 p.m. on Monday evenings. Three of these classes were held on campus at the university; the remaining seven classes were conducted on the Internet, with students and the instructor "attending class" from a home computer at a remote site.

To present and discuss strategies of teaching keyboarding, the instructor identified 38 volunteers (keyboarding experts) from 27 different states to exchange teaching methodologies with the students.  Students were assigned a prescribed number of questions to ask each of the experts, and then e-mailed their questions to each of their assigned three or four keyboarding experts.  The experts e-mailed their responses to the students, and some of the experts participated on-line during class session "chat rooms" that were conducted on the Internet.  Students reacted to the experts' responses, providing additional input for a total of 86 questions that were asked of the 38 keyboarding experts.

The questions asked of all keyboarding experts, the experts' responses, and the students' reactions appear on the pages of this document. Some of the responses were typed by the students, some were captured using a screen-capture program, some were scanned into the document with an OCR reader. Thus, it is possible that a few typographical errors remain in the final copy that was submitted to the instructor. It was not the intent of the students nor the instructor to edit this document in an attempt to find and correct all errors in these 100+ pages; but, rather, to provide these teaching strategies for keyboarding instructors who could use the expertise of the many keyboarding experts that volunteered their time and effort to provide the students with this valuable teaching resource.

To the extent possible, the names of all keyboarding experts were removed from the individual responses that were submitted.  The experts who participated, however, are identified on page 2 of this document.  The instructor and students wish to express their sincere appreciation to the 38 teachers who volunteered their time and expertise in this "keyboarding adventure."

It is the hope of the instructor and the students that this material will prove invaluable to keyboarding instructors across the nation to help them (and especially to help beginning teachers) gain new ideas to improve their classroom teaching strategies.  Any comments or suggestions you have can be sent to Dr. Jack E. Johnson at hotshotz@avana.net or jjohnson@westga.edu.


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 Keyboarding Experts

Gail Chambers Shelby State, Tennessee
Judy Chiri Aurora, Colorado
Ann Cooper Central Carolina Technical College
Tena Crews Ball State University, Indiana
Diane Durkee Glencoe/McGraw-Hill Book Co., Ohio
Julianne Eklund Minot State University, North Dakota
Sharon Fisher-Larson Elgin Community College, Illinois
Jean Gordon First Colonial High School, Virginia
Lillian Greathouse Eastern Illinois State University
Cindy Greene Centennial High School, Georgia
Billie Harrin University of Montana
Jack Henson Morehead State University, Kentucky
Andrea Holmes Renton Technical College, Washington
Jack Imdieke Wayne State College, Nebraska
Randy Joyner East Carolina University
Wayne Klemin Central Washington University
Jim LaBarre University of Wisconsin at Eau Claire
Steve Lewis Middle Tennessee State University
Mindy McCannon Georgia College
Rosemary McCauley Montclair State College, New Jersey
Randy McElvey Valdosta State University, Georgia
Melanie Meche University of Southwest Louisiana
Wayne Moore Indiana University of Pennsylvania
Anne Morgan Davis County Schools, Iowa
Scot Ober Ball State University, Indiana
Bill Patton University of Montana
Devern Perry Brigham Young University, Utah
Lila Prigge University of North Dakota
Roger Rankin Idaho State University
Arlene Rice Los Angeles City College
Terry Roach Arkansas State University
Domonic Salce Gilbert Junior High School, Arizona
Gary Schepf Nimitz High School, Texas
Kimberly Schultz Central Decatur High School, Iowa
Jean Swanson Southwest Missouri State University
Susan Switzer Central Michigan State University
Donna Toole Shelby State, Tennessee
Nancy Zeliff Northwest Missouri State University


Contents

The following 86 questions were asked of the experts. The questions were categorized into 10 areas identified below. Those questions preceded with an asterisk were asked of several keyboarding experts.

Area 1: Evaluation Questions Page 7
Should a technique grade be given throughout the entire semester or just through the alphabet units? Why or why not?
How should students be evaluated while learning the keyboard?
*25. How many errors should be allowed when a student starts typing 1-minute timed writings? How many errors should be allowed in a 3-minute timed writing? In a 5-minute timed writing?
Do you average technique grades or take the highest with improvement?
We use the highest 3-minute grading scale the entire semester and take the highest grades (5), then average them for their timed writing portion. Do you see anything wrong with this practice?
*39. What are the weights and categories that you use for grading in a first semester keyboarding course?
*47. What weight do you give to typing technique, timings, document processing, tests, etc. to determine the final grade in a beginning keyboarding class?
Should keyboarding grades be based on a bell curve or average of peer grades? For example, the average speed of a typical class is 40 wpm for Unit 1 test. Can I base Sarah's and Johnny's grades on the average grade by adding or subtracting from their grades based on the average scores?
How do you determine the speed which students should be typing during the course of a semester? How do you determine what is an A, B, C, etc.?

Area 2: Teaching Keyboarding in the Middle School Page 26
 In our school district, middle school business courses devote only four weeks to teaching keyboarding.  Given this amount of time, what specific area(s) of keyboarding skill(s) should be developed?
*60. What purposes and goals should keyboarding have in middle school given the course only lasts 45 days and word processing, spreadsheets, and other skills must be taught as well?
*61. Should beginning keyboarding be taught in the elementary grades, in middle school, or in high school?
*81. Our school system is proposing to teach beginning keyboarding in the elementary grades.  If this is done, who should teach the course and what training should they have.  What role can high school business teacher play in this arrangement?
If keyboarding is taught in the elementary grades, what keyboarding-related skills should we teach at the high school level?
 

Area 2: Teaching Keyboarding to Ninth Graders Page 33

How much word processing should be taught in a beginning ninth grade keyboarding class?
How long should a ninth grade keyboarding class run on 90 minute periods.  Should it be 6 weeks, 9 weeks, or 1 semester?
*20.  If you had to teach a 9-week course of keyboarding (with 90-minute class periods) to ninth grade students, what would you cover?

Area 3: Teaching Production in Keyboarding Page 36
*6. What should be measured in a production test? How often should you test a student's production skills?
 Should letterhead paper be used when printing business letters and forms to further enhance the student's understanding of formatting?  Why?  Why not?
How long should a production test last (number of minutes)?

Area 4: Teaching Skillbuilding in Keyboarding Page 40
How many alphabetic letters should be introduced in each lesson?
Is there a set pattern as to the introduction of new keys?
*16. How much time should be spent in presenting the alphabetic keyboard?
How much time should be spent on skill building between the completion ADVANCE of the letter keyboard and the introduction of the number keys?
Should students be allowed to practice on, or at least view, a copy that will be timed for a grade?
Should teachers emphasize improving straight-copy skills or document processing skills?  Why?
How much daily/weekly time should be given to skillbuilding after the keyboard is learned?

Area 5: Teaching Software/Technology in Keyboarding Page 46
How long should a ninth-grade beginning keyboard class run on 90 minute periods.  Should it be 6 weeks, 9 weeks, or 1 semester?
 Is it better to use individualized instruction software that allows students to progress at their own pace, or should beginning keyboarding students be kept together until the keyboard has been completely covered?
Is there evidence indicating that the ergonomically designed keyboard improves performance?
*42. What do you predict the impact of voice input technology will be on keyboard usage and instruction?
Do you prefer using industry standard software such as Microsoft Word or WordPerfect for preparing production activities  ( i.e. letters, tables, reports, and memos) in keyboarding, or would you recommend a student typing program such as those prepared by text book publishers?  Why?
With the case of error correction and the automatic spelling correction features on software programs, do you believe students should have the freedom of backspacing during timed writings? Why or why not?

Many printers are unable to properly set up envelops.  What is the best teaching technique for introducing and explaining envelops?
With spell check and grammar check available, should teachers emphasize proofreading documents before printing?  Why or why not?
Do you think that keyboarding software will ever take the place of an instructor/facilitator?
With today's software packages for keyboarding instruction, do you feel that we are moving more toward the role of facilitators and self-taught keyboarding classes?  Is this a positive or negative trend?
As voice recognition software continues to improve, will keyboarding become less necessary? How will the role of keyboarding change?
With many of the new multimedia workstations including a CD-ROM, how do you feel about allowing students to listen to their own CD's with headphones while typing?
Do you feel that computer software helps or hinders and individual's ability to improve keyboarding skills?  Why?
If you are using a publisher's keyboarding software program (i.e. Glencoe, Southwestern, or Paradigm), would you suggest that students move at their own speed through the program, or would you suggest that they move through the program together?  Or would you use the program as a reinforcement after using the textbook/teacher method?
*80. What advancements in technology are going to have the greatest impact on teaching keyboarding in the next two or three years?

Area 6: Teaching Special Needs in Keyboarding Page 58
*21. What type of modifications should be made for teaching keyboarding to special needs students?
If a student is physically challenged and can only use one hand, how many words a minute should that student be required to type in comparison to a student who is not physically challenged?

Area 7: Teaching Speed and Accuracy in Keyboarding Page 61
*8. Upon completing a beginning keyboarding class, how many wpm should the average student be able to type?  Have you found that the average is consistent from class to class?  What errors do you consistently see and what recommendations do you make to the students to correct them.
Are employers interested more in keyboarding speed and accuracy or with the computer knowledge of its employees?
 In timed writings, should an instructor evaluate and grade both speed and accuracy?
*29. During a nine-week keyboarding course, what should be the timed writing goal for the course?
*50. Can a timed writing that is repeated be an accurate predictor of a student's skill in keyboarding?  How often can a timed writing be repeated before it no longer represents a student's true skill?
*57. What should be stressed moreÑspeed or accuracy?  Why?
When teaching beginning typists, should speed or accuracy be emphasized first?  Why?

*66. What are some effective techniques or practices for improving accuracy?
*67. What are some effective techniques or practices for improving speed?
What is the optimum length for a timed writing?
How often each week should you give timed writing tests?

Area 8: Teaching Strategies/Philosophy of Keyboarding Page 82
What is the most difficult keyboarding application for students to master?
Should students be allowed to work at their own pace with assignment sheets or stay together as a class?
*22. At what grade level should keyboarding instruction be introduced?
When should an instructor begin timed writings with students?
Is their evidence to indicate that playing music during keyboarding can improve performance?
What should be the maximum class size in an introduction to keyboarding course?
Should students all stay on the same lessons, even if some are more advanced?
What are your thoughts on allowing students to correct errors on 3' and 5 timings?
*41. Do you feel that having students graph gross words on 30" and I' speed and accuracy drills is an effective motivation strategy?
How important is speed and accuracy as opposed to grammar, punctuation, spelling, formatting, and other non-keyboarding skills?  Where should we spend more class time?
*49. What method of teaching number typing do you suggest?
 Should students be allowed to take a mini-break from keying after a designated period of time?  If so, what would you recommend in terms of time and activity?
At what point for a beginning typist should speed be introduced and emphasized?
*62. What are the top three things (key elements) that a beginning typist must do consistently to become a good typist?
Given only 10 minutes each day for 45 days a year to teach typing, using no typing books (just Mavis Beacon), what different strategies should be used to teach keyboarding?
Do you feel that teaching word processing skills in keyboarding hinders a student's ability to build keyboarding skills? Why or why not?
Our keyboarding class has one semester of keyboarding using one textbook and a second semester of word processing using another textbook. (a) Do you think this is a good arrangement, or would it be better to have one textbook that integrated the two? (b) If we have to use both textbooks, should we integrate the two or stick to one semester of each?

Area 9: Teaching Technique in Keyboarding Page 99
Do you have any suggestions on teaching and having students maintain good technique?
Should students use a cover shield to reinforce home-key technique?
Should wrist supports be used in keyboarding?
*34. What is the best way to evaluate technique?  How often do you grade technique?
Do you find it helpful to cover student's hands while teaching new keys to prevent them from watching their hands and the keyboard?  Why or why not?
How much should technique count the first half of a one-semester keyboarding course?
*86. How do you break the habit of looking at the keys when typing?

 Evaluation

Question #15: Should a technique grade be given throughout the entire semester or just through the alphabet units? Why or why not?

ADVANCE Expert's Response: My suggestion would be to grade technique by observation only during the alphabet units. At the college level we don't grade technique, but I realize at the elementary or high school level you have to have something in your grade book.

Student's Reaction: I totally disagree with this experts's advice and philosophy concerning this question. She states that at the college level she doesn't grade technique. This might be okay at this level (I can not judge since I have never taught at that level). However, I am concerned about her statement that at the elementary and high school level only gives a technique grade just to have a grade. This doesn't seem to agree with what I have learned about good typing methodology. The technique grade is vital to the success of a beginning typist. It is also important to the advanced typist who want to continually improve in speed or accuracy. I would include a technique grade all year if just to remind the students of its importance. The percentage grade the last half of the semester might be very low compared to the first half, but I would still give a grade.

Question #15: Should a technique grade be given throughout the entire semester or just through the alphabet units? Why or why not?         I

Expert's Response: Our technique grade does not specifically cover the alphabet or numbers.
It includes the following: POSTURE--feet on the floor, back straight and against the chair back, fingers curved over the keys, wrists held off the keyboard, eyes on copy. KEYBOARD-- keyboard pulled to edge of desk, fingers on "home row," using correct fingers on up and down reaches, right little finger used for enter key, and little finger of correct hand on shift key. We usually don't grade for technique until after students have learned the entire keyboard. Generally,
we give three technique grades and usually students are evaluated during the last 2-3 weeks of a semester. I do believe that technique is very important. It is probably what keeps students from being successful. If they paid more attention to their technique and worried less about their speed, they probably would do better!
 

Student's Reaction: This expert states exactly what I believe constitutes good keyboarding technique. However, she doesn't really address the reason for not grading technique the first half of the semester. I believe she contradicts her statement that technique is important by not really grading that way. She even states that students are unsuccessful because of poor technique. I firmly believe that technique should be graded during the entire semester. However, the weight would be drastically different after the alphabetic unit. For example, let the technique grade the first 6 weeks be 70 percent and the last 6 weeks be 20 percent.

Question #17. How should students be evaluated while learning the keyboard?

Expert's Response: During the first few weeks of a keyboarding class, students should be made to feel confident that they can learn to type. They should know exactly what is expected of them at the beginning of each class. Constant encouragement and guidance from the teacher will provide the feedback needed to progress successively. During the initial weeks of learning to type, students need to be taught correct keyboarding techniques--eyes on copy, feet on floor, back straight in chair, and fingers curved over home keys. Teaching correct techniques and evaluating the use of  those techniques are very important especially during the learning of the keyboard letter keys. A technique evaluation may be done on any technique a teacher wants students to practice. To evaluate how well a student is performing a certain technique, the teacher may choose to give a "Technique Timing." A "Technique Timing" is a timing for a brief period--15", 30", 1 min.   The student is directed to concentrate on ONLY ONE technique for that specific period of time--15", 30",  1 min. The teacher may grade (evaluate) students individually on their performance of a specific technique. Technique timings are NEVER graded for speed and/or accuracy.  A letter grade can be assigned to the technique evaluation if the teacher wishes.

Question #17:  How should students be evaluated while learning the keyboard?

Expert's Response: Evaluation for grading purposes while learning the keyboard should be very limited; however, evaluation should be constant.  The student's technique, posture, and touch keying should be observed frequently and feedback provided.  I try to allow my students adequate time to learn the keyboard before I grade them on speed and accuracy, but I evaluate throughout the process.

Student's Reaction:  I have never taught keyboarding, but I do completely agree with the expert.  I think that evaluation should be constant.  I believe that frequent and constant evaluation will help ease the tension some students feel when being evaluated.  It seems to me that the only things that could be reasonably evaluated while still learning the keyboard are things like technique, posture, key stroking, etc.

Question #17: How should students be evaluated while learning the keyboard?
Expert's Response: This is difficult sometimes.  I used to evaluate them in two ways.  1 Ð let the students type as fast as they could and not worry about mistakes and see how many words they could get and then have them type as slow as possible and they could not make any mistakes.  If they made a mistake they had to stop typing and whoever was the last one typing won.  I guess these were actually more drills than evaluation, but it is important that they get in the frame of mind of no mistakes or fast.  One or the other to begin with and then you can put them together later after all of the keyboard is learned.

Student's Reaction: I don't think this response contains an answer to the question, so I'll give you my opinion.  While learning the keyboard, students should be evaluated on their technique first and foremost.  During the first three or four weeks this would be the only skill grade given.  Other grades could come from quizzes over general information such as paper size, punctuation, spacing, computer vocabulary, and other similar material.  From the fourth to sixth week, evaluation can be done on speed and basic production.  Once the entire keyboard is learned, evaluation should begin quickly in these other areas.  This helps the students maintain interest in the course by providing additional feedback on their progress.

Question #17: How should students be evaluated while learning the keyboard?

Expert's Response: Most research indicates that students should not be graded while learning the keyboard.  However, we know that's not realistic.  Therefore, since there are no production activities to evaluate, students can be evaluated on their ability to type using correct techniques.  Straight copy skills could also be evaluated.  Students should be able to meet the speed and accuracy goals for the grading period.  In addition, students could be given an objective test which may include questions about what they have learned so far.

Student's Reaction: I agree with the expert's response.  In my opinion, student should also be informally evaluated on a daily basis by the instructor.  This daily feedback would provide motivation to the students.  Also, the instructor would be aware of  who needs more attention.  I like the idea of giving an objective test on what the student has learned so far.

Question #17: How should students be evaluated while learning the keyboard?
Expert's Response: We do not grade on technique at the college level, we do observe and offer suggestions to improve technique and use a software that comes with our textbook, College Keyboarding for Windows by South Western which stresses correct technique.  Our timed writing software called Micropace Plus, which corresponds with the textbook also points out keystrokes which may be causing the student problems.  If you have to give a grade, it will have to be based on observation or drills completed or work completed.

Student's Reaction: I would agree on grading on observation and drills, but at this age of students, I would have to come up with a technique grade.  Students should still be able to change some of their bad habits and learn proper techniques.

Question #17: How should students be evaluated while learning the keyboard?

Expert's Response: I always evaluated my students work by either putting a plus or minus on the papers they handed inÑpractice work.  In my grade book a plus was one point and a minus was zero.  I also commented on technique.  I believe that formative evaluation is very important and gives students an incentive to improve.

Student's Reaction: I grade sole on technique until the keyboard is completely introduced.

Question #17: How should students be evaluated while learning the keyboard?

Expert's Response: I evaluate my students by observing their technique during the keyboard learning time period.  But I do not use this for a grade.  It is for feedback purposes only.  In college we only have to come up with an end of the semester grade so I am not worried with grade reporting at the end of a 6 or 9 week period.

Student's Reaction: I think observing their technique is a good form of evaluation.  In addition to observing them, stressing proper technique will also help the students in the early stages.

Question 25. How many errors should be allowed when a student starts typing 1-minute timed writings? How many errors should be allowed in a 3-minute timed writing?  In a 5-minute timed writing?
 

Expert's Response: When students are typing one-minute timed writings, the teacher should not concern the student with accuracy or speed until students have been introduced to the entire letter keyboard--usually about lesson 12-15.  When the teacher does begin scoring speed and accuracy on one-minute timed writings allow two errors per minute. For a three-minute timed writing allow five errors in the entire timed writing or 1.7 errors per minute. When students develop their skills enough to type five-minute timed writings, they should be fairly proficient typists.  Therefore, allowing only ONE error a minute is a reasonable standard.

Student's Reaction: I agree that a maximum of two errors per minute should be allowed on a 1-minute timed writing. Students should be even more accurate with longer timed writings. I agree a maximum of five errors should be permitted on a 3-minute timed writing.  A teacher should encourage accuracy. Pacing should be easier to achieve the time increases, and errors should decrease. I agree students should have no more than one error per minute on a 5-minute timed writing.

Question #25:  How many errors should be allowed when a student starts typing 1-minute timed writings?  How many errors should be allowed in a 3-minute timed writing?  In a 5-minute timed writing?

Expert's Response: On one-minute timings, I generally allow 2 errors in the beginning then down to one.  Eventually, I allow 3 errors on a 3-minute and 5 errors on a 5-minute timing.

Student's Reaction:  Well, as I stated above, I have never taught keyboarding.  Therefore, I have no experience as an instructor on which to base my opinion.  However, the pattern of allowing one error per minute of timed writing does seem fair to me.  Besides, I think I remember Dr. Johnson saying that one error per minute was his allotment for errors when giving timed writings.  Sounds good to me.

Question #25: How many errors should be allowed when a student starts typing 1-minute timed writings? How many errors should be allowed in a 3-minute timed writing?

Expert's Response: Most research shows that approximately 1 error per minute is "normal."
Therefore, on a 1-minute timing, students would be allowed 1 error; on a 2-minute timing 2 errors; and so forth.  However, you should also take into account their speed.  For instance, a student who is typing 30 words a minute with 1 error on a 1-minute timing should not receive the same grade as a student typing 18 words a minute with 1 error on the same timing.

Student's Reaction: The research that I have read states the same information as that of the expert's. Since I have yet to teach keyboarding, I can only go on the research results of others.  I do agree that speed should be taken into account.
 

Question #25: How many errors should be allowed when a student starts typing 1-minute timed writings?  How many errors should be allowed in a 3-minute timed writing?  In a 5-minute timed writing?

Expert's Response: I always followed the one error per minute rule and I would usually record only those timings.  However, if this was too harsh for some students who really tried and had anxiety attacks under pressure, I would use the scores from the computer typing tutor programs. The tutors I used gave the GWPM and NWPM.  I would also list on my grading sheets or in my grade book under my one, three, and five minute categories the total number of words and errorsÑ23/2 or 28/6Ñso I could identify how well they were actually doing on timed writings.  It made it much easier to give the summative grade.  I do not do well under pressure, therefore, I always look for what is best for the student.

Student's Reaction: I agree.  While I allow more errors in middle school, I would base grading on one error per minute for high school students.  I would use the best 3-5 timings per grading period for determining a speed grade.

Question #25: How many errors should be allowed when a student starts typing 1-minute timed writings?  How many errors should be allowed in a 3-minute timed writing?  In a 5-minute timed writing?

Expert's Response: I was never particularly concerned with errors on timed writings during the first quarter of typing.  I generally used the textbooks recommended errors of about two errors per minute.  I have always spent more time and energy working on technique.  I always graded the first quarter of typing primarily on technique.  With all of the word processing and error correction capability I'm not convinced that we have to worry about accuracy to the same extent as before.
 

Student's Reaction: I have very mixed feeling about errors on timed writings because of the situation with the computer labs at Parkview.  In some of the labs where keyboarding is taught, there is no keyboarding software and no way of turning off the error correction capability.  In other labs we have the software that will allow us to turn off the backspace and delete keys.  I have taught keyboarding in both kinds of labs.  I prefer to have the keyboarding software that does not allow error correction so that the students can see the kinds of errors they are making and practice to eliminate these errors.  On the other hand, in the labs where students can correct errors on timings, the grades and the speeds are significantly higher.  This shows that the students are recognizing when they make errors and are getting very proficient at making fast corrections.  What is the goal?  Do we want students who never make errors because they can diagnose problems and practice to eliminate the making of the errors, or do we want students who can quickly produce error-free documents because they recognize errors and can efficiently correct them?  I think it must be a combination of both.

At Parkview we allow two errors per minute on 3-minute timings.  We only grade 3-minute timings, and we do not accept timings with more than six errors.  This is true for the entire 18-week semester.  This is very difficult for some students--especially those who cannot make corrections during the timing.  I do not "allow" students to correct during timings, but it is impossible to stop everyone when you have 28 in a class.  I have many who consistently turn in error-free, 3-minute timings.

I agree with the expert that technique is more important during the first weeks of keyboarding regardless of the speed and accuracy level reached by the student.  At Parkview we believe this so strongly that 80 percent of a student's grade for the first six weeks is based on technique.

Question #37: Do you average technique grades or take the highest with improvement?

Expert's Response: I do not believe in averaging grades.  I feel it penalizes the student.  Instead, I expect the students to achieve a specific level at least twice or maybe three times before recording the grade.  I use the same procedure for both speed and accuracy.

Student's Reaction: Unlike the expert,  I do believe in averaging the best outcome  of the different areas of technique.  For example, I would average the best workstation grade, the best position on the keyboard grade, and the best keystroking grade. I think all are equally important.  It would be more appropriate for me to rate the students as oppose to giving them a grade.   However, I understand that grades must be given.  I would not average for speed and accuracy as the expert stated in his response.

Question #38: We use the highest 3 minute grading scale the entire semester and take the highest grades (5), then average them for their timed writing portion.  Do you see anything wrong with that?

Expert's Response: I do not believe in averaging typewriting grades.  I believe that you should give students credit for what they have achieved.  I would perhaps expect the students to achieve a specific level twice or even three times before I would count it as a valid achievement level.  In averaging, you actually are not giving the students credit or their latest achievement level.
 

Student's Reaction: I think this is a philosophical issue.  The expert's position certainly has merit. but what happens if a student does not produce a second or third timing at a given level?  I personally have no problem with averaging the highest two, three, or four highest timed writing scores to determine the timed writing grade average.  I usually require a minimum number of timed writings to be submitted (5); then I take the highest three and average them together.

Question #39: What are the weights and categories that you use for grading in a first semester keyboarding course?

Expert's Response: In my Beginning Keyboarding class the students use the South-Western typing book.  This book has a keyboarding program that comes with the book.  I use this program for the teaching of the keyboard alphabetic and numeric and I also use the numeric keypad part of the program to teach the numeric keypad, which I feel is very important for them to learn.  Some students in my class can already type when entering the class; some have never touched a computer. The class is designed for those who have never typed, so those that have typed are always finished with the material way ahead, and those that haven't are usually discouraged if they are sitting by a 45 wpm person.

I do not cover all the material in the software.  I have the students use chapters 1-13 (which covers all of the alphabetic keyboard) at two lessons/class period.  I do not have them complete the section called "textbook keying" in each chapter.  They strictly use the drills and new key lessons.  I then skip to lessons 18 - 30 (which cover the numbers and the symbols) again, they do not do the textbook keying, only the lesson material and the drill material.

After the students complete these lessons they go to the section of the program where they learn the numeric keypad operation. This consists of 4 lessons.

I record all of the lessons to be sure that the students complete all the material, but I am not overly concerned with the speed or the accuracy.  The program does give speed timings for each lesson which show up on the printed lesson summary, and the students like to take these several times on their own.  The lesson will not let the student go on if too many errors have been made.

I have found that, in general, students seem to do better with speed and accuracy since I have switched to the software as opposed to using the book.
 

I do not "grade" any of this learning work.  Some students naturally have a better memory for association than others, which is a great part of learning to type.  I found in the past when I was teaching from the book and had a little better control over where we were from day to day than I do now, that many students became discouraged if I assigned a "grade" for their progress at the beginning.  I always tell the class that when they finish the program lessons that they should be typing about 24 wpm.  I actually feel that they should be typing about 30-32 and most of them do.  It does give the few slow typists a little hope, and for those that are typing 30 or so they think they are great, which is good. For those who are typing 20-25 it is still more than they knew when they started.

After the lessons on the keyboard I change over to WordPerfect 6.1 to teach the formatting.  Naturally the first material is on margins, centering, etc.  Then I teach the letter styles.  After the letter styles section I give a test.  I usually teach the block and modified block at the same time, use the textbook as a guide, refer to other textbook explanations about letter styles so they won't think that our textbook is a god, etc.  At the end of the letter styles section I review, check their practice letters (classwork and homework that they keep in a ring binder so I don't have a thousand papers to carry home) and then I test.

The first test includes one short invitation that is centered on all lines and three short-to-average letters in a variety of styles.  I grade a little differently than most other teachers.  Many typing teachers take off so many points for an error and count the words, etc.  The way I look at it there are three things that you are looking for in a typed piece of work--1.  Speed, 2. Format, and 3. Accuracy.  If you think about it, there are a lot of things going on besides just typing when giving production problems deciding the format, saving and printing the file, accurate typing, etc.  This is how I determine the grade on the work.  I look at the centering problem and 3 letters that I think they should be able to type in 40-45 minutes.  I assign the letters and give all the instructions. They are allowed to use their books for any reference that they want, they are supposed to use the spell check, and they may print out their work, check it, edit it, and can reprint if they choose.

(None of us are perfect typists, and now that we have grammar check and spell check my thought is that the work, however little the student is able to do, should be pretty good, and, if a student is a good typist, then he/she should have plenty of time to run the spell check and the grammar check. To me, this should be part of what we need to be teaching in typing in today's classroom.  It is a tool, why not use it?  It isn't like it is going to go away. I love spell check.)
 

My grading is divided into three parts. The first part is speedÐhow many letters did you do?  I expect them to be able to type the centering problem and at least one letter.  If a student types only the centering problem generally he/she has not come to class and isn't going to pass anyway.  This usually gets a D for speed and for the test.  (If the work is not centered, poorly typed and the student obviously doesn't have a clue, the paper gets an F.)

Most beginning students can type the centering problem and at least 2 of the letters.  This is how my grading runs.  The centering problem and one letter gets a C for speed.  The centering problem and 2 letters gets a B for speed and the centering problem and 3 letters gets an A for speed.

Then I look at the format.  If there is one formatting error on the page the paper does not pass.  For instance, if the letter for modified block has the signature lines back at the left margin then that paper does not count.  So conceivably, a student who has typed the centering problem and all three letters would have an A for speed but could get an F for formatting. (Wrong margins, wrong spacing, no date, wrong letter style for a particular letter, not centered horizontally AND vertically on the centering problem, etc. [I can give you more info if you want it.]) If a student types the centering problem and only 2 of the letters and all formatting is correct he/she will get an A for formatting.  I consider that all of the formatting was done correctly and the student should receive excellent recognition for what was done.

Then I look for accuracy.  One typo on a page automatically disqualifies the page.  Now, you have to decide what is a typo and what is formatting (such as the two-letter state abbreviation, etc.).  If all typing is accurate and at least 2 papers were complete then the student gets an A for accuracy.

Now let's say that I have three grades for the test paperÐSpeed (A) Formatting (F) and Accuracy (B).  I average these grades and give the student that grade for the test.  After having taught typing for about 20 years I find that this gives the grade that I would have given the student anyway and the student seems to understand better where his/her shortcomings are.  Some students seem to think that if they finish all the work that is all that matters.  Some feel that if they are accurate that they should have an A.  This way they see all the three necessary parts of a finished document and where they need to improve to make it better.
 

For reports (manuscripts) I have students type practice assignments in class, then they have to read 4 articles on business (ethics, desktop publishing, international business and multimedia presentations) and type summaries as one-page reports with a reference.  They are terrible at this.  Even at the university, most don't understand what they read, can't summarize what they have read, aren't accurate in formatting or typing and that's with the book open and two weeks notice that the assignment is due AND time in class to type it.  Simply amazing.  I give a single grade on this project.  Those who make a B or C are usually at the top of the class.  Most make a D or F.

Tables in WordPerfect (or Word) are a piece of cake.  I usually spend about 4 days on this and then give a test.  I use the same grading as for the letters speed/format/accuracy.  I give four tables, some small, some large, some with shading some without, all have to be centered horizontally and vertically, some have numbers, some have text, some have both,  some have different justification in columns, etc.  Almost all students make an A on this test. (It sort of balances off the reports.)

These are the tests during the semester.  Then for the final exam I use the full 2 Ú hours and give a three part testÐone on letters, one on reports, one on tables.  The test on letters is 4 lettersÐshort and average length.  Same grading as before speed/format/accuracy.  The report test is one report with a reference section and one reference.  Students are required to format for unbound and left bound and print each one.  The tables test is like the first tables test that they have already hadÐfour tables.

I grade the final just like the others speed/format/accuracy (how many/ how well/ how accurate).  I do tell students that if they make an A on all three parts of the finalÐletters, reports, tablesÐthat they will make an A in the course. I explain to them that typing is a skill that they will become progressively better at as they use it, just like any other skill.  Therefore, if they make an A on all three parts of the final I would consider them an A typist.  (They don't ever make As.)  If a student starts out as an A student from the beginning and messes up on parts of the final, I usually don't penalize him/her for that unless he/she makes B's on all three parts.

At the university these students have so much stuff in their wagons that I don't see how many of them ever pass, much less make As on finals.  During final week they are moving out of dorms, have sick children and are just trying to take the final to get it over with, having to take time off from work because the final is never at regular class times.  I'm really a sap about that kind of stuff.  I do (I think I do anyway) make them feel that I am on their side as far as their grades go.  Everyone goes into my final feeling that they have a chance to make an A in my class.  For the most part, if they started out slow and inaccurate, they stay that way, but I always try to make them feel that they can do it if they just try a little harder and that they have a chance to make a great grade in typing.
 

After you have taught typing for a while you will see that you can pretty well judge a student's ability as far as whether he/she is an excellent typist (A) a better-than-average typist (B) and average typist (C) a below-average typist (D) or a failure (F).  Any teacher who tells you different just doesn't want to say it.  Look at it this wayÐif you look at a student's typing ability ask yourself thisÐ"Would I want this person typing my personal work?"  then you will know whether they are an A, B, C, or D student.

Many teachers use the method that if there is one error on the paper then the paper is an F. Then at the end of the term the student gets a grade from out of the clear blue sky, because they have so many F's they don't see how they are passing.  I used to grade some of my classes like that.  Now, however, students take my class as an elective to learn to type.  They are somewhat motivatedÐthey think that keyboarding is going to be an easy grade.  Many are weak students who have not succeeded at lecture-type courses or are in developmental classes and don't qualify for anything else. Many don't come out of my class as great typists.  However, about 80% come out of my class being average typists who can type about 28 - 45 words a minute if they have never had typing.  They are using it for personal use, and I can't see why I should discourage them from feeling success by putting only an F on every paper that they turn in to me (which I could easily do).   This way I can put a passing grade on the parts of their work that they are successful with, even if the final grade on a paper only comes to a C or D.

I did grade differently when the keyboarding courses were part of the secretarial curriculum. In that case I felt that those students should have been near-perfect, but it is different now.  As I look at my classes now, I still can tell which students are going to make an A, B, C, etc., but I find that this method of grading that I use now is almost always in correlation with the type of work that the student is doing.  In the past when I used other methods of grading, I was not as satisfied that the grading method gave enough credit to students for the work that they were doing and sometimes did not penalize them when there was a need to.

I have a colleague of mine that is going to try to use my method of grading this semester, I will let you know how she likes it.

I don't know how I would teach typing in a high-school situation.  I am spoiled by students who mostly come to learn, even if they do lose track of that about Ú way into the semester.  I don't have problems like what to do with someone who can finish the assigned work earlyÐthey just leave the class.  You will not have that freedom.
 

Hopefully this has answered question #1.  Being the blabber mouth that I am I feel stressed by my slow typing speed in being able to explain what I do in class. Maybe it is time for me to buy one of those voice typing systems.  Then this whole question would be moot wouldn't it?  Ah-h-h-h technology.  What I wouldn't give to be where we are today and to be your age to see what technology has in store for the next 30 years in the classroom.  Hopefully after 5 or 6 more I will be basking in the Florida sun whenever I want, and I won't have to learn WordPerfect 25.

Student's Reaction: Wow!  The expert certainly gave me some ideas and had great things to say in her answering this particular question.  I agree and disagree with some of her points.  For instance, I disagree with disqualifying a students work strictly on the basis of one error.  I think this is just a bit too picky for me.  Part of teaching a skill is to increase the students self-esteem as they learn.  By giving students failing grades on papers because of one error, I won't be helping self-esteem.  I also feel students need to know a portion of what they prepared was correct and worth their time.  By completing a paper and receiving credit for the work completed, as well as being graded for errors, students work harder to achieve that 'A' paper.  My overall goal for students is that they become proficient, not perfect, at production and keyboarding.  I want my students to use their skills in the future and to be comfortable with computers in general.

Keying near perfect at the 9th-10th grade level is possible, but unlikely.  In order to be fair our department has devised a method for grading that works for us and benefits our students.  Students receive their overall grade based on three areas: 50% for daily work, 40% for test grades, and 10% for timed writings.

Daily work grades consist of class work completed on the computer averaged with a technique grade.  Tests grades come from objective evaluations the first nine weeks and formatting evaluations given the second nine weeks.  Formatting evaluations are tests where students are encouraged to use resources such as their books and notes from class.  Students are graded on timed writings near the end of both nine week periods

I like the expert's ideas and categories for grading papers or documents.  Her dividing of assignments based on speed or the number completed in a specific period of time is something I will try.  I feel this fits best when I am grading students on a semester test.  I plan to try her scale this semester and see how my students fair.  On the high school level our grading is slightly different from that which the expert uses.  Our 'A' is a score of 90-100%, our 'B' is 80-89%, our 'C' is 70-79%, and anything below a 70% is considered failing.  The expert seemed like a very nice person.  I enjoyed sharing ideas with her and see seemed to have the same "talk-a-tive" personality I have.

Question #39: What are the weights and categories that you use for grading in a first semester keyboarding course?

ADVANCE Expert's Response: Here are the categories and weights for my first-semester keyboarding class:
Timed Writings          30 percent
Production Tests         20 percent
Classwork                   20 percent
Homework                  20 percent
Final Exam                 10 percent

The final exam is a combination of production work as well as some question/answer items.

Student's Reaction: My first question is where is the technique grade? Does he not grade their technique at all? I am surprised not to find it listed. My only guess is that this scale is for college students, and he feels they don't need to be graded on technique. Maybe college students are expected to be so far along that good technique has already been established. Can a beginning college student be that much different than an average high school student in a beginning typing class? I guess you can tell I disagree with this grading scale.

I think the following would be a much better scale for a first-semester keyboarding class:

Technique                  70 percent
Timed Writings          20 percent (take the 3 highest grades)
Final Exam                 10 percent

Question #39: What are the weights and categories that you use for grading in a first semester keyboarding course?

Expert's Response: Because I do not teach keyboarding as a course, this answer may not be exactly what you need. In my class I grade using the following criteria: Posture/Eyes (not looking and sitting correctly) - 10%, Warm-ups (those activities at the beginning of each class) - 30%, and Drill Practice (commercial keyboarding software package) - 60%. Because the class does not focus on keyboarding, timed writings and document preparation are not components in the grading process. Document preparation is a component of the Word Processing section, but is not tied to a keyboarding grade.

I would be happy to give you information regarding our high school criteria for a keyboarding class if you need that information.
 

Student's Response: Without the inclusion of percentages for production items and timings, it is difficult to compare the expert's with my own ideas. I use the following breakdown, for my classes:
Drills                20%
Production            20%
Timings               10%
Work Ethics           20%
Level Tests           20%
Final Exam           10%
I record more grades in the timing area during the second and third six weeks than during the first. There is also more grading of production items during the second and third six weeks. The first six weeks is focused on drills with some timings and their work ethics grade. With the grade disk software we use in Cobb County, I set the percentages as above and then adjust the focus by grading more items from one area or another.

Question #39: What are the weights and categories that you use for grading in a first semester keyboarding course?

Expert's Response: Question number two is difficult to answer without knowing what you have for equipment, software, etc.  However, if your goal is to teach the keyboarding skill, then I would emphasize speed and accuracy.  To a lesser extent, I would test the manipulative skills on the hardware and software.  I believe that students should achieve a minimum of 35 words per minute. Hopefully, they will be closer to 45 wpm with 1 error or less by the end of the first semester.

Student's Reaction: I don't feel the expert addressed the question.  In a beginning keyboarding course, grading categories should include technique, problems and tests, timed writings, final exam, and perhaps participation.  In the first part of the course, technique should be weighted more heavily than the other categories, perhaps 60 percent.  As the course progresses, technique should be weighted less as the categories for problems and texts, and timed writings are weighted more.  Participation should never count more than 10 percent of the semester grade.  The final exam may be weighted 10-15 percent of the semester grade.

Question #47: What weight do you give to typing technique, timings, document processing, tests, etc. to determine the final grade in a beginning keyboard class?
 

Expert's Response: As I move through the first semester of  keyboarding, the grading objective keeps changing.  In the first few weeks, the emphasis is on technique, about mid-semester it switches to speed and by the end the emphasis is on speed and accuracy.  I perhaps would give a written test for some technique items.  I would not give a written test for anything other than hardware and software beyond that.  Remember, the skill of keyboarding should be performance-based.  It is more a matter of what I can do and demonstrate than what I can answer on a paper/pencil test.  My scale would be something close to 50 percent technique, 50 percent speed and accuracy the first semester.

Student's Reaction: I would add the grading of document processing and tests.   I would probably use the scale of 25 percent for each.  My scale would probably be 25 percent technique, 25 percent speed and accuracy, 25 percent document processing, and 25 percent test on hardware and software.  Maybe a little less on hardware and software and a little more on speed and accuracy.  I will gain more wisdom in this areas as I teach.

Question #47: What weight do you give to typing technique, timings, document processing, test, etc. to determine the final grade in a beginning keyboarding class?

Expert's Response: Because I do not teach a beginning keyboarding class, the answer I give may not meet with your requirements.  In general, technique is about 10% of a keyboarding grade in my class.  The processed documents count for about 60% once the keys have been memorized.  The drill and practice of learning the letters is about 30% using a typing program and warmup activities.

Student's Reaction: I think that technique should count more at the beginning of the semester and less at the end.  Technique should count for 20% of a students first reported grade but 10% for the total semester.  I disagree with the expert's grading scale of 60% for document processing.  I think production should count for 50% of the grade and skill building, including timed writings should count for the remaining 40%.

Question #47: What weight do you give to typing technique, timings, document processing, test, etc., to determine the final grade in a beginning keyboarding class?

Expert's Response: Here are the categories and weights for items in my beginning keyboarding class:

Timed writings 30 percent
Production Tests 20 percent
Classwork/quizzes 20 percent
Homework  20 percent
Final exam  10 percent

The final exam contains some test questions as well as production problems.  I do not grade for technique.  I teach proper techniques and I correct students when I see improper techniques being used.  However, I have never been satisfied with any plan to assign a grade for technique--it seems much to subjective.

Student's Reaction: The expert's categories and weights seem fair.  I would come up with a weight of maybe 10 percent for techniques to be access as I'm walking around the classroom.  Timed writings for speed and accuracy (which I hope is included)  weight  I think is on target as that is what we are aiming our goals towards.

Question #47: What weight do you give to typing technique, timings, document processing, tests, etc. to determine the final grade in a beginning typing class:

Expert's Response: In general terms,
Competency  1st Qt.  2nd Qt. 3rd Qt. 4th Qt.
Technique  70%  30  20  0
Basic Skill
  Timings--3-5min.   10  10  20
Skill Building
Improvement  10  5  5  5
Work Habits  10  5  5  5
Doc. Proc. Appl.
Tests  20  20  20
Doc. Proc. Appl.
Daily  10  30  30  30

Hope this chart will be helpful.  Notice the heavy emphasis on technique in the first marking period.  Note, too, that I believe that in-class work should be weighted in each marking period; however, this does not mean that every piece of work produced in class will be graded.  Instead, I stress selective grading in that all student work must be submitted and the teacher can determine which pieces on which days will be evaluated.  I recommend this evaluation be completed by using "Production Points" which is a grading system different from the 100, 99, etc. system used on tests. Occasionally, I encourage "Bonus Points" to keep students working productively during class time.  Assignments should vary and should involve students in composing, researching, and presenting their findings in their own way; therefore, production work fosters language arts skills and does not involve heavy duty copy typing from the text.  As a former English teacher, I hope that you recognize the value of teaching English and language arts skills in the keyboarding classroom.  It is so important to reinforce the academic skills in keyboarding classes!

Student's Reaction: I think that the way she grades is great!!  At our school we have been trying to convince the curriculum director that a set grading system for our program is not good.  At this time for every grading period the percentages are 60% test, 20% daily and 20% final exam.  If we change it, we will get in trouble.  I like the way she grades high on technique at the beginning of the year when it is the most important thing the students do.  I also agree with continuing grading technique throughout the year with a lower percentage.

The other thing I really like is the selective grading.  I know this is better for the teacher, but also for the student.  This way the student is always going to do their best work.  She also makes a good point about the assignments.  I think I am going to try to incorporate more composing, researching and projects into the daily assignments.  This breaks the boring keying straight from the book.  It also incorporates cross-curriculum and multi cultural ideas.

All in all I agree with what she says.  I hope to use the selective grading, and the other assignments.  I just wish I could use her grading scale without getting in trouble.

Question #47: What weight do you give to typing technique, timings, document processing, tests, etc. to determine the final grade in a beginning keyboarding class?

Expert's Response: At the end of a one-year course, timed writings--20%, production tests--40%, theory tests--10%, proofreading--10%, daily grades--20%.  I never give any weight to technique.

Student's Reaction: In a one-year course technique would not enter into their final grades.  It is dropped after the first semester, although we still remind them of good techniques from time to time.  We do not give grades for timings after the first semester, although throughout the semester the students still ask if they can do a timed writing to see how fast they can type.  These timed writings are highly motivational and the students like to take them.  We count daily grades 60%, unit tests 30% and Final exam 10% in our word processing course, which is taken as a second semester course.

Question #47: What weight do you give to typing technique, timings, document processing, tests, etc. to determine the final grade in a beginning keyboarding class?

Expert's Response:
Technique  none
Timings  none
Document Processing none
Tests 6 graded tests divided into three grades per test: Speed/Format/Accuracy
3 grades from the final exam count more heavily if they are better than
previous grades

Student's Reaction: I disagree with this evaluating system.  I do think teachers should give some grade on technique.  I also think a part of the grade should come from daily work, such as document processing and timings.  I do not know if so many tests are necessary, but if that is all you are grading, I guess it would be okay.

Question #75: How do you determine the speed which students should be typing during

the course of a semester?  How do you determine what is an A,B,C, etc.?

Expert's Response: I have preset speeds for my classes.  I use the teacher's book and those goals that are set by the publishers/authors.  Then I "doctor" those.  I usually think in terms of college students, first semester keyboarding, never say a keyboard before.  Those students need to be achieving 30 - 40 words a minute with 5 or fewer errors.  Got to be honest with you.  Using computer keyboards, word-processing software, and quick correct functions makes this a little more challenging.  Oh well.  I don't determine the speed based on how well everyone is doing.  If everyone is typing 50 words a minute in a first semester course, then they shouldn't be there.  I grade according.

Grades are determined according to gross words a minute with 5-error cut off.  I don't use Net words a minute until second semester.   And you should know this--I don't like timed writings, never have.  I want students to keyboard correctly more than I want them to be super fast keyboarders.  I believe that speed will come with accuracy and time (experience).

Student's Reaction: My thoughts also.  I think accuracy before speed.  My students get so excited when they have accomplished a goal for them that speed or time is not important to me.  These students will be going out into the work place and they need to know that accuracy will get them the job before speed and mistakes.
Again the old adage - MAILABILITY.
 

 Teaching In The Middle Schools

Question #1: In our school district, middle school business courses devote only four weeks to teaching Keyboarding.  Given this amount of time, what specific area(s) of keyboarding skill(s) should be developed?

Expert's Response: Instructor should concentrate on the alphabetic keyboard with emphasis on technique.  Accuracy should be stressed.  I would introduce to students to numeric keyboarding with the numeric keypad.

Student's Reaction: I agree with part of her answer.  Yes, concentrate on the alphabetic Keyboard stressing accuracy.  I do not think introducing the number pad is appropriate with only four-weeks of keyboarding.  Yes, numbers should be addressed, but not the number pad.  I believe it would be hard enough to get the entire alphabet and numbers taught in four-weeks.  In my opinion there is no time for the number pad.

Question #60: What purposes and goals should keyboarding have in middle school given the course only lasts 45 days and word processing, spreadsheets, and other skills must be taught as well?

Expert's Response: I think the goal of a keyboarding course in the middle school should be just that KEYBOARDING.  Developing locational security on the keyboarding and building an automated level of speed and accuracy is about all one could accomplish.  I would not cover any other applications.

Student's Reaction: In addition to just keyboarding, I would introduce the parts of the computer and technique.  When the students get into high school, they should be familiar with computer parts and techniques.  They may not learn everything, but they should be introduced.

Question #60: What should be the goals/purposes in teaching keyboarding in middle school?

Expert's Response: I must qualify my answer to question #3.  First, I think the goals/purposes of keyboarding in middle schools should be personal use; that is, students should be taught touch keyboarding with applications relevant to their home/school use.  Learning to keyboard personal letters, term reports, essays, etc., should be the goal.
 

Now the qualifications.  You said it is a 45-day course.  The items above can be covered in 45 days.  However, your question says "given the course only lasts 45 days and word processing, spreadsheets, and other skills must be taught as well?  I question why spreadsheets would need to be taught in a middle school.  If computers are used for keyboarding instruction, some WP software package is probably included, so that, I
feel, is reasonable.  I'm not sure what the "other skills" are, but it would seem that anything beyond touch keyboarding and some personal use skills goes beyond my vision of keyboarding instruction in middle schools.

Student's Reaction: I agree with the expert in that we try to teach too much to the students in the middle school keyboarding class.  I feel we should teach them to know the different commands, the keyboard and the basic skills they will need until they are in high school for the more in-depth classes.  The students do not know why they need spreadsheets, business letters and etc.  Again, I feel a working knowledge of the keyboard would satisfy a 45-day course.

Question #60: What purposes and goals should keyboarding have in middle school given the course only lasts 45 days and word processing, spreadsheet, and other skills must be taught as well?

Expert's Response: In the middle or jr. high school, courses of keyboarding are not always taught.  They may be incorporated into a computer applications or introduction to computer course.  The Goal of keyboarding at the Jr. high or middle level should be the memorization of the keys.  Touch typing should be the goal for the students, but speed should not be the final result.  If students have a constant connection with the keys, and practice memorizing, speed will build as they progress in school.  It is not fair to grade students on speed when a keyboarding unit is only taught for 2 or 3 weeks.  Practice, practice, practice is the key for the middle level student to begin to become proficient at typing.  In a nut shell - Memorize the keys, practice correct posture, Don't look at fingers, and practice practice practice!

Student's Reaction: I agree that the only thing that can be expected of students in a 9-week course in terms of keyboarding is to properly learn how to touch type.  It takes several weeks just to learn how to do type.  Even after several weeks students will continue to struggle for some time.

Question #60: What purpose and goals should keyboarding have in middle school given the course only lasts 45 days and word processing, spreadsheets, and other skills must be taught as well?

Expert's Response: The purpose of keyboarding at the middle school level is to develop and improve keyboarding in order of these same students to be able to be successful in high school and in the work force.
 

A course that lasts 45 days is not long enough to focus on word processing, spreadsheets, and other skills and be properly developed.  The only way that these skills could be handled in 45 days is to have these same students already proficient in keyboarding and computer basics before reaching the middle school.

Student's Response: Yes, I agree that it is for them to improve keyboarding for success in high school.  I also believe it is like an introductory course for the students to learn what a person can do with a computer.  Developing keyboarding skills should be stressed, by using the correct technique.  Today, we have so many middle school teachers who do not have a Business Education degree who teaches keyboarding.  First, the teachers need to make sure they know how to stress technique, rather than letting a software program do the teaching for them.

Overall, I believe middle school keyboarding is an introduction for the high school level courses.  It gives the students some idea on what a word processing class, and computer tech class is like.  It by no means teaches the student all the skills needed for success in one of these classes.

Question #60: What purposes and goals should keyboarding have in middle school given the course only lasts 45 days and word processing, spreadsheets, and other skills must be taught as well?

Expert's Response:
3 weeks--Key placement (sans numbers and symbols)
2 weeks--Word Processing (book report and simple request letter
2 weeks--Spreadsheet (grades)
1 week--DTP (portfolio cover, locker sign, title page for a book report
1 week--Database (inventory CD or book collection)

Student's Reaction: I believe the expert has an excellent idea for the keyboarding for middle schoolers.  She covers the alphabetic keyboard quickly and then gets to the formatting and concepts required to cover in a manner very pertinent to the middle school learner.  The assignments are realistic, simple enough, yet useful and the students should see how useful the skill is in their own applications.

Question #61: Should beginning keyboarding be taught in the elementary grades, in middle school, or in high school?
 

Expert's Response: Good question.  One that has been addressed for many, many years.  We know that students can learn how to keyboard very well in the high school and middle school levels.  So these are both appropriate levels.  I would guess that some elementary teachers have tried to teach their students how to keyboard using the proper techniques.  We really need to know what kind of success the elementary teachers have had.  Best answer is to teach keyboarding as soon as possible.  However, we need to know if this is successful at the elementary level before recommending policy.  This would make a good study involving elementary teachers.

Student's Reaction: I really feel that if it is possible, we should teach keyboarding in the elementary levels.  With the technology used today, and with computers becoming more common in the home, children will begin using them at even younger ages.  They will learn to type with the hunt and peck method.  The longer they practice the bad habits, the harder they will be to break.

Question #61: Should beginning keyboarding be taught in the elementary grades, in middle school, or in high school?

Expert's Response: I believe beginning keyboarding should be taught to students in the elementary.  My 6 and 11-year old daughters benefit from "computers" in their school district, with instruction beginning in Kindergarten.  Certified business teachers teach  "computers" or  "keyboarding" or "computer applications" in our district at K-4, 5-8, and 9-12 school buildings.  Now a first grader, my daughter exhibits correct fingering and a strong desire to work on the computer.  It's evidence it works!

Student's Reaction: Agree.  I believe by teaching students earlier we encourage correct technique and enhance proper keyboarding skills, thus limiting the "damage" done if students learn on their own.

Question #61: Should beginning keyboarding be taught in the elementary grades, in middle school, or in high school?

Expert's Response: We should begin early with keyboarding being properly taught to students because students are using keyboards early as a means of accessing the computer.  Hand size, dexterity, and mental development should all be taken into consideration when deciding when to begin this training.  Probably around fifth grade, 10 or 11 years old is about as early as keyboarding can be successfully taught.  Hand size, dexterity, and mental focus have progressed to a working level at that time.

Student's Reaction: I think her statement is valid concerning hand size, dexterity, and mental development.  However, if they have an interest in the computer, they should be exposed to it at that time.  Introducing games, reading, math, and other software will give them that exposure.

Question #61: Should beginning keyboarding be taught in the elementary grades, in middle school, or in high school?
 

Expert's Response: At one time, I felt typewriting--or keyboarding now--should not be taught until high school because boys are not prepared.  Now, however, I think some keyboarding should be taught in the elementary school because students are learning computers in these schools.  They should be taught proper keyboarding early and be able to use these techniques throughout their lives.

Student's Reaction: I strongly agree with the expert that beginning keyboarding should be taught in the elementary school.  Otherwise, students have to be taught to correct bad habits formed in elementary school.  The use of computers has drastically increased in the elementary school.  Therefore, instead of learning bad habits students should be taught correct keying techniques as soon as possible.  The emphasis of the course for elementary students should be correct technique and touch control of the keyboard.

Question #81: Our school system is proposing to teach beginning keyboarding in the elementary grades.  If this is done, who should teach the course and what training should they have.  What role can high school business teacher play in this arrangement?

Expert's Response: If the business teacher can become certified and has time in his/her schedule, it is best if he/she teaches the course.  Next best option is to team teach with an elementary teacher.  However, what you will probably end up with is an elementary teacher teaching the course.

You can assist the teacher(s) by providing an in-service.  Demonstrate proper technique and model teaching a lesson.  (Dictate slowly; dictate everything in first line, dictate second line as a phrase rather than individual letters--students are responsible for spaces and return/enter, and punctuation; etc.)

Offer to write down the curriculum.  (Our elementary teacher teaches the keys in two, 30 minute sessions!  Writing the lessons will eliminate this from occurring.)

Student's Reaction: I think a business teacher should teach keyboarding if at all possible.  However, I do realize that most business teachers are not certified to teach elementary grades.  If there is not a business teacher who can teach the class then I feel that the elementary teacher should go to a workshop on teaching keyboarding.  If I understand right, the keyboarding teacher introduces the keyboard in 2 30-minute sessions.  This is horrible.  There is no way a child can learn at that pace.  I do not feel that anybody can learn that fast.  This is why more attention must be placed on who teaches the keyboarding class to the children or we are just wasting our time.
 

Question #81: Our school system is proposing to teach beginning keyboarding in the elementary grades.  If this is done, who should teach the course and what training should they have.  What role can high school business teachers play in this arrangement?

Expert's Response: In our state of Missouri, any 'certified teacher' in any area and at any level (elem, middle, secondary) can teach a course called 'computers'. Therefore, schools have caught on and offer keyboarding at all grade levels if they call it computers.  Therefore, a business teacher (MO certified 9-12 and a separate one for middle school, grades 5-9) can teach at levels below their certificate level just because the course is called computers.  Business teachers are the most common teachers teaching elem and middle school computers/keyboarding.  I believe business teachers are the best qualified to teach keyboarding and computers.  But each state's certificate requirements will vary.  High School business teachers can provide in-service to those who may teach elem and middle school computers and keyboarding if those teachers have no back ground in key boarding methodology.  For example, the district in which my daughters attend, a certified high school business teacher teaches at the elem school but teaches 'computers'. However, keyboarding skills are taught as well.  My 6 year old first grade daughter has exhibited correct fingering and a love of computers as a result.  A certified high school business teacher reaches at the middle school.  Her certificate reads grades 7-12, although the school is 5-8.  She has been allowed to teach hereÑgrandfathered in kind of.  My 11 year old 5th grade daughter benefits form this arrangement at the middle school.  Of course, certified high school business teachers teach at the high school and area voc-tech school."

Student's Reaction: Computers are taught at Braelinn elementary in Peachtree City where I pick up students on my bus.  I interviewed the 'computer teacher'.  She teaches keyboarding but alphabetically.  First A then B, not home row, top row etc. They use Hertzog's System of Keyboarding.  The teacher is certified with classroom experience and is self-taught on the computer. The computer teachers in the county got together and decided that based on research 'computer' should only be offered to students from the 3rd grade up.  Most students would be 8 years old.  They claim that by that time they have 'internalized' the alphabet.  Other factors considered included, emotional stability and hand span.  The students' classroom teacher would decide what the computer project at the end of the course would be and whether or not 'computer' would be included in any other projects through out the year.  I have watched the students and there are never more than about 10 students in the class at a time and it is not a stressful environment.

Question #81: Our school system is proposing to teach beginning keyboarding in the elementary grades.  If this is done, who should teach the course and what training should they have.  What role can high school business teachers play in this arrangement?
 

Expert's Response: Who should teach elementary keyboarding?  That's a tough one, but I'd give the edge to elementary teachersÑif they know how to touch-type themselves.  I think it's easier to teach an elementary teacher how to teach keyboarding (after all, they won't be teaching formatting or word-processing) than it is to teach a high school business teacher how to deal effectively with 6-9 year olds.

One solution for this is what I did once while teaching at Central Michigan University.  I offered a one-week one-semester-credit course entitled "Teaching Elementary Keyboarding."  That was about 10 years ago, but the course filled up (maximum of 25 students for this graduate-level "special-topics" course) immediately; and I don't know who learned moreÑthe students (elementary teachers) about keyboarding methods or me about elementary education.  It was a good experience.

Student's Reaction: I have reservations about teaching keyboarding in elementary school.  While I recognize that students become involved with the computer at younger and younger ages, I am not sure that teaching keyboarding as we now know it is the answer.

Firstly, courses such as art, music, physical education, and keyboarding (were it offered) are taught only once or twice a week for 20-25 minutes to elementary students.  How effective would an attempt be teach keyboarding skills that require daily practice to students you see only once or twice per week?

Secondly, the physical development of elementary students can be a hindrance.  Studies show that the tailbone development of middle school students makes it extremely difficult for them to sit for extended periods of time (a 40-minute class period) without regard to "correct" posture.  Their hands tend to be tiny and their feet do not yet touch the floor.  One might suggest replacing the furniture to accommodate these concerns.  Realistically, those of us in classrooms with these little guys know that it is unlikely that administrators will consider this a vital expenditure.  Many of these same administrators don't understand why learning to keyboard correctly is important anyway.

Finally, teaching keyboarding in elementary school would leave students with high recognition of having been exposed to the keyboard.  This would not necessarily mean that they had actually learned the keyboard.  It would, however, make it extremely difficult to teach them in middle school amidst the chorus of "We learned this last year."

Question #82: If keyboarding is taught in the elementary grades, what keyboarding-related skills should we teach at the high school level?
 

Expert's Response: IF keyboarding IS taught in the elementary grades, high school should not be teaching keyboarding at all.  High school should be focusing on document preparation and production.  The skills needed in the future are in the areas of cooperative problem-solving and workplace ethics.  If keyboarding is properly taught, students should be using their skill to solve problems using word processing, spreadsheets, database, presentations, desktop publishing, and others.

Student's Reaction: I agree that if it is ever taught in elementary school, then high school should not teach it.  We just need to make sure that a Business Education Teacher teaches at the elementary level as well as the middle school level.  We should then do as the expert said, stress document preparation and production.  We should also do more group work, because, yes, companies do use teams to complete projects.  We should focus more on the upper level classes such as desktop publishing, international business, computer tech, and electronic presentation.  I do agree with the expert.

 Teaching Ninth Graders

Question #3:  How much word processing should be taught in a beginning ninth grade keyboarding class?

Expert's Response: When the students are learning the keyboard, I feel they would not be taught word processing simultaneously.  After they have learned at least the alphabet, they can begin to move into word processing.  You've not indicated to me the length of the ninth grade class; therefore, I am assuming it is for one semester. (Question No. 3 talks about 90-minute periods for 9 weeks; I think we might be talking about the same time frame.)
They should be able to do the following:
different letter styles with special directions and envelopes
reports, multi-page with side headings, footnotes, endnotes, bibliography, table of contents, and cover page
three-column tables with subtitles and column headings
I feel the above can be covered (along with skill development) at the ninth grade level in one semester.

Student's Reaction: I agree that teachers should not teach word processing until the students have learned the alphabet.  If we are talking about a semester with 90 minute classes, I agree that the above documents should be able to be mastered.  However, I do believe that developing good technique is also important.

Question #4: How long should a ninth grade keyboarding class run on 90 minute periods.  Should it be 6 weeks, 9 weeks, or 1 semester?

Expert's Response: Since most textbook lessons are arranged for 45 50 minute class periods and the keyboard is introduced in the first 25 30 lessons or so, then 6 weeks should be sufficient to cover the keyboard.  Class periods can be adjusted as necessary by adding or eliminating jobs in which no new material is introduced.  Each instructor should determine the amount of material that needs to be covered and adjust the content according to schedules and curriculum guides.

Student's Reaction: I generally agree with the expert's response.  I do not feel, however, she really addressed the issue posed here which was how many weeks long should a course be if daily sessions are 90 minutes long.  Assuming a semester of 18 weeks, and meeting  five 50- to 55- minute periods each week,  approximately 75-90 lessons of a standard keyboarding text could be covered; 25-30 lessons could be covered in 6 weeks.  During five 90-minute periods each week, 38-45 lessons could be covered in 6 weeks, depending on student and curriculum considerations.  With periods of 1-1 Ú hrs., 75-90 lessons could be covered in 12 weeks.  At my high school, beginning keyboarding is a one-semester (18 weeks) course with 50-minute daily periods; approximately 75 lessons are covered.  Converting to 90-minute periods, we could expect to complete approximately 112 textbook lessons in an 18 week semester.

Question #20: If you had to teach a 9-week course of keyboarding (with 90-minute
class periods) to ninth grade students, what would you cover?

Expert's Response: Once the alphanumeric keyboard is covered, I like to cover short letters, memos, simple tables, and I have even covered simple reports if the class has advanced.  I also include such word processing features as bold, underline, cut/copy, paste, and setting up the print features. I don't do much more because I know they will be taking a word processing class. If they ever combine the two classes, I would hope to include more features.

Student's Reaction: I agree that a 9-week keyboarding class should not contain a great deal of document processing.  The most important thing to be taught should be technique and the keyboard.  Once you have completed this you should include basic items such as memos, letters, and tables.  I don't think much more should be included.  If you try to cover too much then the students are more likely to forget what they learned.  The items you cover should be the one's you want the students to walk away remembering.

Question #20: If you had to teach a 9-week course of keyboarding (with 90-minute class periods) to ninth grade students, what would you cover?

Expert's Response: If this class is meeting every day, students will have opportunity to cover an entire keyboarding text concentrating on technique, accuracy, and speed.
 

Student's Reaction: I disagree with the students being able to complete a whole keyboarding text in 9-weeks of 90 minute class.  That would be just equal to one semester of 55 minute classes.  In this time our students only are able to complete 50 lessons. I do agree with concentrating on technique, accuracy and speed.  This is a vital part of Keyboarding.  I also believe that the students should learn the keyboard, and pick up on some basic formats of letters, reports, and tables all in 9-weeks with 90 minute classes.  This is what I am going to stress next year when we go to this format for the beginning Keyboarding class.

Question #20: If you had to teach a 9-week course of keyboarding (with 90-minute class periods) to ninth grade students, what would you cover?

Expert's Response: Basic keyboarding of letters, numbers, and symbols.  Also the number pad would be introduced.  They would also learn basic formatting of letters, memos, reports, tables, and a touch of composing at the computer.

Student's Reaction: Not only is the basic keyboarding course a pathway to our other computer courses, it should also be a personal keyboarding course.  The student should learn about all keys on the keyboard and their function.  They should master basic formatting of personal business letters, basic reports and tables. They should be introduced to memos although this would not be a high priority goal, since they would learn more about memos in a class devoted more to business-use keyboarding.  Touch composing would be a high priority, since all of the students will use this skill in their language arts classes, and later in college.  I feel that the students should practice composing at least two days a week.  Just a small assignment will give them confidence that they can key a rough draft just as fast as they can write out a rough draft for their mamas to key!

Question #20: If you had to teach a 9-week course of keyboarding (with 90-minute class periods) to ninth grade students, what would you cover?

Expert's Response:
touch typing of the alphabet
touch typing of the numbers
formatted letters, reports, and tables as indicated in No.1
language arts skills that relate to the letters, reports, and tables
appropriate skill development for speed and accuracy

Student's Reaction: I think this is a really complete list.  I do think that technique should be added toward the top of the list.

Question #20: If you had to teach a 9-week course of keyboarding (with 90-minute class periods) to ninth grade students, what would you cover?

Expert's Response: The alphabetic, number and symbol keyboard; the 10-key number and basic formatting such as centering, bold italics, underline; word-wrap, correction methods, spell check, printing, punctuation review; proofreader marks; composition; block letter style, tables, flyers, reports.  I would show students the correct way to do these things and then have them do applications using their knowledge.

Student's Reaction:  Agree.  These are the basics and I would cover the same material.

Question #20: If you had to teach a 9-week course of keyboarding (with 90-minute class periods) to ninth grade students, what would you cover?

Expert's Response: I would cover the keyboard to make  sure the students felt secure with the key positions, and probably formatting and a bit of desktop publishing.  I think that if students can do some fun projects with integrating graphics, motion, sound, and scanned pictures into a word processing document, they will think keyboarding is quite a wonderful course.

Student's Reaction: I totally agree with the expert's response.  I think that as a middle school teacher, part of my job is to create a class that is fun and wonderful so that once students get to high school they will choose to take courses in Business Management (it is not a requirement in Fulton County for students to have keyboarding or any other course in Business Management).  The way to create a fun classroom is to plan activities that students will enjoy.  Additionally, I think that students should know how to adapt and use a variety of software for other class assignments and personal use.

 Production

Question #6: What should be measured in a production test? How often should you test a student's production skills?

Expert's Response: Evaluation (appraisal of progress or lack of) is continuous in any keyboarding class.  Production can be evaluated in a variety of ways. Each system of evaluation has its own merits, but none is all-inclusive. Usually an evaluation plan to measure a student's keyboarding productivity may be done in one of several ways: 1) The amount of work produced, 2) The time it took to produce given amount of work, 3) The speed at which the work was produced, or 4) The number of errors made in producing the work.
 

Evaluation of a student's classroom work may take place at the end of a day's activities. However, a teacher may choose to evaluate a student's production skills at the end of a longer period of time--after a week's work, after a series of production jobs in a unit, before a grading period, or at the completion of a unit of work.

Question #6: What should be measured in a production test?  How often should you test a student's production skills?

Expert's Response: Regarding production tests, I measure the student's ability to produce a document or documents within a specified time period.

Student's Reaction:  I agree with the expert. A production test should test a student's ability to produce a document within a particular time limit.  The only element that was left out of her answer was mailability, which deals with the accuracy of the document being produced.  In her mind, she may have lumped accuracy or mailability with "a student's ability to produce a document," however, I thought that it was worth mentioning separately.

The expert did not answer the second part of the question regarding how often an instructor should test a student's production skills?

Question #6: What should be measured in a production test? How often should you test a student's production skills?

Expert's Response: Production tests will be after the students learn the keyboard.  I have graded these in two ways.  1) How much is produced 2) Number of Errors.  In some classes I have given two grades per production and some classes I have averaged these two grades and given one grade.  Just be consistent.  How often should you have productions? Depending on the length of the semester (6 or 9 weeks) do about every third or second week to begin with and then I moved to one a week.  In the higher level (Keyboarding II or II or Word Processing or whatever they call it now) productions were a large portion of their grade.

Student's Reaction: I agree that production tests can only be given once the students have learned the keyboard.  I think it's interesting that the expert does not mention time as a part of the grading.  Although from reading what she wrote, I believe that is implied when she says, "How much is produced."  I personally always include errors in my grading, but not always time.  In a beginning class, I don't want to discourage the slower typist by grading work they have not finished.  Because I am on Block scheduling, I can only give production test every two to three weeks.  One week might have only two days of class for me.  In a course where students meet every day, I would want to reach a point of grading a production test about once a week.  Also, I don't believe you have to wait until a higher level course to make production a large portion of the grade.  The only reason we learn to type is to produce, so I always consider production the most important part of the grade.
 

Question #6: What should be measured in a production test?  How often should you test a student's production skills?

Expert's Response: A production test should measure whether or not a student has mastered a particular format.  A production test should be given only at the end of a unit of work.  The unit should be introducing new concepts, as needed, on a daily basis.  Once the student has learned all the concepts and has had a chance to practice them, then he/she would be ready to be tested.

Student's Reaction: I agree with the expert that a production test should measure whether or not a student has mastered a particular format.  I would add that the student should be given a reasonable amount of time to show that they have mastered a particular format. There should be more than one production test given if the time permits.  I would give a pretest after the introduction of all the concept and period of practice.  After the pretest, I would provide individual reactions and then give the graded production test.

Question #6: What should be measured in a production test?  How often should you test a students production skills?

Expert's Response: The production test should be based on the type of work or documents that have been worked on in class.  An example would be to give a test on letters after you have completed the lessons on it before you go on to another topic.  The main emphasis on a production test should be to grade on the content and format of the document, not so much on speed. It is better to do a good job than to be the first one done with several errors in the document.

Student's Reaction: I agree with the expert. Since I am not teaching keyboarding, I would consider that the mailability of the document more important than the speed in which it was accomplished. It would seem she is using the mastery approach which I agree with also, as I teach special needs students and they need to master a task before moving on.

Question #6: What should be measured in a production test?  How often should you test a student's production skills?
 

Expert's Response: I like to measure both accuracy and speed.  I test the production daily at first when learning the keyboard. I alternate; one day I will ask them to concentrate on accuracy; the next speed. On Friday, we combine.  After 5 weeks, we are doing accuracy and speed on short paragraphs.  When we start with letters, memos, etc. I do time them but am probably generous with the time. I concentrate on accuracy because I have known people to get fired over typographical mistakes but none for speed problems. In conversations that I've had with personnel directors, they have agreed that accuracy over speed is preferred although 45 wpm seems to be the minimum for entry-level positions. Of course, the speed increases with the higher level positions.

Student's Reaction: I agree with the expert's statement about testing both accuracy and speed but I do not agree with testing production daily.  I believe you should test production no more than every other day.  You have to provide time for the student to get better.  Testing daily would only discourage students from trying to get better.

Question #52: Should letterhead paper be used when printing business letters and forms to further enhance the student's understanding of formatting?  Why?  Why not?

Expert's Response: Letterhead paper would be nice.  However, given the current class room situations that exist, I think a couple alternatives should be practiced.  As many of the classes are approximately 30-40 students, the sharing of a printer is usually necessary.  To try to load letterhead paper for certain printings could be a problem, especially if students are working on different projects.  Solutions:  A few days might be spend using letterhead and having all students prepare letters on those days.  Understanding that this would not be practical in all classes, another suggestion would be to have the students prepare their own letterheads using their word processing software.  They could save this letterhead as a template or document and then retrieve whenever they needed to do a letter.

Student's Reaction: I do agree that using a letterhead would be nice.  Having to load it in a printer would probably be too difficult, and purchasing the letterhead too expensive.  Having students use a template is a wonderful idea.  I think the students would be very pleased with the results of such a professional looking document.

Question #85: How long should a production test last (number of minutes)?

Expert's Response: Formatting only--15-20 minutes; Keying and formatting--30-40 minutes.

You'll need the remainder of the class period to provide instructions and answer questions plus your regular set up/close down routine.  My grading check sheets include minus points for not starting a document or for not finishing a document.
 

Student's Reaction: I think that the authority is correct.  If a student knows the proper format, then it should only take him 15 or 20 minutes to set up the proper format.  I do not think that a lot of time is needed to set up and demonstrate the fact that a student knows the proper format.  As far as the keying and the formatting, I think that a test should only give enough material that shows the teacher that the student understand the material.  I think it is a waste of time to have the student copy a lot of text during a test just to make the production longer.  Also the authority is correct about allowing time for set up/shut down operations.  I feel that a test must be completed in one day, or it does no good.  If the test takes two days to complete, then the student has time to go home and study things he does not know.
 
 
 

 Skillbuilding

Question #2: How many alphabetic letters should be introduced in each lesson?

Expert's Response: I believe that two characters in a 50 minute period is the best ratio.  I have not taught in the block environment--but I think I would try to introduce four characters in that time.

Student's Reaction: When I began teaching, the text I used (Southwestern) recommended that I introduce two keys per lesson.  That seemed to be well-accepted by the students because they really learned to use the correct fingers.  They obtained very fast speeds by the end of the semester and our standards for mailable copy were attainable by most, even though we were on manual typewriters.  One thing that I did not like about this pace was how very, very long it took to finally have the whole keyboard introduced.  It seemed that it took half the semester when we finally got through the alphabet, numbers, and symbols.  The students were bored, I was bored, so it made for a long first semester.

We now use a textbook (Glencoe) that introduces three alphabetic letters per lesson and this is much better.  The students, who are already familiar with where many of the keys are, can develop acceptable technique and location familiarity just as easily as they used to learn two keys per lesson.  Before we adopted this text, I had only used Southwestern, and you could not have convinced me that any other method would work.  However, after using the Glencoe text, both students and teacher are much better prepared after a semester of keyboarding and have more time to stress the important formatting styles needed for personal and professional keyboarding.

Question #11. Is there a set pattern as to the introduction of new keys?

Expert's Response: The homerow is usually taught first then followed by the upper and lower rows in a staggered pattern. Most faculty usually follow form which they are teaching and feel the text and methodology of presentation is based upon sound research in the instruction of keyboarding.
 

Student's Response: Of course, I agree that the homerow should be taught first followed by the other rows. But the second part of the expert's answer is very vague. I wish that she had shared some of the "sound research" to which she was referring. I am sure that she is a very busy instructor, but I believe that these answers are very generic and not noteworthy.

Question #16: How much time should be spent in presenting the alphabetic keyboard?

Expert's Response: I haven't taught keyboarding in a few years; however, I have talked with others recently who are doing so right now, and I have usually spent approximately 3 weeks on learning the alphabetic keyboard.

Student's Reaction: The introduction of the alphabetic keyboard does not need to be fast paced.  I believe that three weeks is to short which will cause poor technique.  Also, I think the time will vary from grade level to grade level.  If the alphabetic keyboard is being introduced at the elementary level, I would recommend six weeks to properly introduce the correct technique.  At the middle school level, I think a five week introduction is possible.  On the other hand, at the high school level, I believe it is possible to introduce the alphabetic keyboard during four weeks.  At the collegiate level, I agree that it may take only three weeks to introduce the alphabetic keyboard.

Question #16: How much time should be spent in presenting the alphabetic keyboard?

Expert's Response: I think you need to spend about 16 - 18 periods teaching the alphabetic keyboard--These periods should be approximately 50 minutes in length.

Student's Reaction: I agree with this statement.  I think that a student must master the basic keyboard before they go on to learn production.  I feel that it takes at least 16 periods to learn the keyboard, probably more.  However, I do realize that production work can help students learn the basic keyboard.  I just think that students must be to a point where they are not spending most of their time with their production work looking for the keys.   With this many class periods, the teacher can pinpoint which students need more help and which students seem to be on track.  I think one of the main functions of the teacher is to keep the students motivated without letting him or her get frustrated.

Question #16: How much time should be spent in presenting the alphabetic keyboard?

Expert's Response: In order to help students quickly get to the point of constant improvement and use of the keyboard, one should not go too slowly.  The keyboard should be presented within 10-12 hours.  Most textbooks are designed to meet that need; it should be followed.
 

Student's Reaction: I agree.  The students I teach seem to do very well with 10-12 hours of training and initial skillbuilding on the alphabetic keyboard.  Working through the left/right shift keys can be trying for some students.  Sometimes I have students return to these particular lessons in an attempt to reinforce their skill and knowledge before they move on to production work.

Question #16: How much time should be spent in presenting the alphabetic keyboard?

Expert's Response: This school year I am teaching keyboarding to mostly 9th graders for the first time in many years.  We just finished our first semester and today I got a brand new group.  I spent about six weeks on the keyboard last semester, but am going to try and finish it in about 4 weeks this semester.  I feel like the students know more about the keyboard today than they did 10 years ago and that mostly we are trying to break bad habits.

Student's Response: It took me 8 weeks to learn how to type and reach a speed of 40 wpm.  You recommend 8 lessons in your manual and I assume that's 5 hours of instruction for 2 lessons at the college level or 4 weeks for 8 lessons at the High School level.   It would be interesting to hear how it is going this semester for the expert, but you asked us not to call so I e-mailed her again.

Question #16: How much time should be spent in presenting the alphabetic keyboard?

Expert's Response: I believe that the time spent learning the computer keyboard is as important as the time spent learning the typewriter keyboard.  I would suggest the one lesson a day approach until all keys have been learned.  The total time would depend on the number of class sessions per week.

I continually tell my students that they are doing themselves a disservice if they cannot key efficiently and accurately.  The workplaces today want fast, efficient, and productive workers.  Many managerial positions do not have support staffÑthe manager is the "secretary."

I observe all the students in my class who use the keys randomly and see how hard it is for them to compose or copy material at the same time they are trying to keyboard.  Many high school feeder schools (elementary and middle schools) are not longer teaching keyboarding and their students are lost when they get to high school and college.

Student's Reaction: Basically, I agree with covering one lesson per class period.  I would add, however, that there should be breaks between introducing new keys for practice and review.
 

I disagree with the suggestion that many feeder schools are no longer teaching keyboarding skills.  I believe that these skills are taught.  However, students have developed such poor technique before coming to us, it becomes difficult if not impossible to reteach them correct skills.

Question #16: How much time should be spent in presenting the alphabetic keyboard?

Expert's Response: I would present the alphabetic keyboard in 10 to 15 days when I did stand up teaching.  I generally would present the keys just as they appeared in the textbook.  In the last few years that I taught, we used the Glencoe computerized keyboarding package and the students completed the keyboard at their own rate.

Because I taught in a technical college most students were adults and most were extremely motivated.  After completing the keyboard using the software, they would move into a skill building software and there was a lot of self motivation to reach this point.  For the most part, students would complete the alpha and numeric keyboard within three weeks.

Student's Reaction: I agree with the expert that 10 to 15 days is adequate time to present the alphabetic and numeric keyboard to adult students.  However, I take a few days more when presenting the alphabetic keys to high school students.  I use the Glencoe textbook and generally follow the keys that are introduced in the text.  I also use the reviews that are placed after each five lessons.  During the first part of the semester when I am introducing keys, I may take a class period or part of one to review when the textbook suggests learning more keys or some other activity.  These additional practice lessons are used as I see a need with the class.

I think using a self-paced software program for learning keyboarding would work well with adults.  But after working with teenagers for 23 years, I feel that this may not be the best way to teach them.  The students that I work with are not always motivated to learn a skill in a classroom.  By allowing them to progress at their own rate, some of them will speed through the program just to finish and they will not master the skill. To avoid this, the software program would need to have some type of mastery level that must be reached before the student could continue. Other students  will never complete the program because they do not do the work and they will not master the skill.  I think a teacher needs to introduce the keys, pace the work that needs to be completed, and encourage the students throughout the learning of the keyboard.

Question #18: How much time should be spent on skill building between the completion
ADVANCE of the letter keyboard and the introduction of the number keys?

Expert's Response: In a nine week course, I usually have two weeks of skill building before I introduce the number keys.
 

Student's Reaction: Since I am on the block schedule, our classes move at a faster pace. I would spend a week on skill building before moving on to the number keys. This allows students to get more comfortable with the reaches they have learned for the alphabet. Now they are ready to extend those reaches to the top row for the numbers. Taking into account the block scheduling, I basically agree with the time frame offered in the expert's response.

Question #48: Should students be allowed to practice on, or at least view, a copy that will be timed for a grade?

Expert's Response: Never practice--and they will view it when you give it to them.

Student's Reaction: Viewing a copy of a timed writing would not even be a question I would consider.  The students should be able to view the copy before taking a timed writing and even practice the work.  It would not make a significant difference in the speed attained unless it is the only timed writing ever given and they have memorized it.  In work or in personal use, they certainly would have an opportunity to look over the material before keying it.

Question #73: Should teachers emphasize improving straight-copy skills or document processing skills?  Why?

Students cannot develop speed and/or accuracy as easily on document processing as they can with a drill that focuses on a key area for improvement.  Ultimately, the goal of straight-copy skill is to produce a mailable document in a timely manner, so both skills are essential.  Straight-copy skill should be emphasized first.

Student's Reaction: I do agree that straight-copy should be emphasized first.  However, I believe that more emphasis should be placed on document processing skills.  Processing documents is what the students must be familiar with to function in the real world (tech/prep).

Question #78: How much daily/weekly time should be given to skillbuilding after the keyboard is learned?

I don't spend much time with skill building--too much else to teach!  I do however, spend the 1st week of each quarter doing timings, teaching word processing tricks, etc.  This helps me recover from the onslaught of grading and gives the students a break too!
 

Student's Reaction: Through the rest of the semester, I have skillbuilding in my keyboarding class.  This seems to be well-received by the students, because they are interested in improvement in speed and accuracy as they move through the formatting problems.  We are in a very fortunate situation in that most of our students are self-motivated, highly competitive and love personal and team challenges we make in the classroom.

Question #78: How much daily/weekly time should be given to skill building after the keyboarding is learned?

Expert's Response: Skill/building after the keyboard is learned?  This is a very important part of the keyboarding course.  I feel approximately 25 to 30 percent of every day should be used for the skill building exercises-speed and accuracy drills.

Student's Reaction: I agree that this is a very important part, if not the most important part, of a keyboarding course.  I think spending 30 percent of the day focusing on speed and accuracy drills is a good idea.  The students will never improve if they do not continue to practice.

Question #78: How much daily/weekly time should be given to skillbuilding after the keyboard is learned?

Expert's Response: I can speak for post-secondary/collegiate students which is my most recent experience.  I feel 2 hours is needed at least weekly in some "keying" exercise, whether that be drills, timings, or document preparation.

Student's Reaction: Agree.  An average of 2 hours or a little more in skillbuilding is necessary.  Continue to focus on speed and accuracy and place additional emphasis on formatting.

Question #78: How much daily/weekly time should be given to skillbuilding after the keyboard is learned?

Expert's Response: It has been awhile since I have taught an advanced keyboarding class.  I have been teaching Keyboarding I which is basically just learning the keyboard and getting up to about 25 or 30 words per minute.  However, when I used to teach some advanced classes, I found that the students needed skillbuilding as part of their regular class activity each time we met.  I found that about 10 minutes per 60-minute class worked fairly well (our classes meet three times a week).  Some classes I would begin with skillbuilding while they were still fresh, other days I would end with skillbuilding after they were totally warmed up from other classroom activities.  It is important to keep part of their focus on skillbuilding or they forget to continue to build speed.  If there was time available, the students always enjoyed special speed or accuracy drills.  I liked to use these just for a change of pace.
 

Student's Reaction: I am a firm believer in the old saying "if you don't use it you loose it" thus I feel that skillbuilding should be a part of keyboarding curriculum throughout the term.  Students should have timed writings, at least, twice a week with a day or two in between to give the students some time to improve between timed writings.  Speed and accuracy are two separate skills and each should be focused on separately.  At least once a week, students should be expected to apply their skills based on accuracy and at least once a week, based on speed. More than once a week is alright as long as there is a day or so between assessment to allow for improvement.
 
 
 

 Software And Technology

Question #4: How long should a ninth-grade beginning keyboard class run on 90 minute periods.  Should it be 6 weeks, 9 weeks, or 1 semester?

Expert's Response: If you only want to teach them the keyboard 6 weeks should be sufficient.  However, if you want to teach anything about formatting letters, tables, reports, etc., you would need the 9 weeks.  I am teaching one semester course, but we are not on a block schedule.  We have been able to expand what we do in the course (letters, tables, reports) to include flyers and doing research on the Internet writing/keying reports using this material.

Student's Reaction: Agree.  I believe most schools do use and should use 1 semester because you are able to incorporate so much more beneficial information into that time period (letters, memos, reports etc.).

Question #5: Is it better to use individualized instruction software that allows students to progress at their own pace, or should beginning keyboarding students be kept together until the keyboard has been completely covered?
 

Expert's Response: I am a teacher of the "old school" and believe that students still learn a basic skill through demonstration and apprenticeship.  Many students who have worked on the computer at home without learning to correctly keyboard would need to learn through oral drill and practice.  Keeping students together would help develop the skill and hopefully correct some of the bad habits learned.  I think the methodology depends on the previous experience of all students.  I cannot say the old oral drill and practice is the only way, many students can probably learn individually and through a tutor such as Mavis Beacon Teaches Typing.  I have also learned that middle school teachers in the Missoula area have been teaching keyboarding (through a program, and I cannot remember the name of the program) to middle school children in a week.

Student's Reaction. I agree with the expert in that students need to learn basic skills through apprenticeship and demonstration and feel, as does the expert, that many students can learn to individually and through a tutor.  In my classroom, I demonstrate proper reaches using a transparency of a keyboard, but allow students to use a software program that allows them to learn at their own speed.  In comparison to using a book and keeping students all together, I have found that using the keyboarding software has helped to keep students interested and eager to learn.  I am still not convinced that this is the best way for them to learn  proper technique and use of the keyboard.

In response to middle school children learning the keyboard in a week, I am surprised.  I do feel that middle school children are capable of learning the keyboard, but I am not sure if a week is enough time.  I have formatted my classes so that every student spends 15-20 minutes a day on keyboarding and the rest of the time we spend with word processing and multi-media software.  This has proven to be successful with my middle school students.

Question #27: Is there evidence indicating that the ergonomically designed keyboard improves performance?

Expert's Response: I haven't done any research in this area for quite some time, but it does seem that there is some research indicating that ergonomically designed keyboards do improve health issues.  One area is that of carpal tunnel syndrome.  My personal thinking is that there are some improvements, but they have not improved performance enough to warrant business changing the basic keyboard.  Production does talk, and when it becomes evident that these changes will affect production significantly, then we will see these changes made.

Student's Reaction: I have no knowledge of ergonomically designed keyboards.  The expert's opinion sounds logical to me.

Question #42: What do you predict the impact of voice input technology will be on keyboard usage and instruction?

Expert's Response: There is limited impact of voice input technology on keyboard usage in its current form.  Voice input technology has been around quite awhile now and is becoming more sophisticated but not to the point that it would replace keyboarding.  Its major uses would be for the disabled and also for brief commands.
 

Student's Reaction: Industry will decide when we get voice input.  When it is profitable and a monopoly can be maintained long enough to get a return on investment, it will happen.  We buy the latest.  When MS developed Windows 95 they took 3.0 off the shelf.  When the industry introduces voice input they could phase out keyboards. I wonder how voice input will interpret cultural deviations of various languages i.e. Creole.

Question #42: What do you predict the impact of voice input technology will be on keyboard use and instruction?

Expert's Response: I think it will be so far down the road that I won't ever have to worry about it!  They have come a long ways in this area within the past few years, but there are still so many problems with speech, idioms, etc. that I do not see it making a significant impact on the keyboard use for quite some time.  Of course there will be some fancy "show and tell" examples of how wonderful it will be in the future.  I'm all for it.  I think it will be wonderful that someday we can strap on a machine that we can talk English into and it will produce Spanish, French, etc. and we can use it on overseas tours.  In the near future, we ill continue to use the keyboard and mouse along with standard instructions.  The mouse has made a more significant change in the use of the keyboard and instructions than voice recognition.

Student's Reaction: I am a bit more optimistic than the expert in regard to the impact of voice input technology.  I believe the useful implementation of this technology is closer than he suggests.  I do agree, however, with his assessment of the positive impact the mouse has had on the use of the keyboard.

Question #42: What do you predict the impact of voice input technology will be on keyboard usage and instruction?

Expert's Response: My personal opinion and from what I have seen of current voice input programs, we are a long way from perfecting this so that it will replace keyboarding skill.  Very few schools or businesses have moved toward the utilization of this technology and it is not dependable in its current state.  My best guess is that it will be 7 to 10 years before we see a significant impact on general keyboarding needs.

My state supervisor feels differently.  She thinks that keyboarding will soon be an area that can be dropped from secondary curriculums.  She said this at a meeting in Glendive, Montana a few months ago and the teachers there nearly came out of their seats.  The 20+ teachers, to a person, disagreed with her and told her she did not know what she was talking about.  They voiced my feelings.
 

Student's Reaction: I agree with the state supervisor that keyboarding will soon be dropped from the secondary school curriculum, but for a different reason.  I think that keyboarding will be taught in the middle and/or elementary schools in the near future leaving the high school for more advanced courses.

As for voice input programs, they already exist with some sophistication.  Programmers are making improvements to this type of technology, and I believe that it will eventually replace much of the keyboard input.  I agree with the expert that it will be 7 to 10 years before it has a significant impact at the grade school level.  This is because school systems are notoriously slow in purchasing the equipment necessary for major change.  Also most teachers do not want significant changes in the technology that they are using.  I know this because I conducted workshops at Parkview to teach language arts teachers to use microcomputers in their classes.  This was a real challenge because they did not want to use the computers.

Scanners are now used for inputting information in some high school courses and I believe voice input technology will not be far behind.  Both of these input devices will become significant only when they are used in labs as the major form of information input instead of the keyboard.  At present they are used only in small units.  Cost and opposition to change will prevent voice technology from taking keyboarding out of  the curriculum for a long time.

Also at this time businesses are not using voice input as a major form of creating documents, so they do not need students or entry level employees who are trained in this type of technology.  When industry begins to use the equipment, they will demand that our students receive the training and we will need to incorporate voice technology into our curriculum.

Question #42: What do you predict the impact of voice input technology will be on keyboard usage and instruction?

Expert's Response: I don't see a major impact until voice usage becomes much more commonplace.  That isn't likely to happen for a long time.  The need for improved technology and reduced costs will delay its predominant use.  Another factor that will affect its impact is resistance to change.  Therefore, if there is to be an impact, it will be in the distant future.

Student's Reaction: I agree that voice input will not be adopted for widespread use in the near future.  It requires tailoring of the software to the individual voice and sound.  This would not be feasible in the corporate world.  It would require time, and limit the use of a computer to the individual that the system would recognize.

Question #42:  What do you predict the impact of voice input technology will be on keyboard usage and instruction?

Expert's Response:  Voice Input Technology (VIT) will have a major effect on keyboarding as we now know it.  Keyboarding has been the mainstay of secondary business education for decades; however, basic keyboarding instruction is moving to the elementary grades.  I may not agree with that fact, but that fact is reality.  For business education as well as keyboarding to succeed, secondary business education teachers need to "upgrade" the content.  One way in which the content could be enhanced is the use of VIT.  Once VIT is included in the keyboarding curriculum, additional skills are needed, i.e., grammar, proofreading, etc.  At this point, the keyboarding teacher is moving to a generalistÑteaching skills needed for everyday survival.

Student's Reaction:  I agree that the near future will bring keyboarding instruction for students in elementary grades.  In my opinion, this would be a wise decision on the part of educators, as long as qualified business educators were the only instructors giving such guidance.  Therefore, the question is how will the curriculum of  keyboarding instructors on the secondary level then change?  One of the ways in which the curriculum may change is by introducing students to VIT.  I also agree that as we move into the arena of VIT, skills such as proofreading, grammar checking, and spell checking must become more heavily stressed, due to a possible increase in errors when using VIT.  In order for these skill to be more heavily stressed they will have to be much more heavily weighted in the business education curriculum.

Question #43: Do you prefer using industry standard software such as Microsoft Word or
WordPerfect for preparing production activities  ( i.e. letters, tables, reports, and memos) in keyboarding, or would you recommend a student typing program such as those prepared by text book publishers?  Why?

Expert's Response: Real world application requires real world software.  If a student needs to learn how to create a memo or a report, then they should have the opportunity to create that document with software they will encounter in the business world.  Initial introduction of these concepts would be fine in a commercial version of some keyboarding software, but actual transfer of knowledge to the real world requires the student to be proficient with the application software.  Student typing programs are great for drill and practice of speed and accuracy, but for the production of business documents, these should be created with the industry standard software.

Student's Reaction: I agree that students should be taught how to create documents using word processing software that is used in the real world.  Typing software should only be used to build skill and accuracy.
 
 

Question #44: With the case of error correction and the automatic spelling correction features on software programs, do you believe students should have the freedom of backspacing during timed writings? Why or why not?

Expert's Response: The traditional format for teaching keyboarding is never to show the delete key (or the correction key) until much later in document preparation. With the advancement of technology, the delete key is just another added key on the keyboard. It is a quick flip of the pinkie finger over to the delete. This key can easily be incorporated into the keyboarding instruction. When performing timed writings on the other hand, this can slow a student down partially. It can also mean that the student's accuracy has improved. I believe that the delete key should be taught "AFTER!' the standard letters are introduced. It is an important key to be learned-and to quickly correct on the fly means a more accurate assessment of the document and a better sense for the student. When a mistake is made and the student realized it, they focus on the mistake instead of focusing on the rest of the information (at lease for a couple of words). This could lead to a slowing in speed and accuracy. Using the delete key may build a students confidence to continue with fewer mistakes.

Student's Reaction: I think students should be discouraged from using the delete or backspace keys until after all of the alphabetic and numeric keys are learned. This should be the practice for all assignments, not just timed writings. Being able to see where you make your mistakes helps you know which practice drill lines to focus on. If you make the corrections as you go along, it is hard to remember which letters you are having difficulty because you corrected the mistake and moved on (your mind moved on also). Maybe during the last six weeks students could be allowed to use the correction keys during timings. This would slow the speed down, but increase the accuracy score. These two could offset themselves at this stage. I disagree with the expert about the delete key being just a "quick flip of the pinkie finger over." I have semi-long fingers and cannot reach the delete key with out removing my hand from the home row keys. No anchor I tried works for that. When first learning to type by touch, students need to use those anchors and keep their eyes on the copy. If a student has to remove the hand from the home keys to strike the delete, then they have to move their eyes off the copy to see where to replace their hands on the keyboard. Then more time is used to find the place in the copy where they left off typing. A problem I experience today is that many students already know about the delete key before they enter a keyboarding class. It is hard to get them to not use this key. We are all human and want our work to be its best.

Question #51: Many printers are unable to properly set up envelops.  What is the best teaching technique for introducing and explaining envelopes?
 

Expert's Response: The best option is to have a printer that allows you to set up envelops.  The next best option is to have software that at least has an envelope "form" so that you can teach students how to set up an envelope properly.  If neither of these options are available, the teacher might need to teach students to key labels--after all, that is what many offices do now.  Otherwise, envelopes might not get taught!

Student's Reaction: I also feel that it would be best for the teacher to have access to a printer that could print envelops.  However, most teachers do not have the access to a printer that has this capability.  Software is a good suggestion to this problem, but if the printer cannot print envelops, there is no use for the software.  I think that it would be very difficult to teach this with out proper tools.  I would suggest teaching the students the proper way to fill out the envelops and what the parts are and where they go on the envelopes.  Labels are a good thing to teach as well.

Question #54: With spell check and grammar check available, should teachers emphasize proofreading documents before printing?  Why or why not?

Expert's Response: Proofreading documents before printing is necessary.  In addition to verifying spelling and grammar it is important to check the format of the document prior to printing.

Student's Reaction: Agree.  I think it is a must that teachers stress proofreading.  You must verify that you have a "mailable" copy.  Many times we may mean to key "their" and key "there".  You can only catch these errors if you proofread your copy.

Question #56: Do you think that keyboarding software will ever take the place of an instructor/facilitator?

Expert's Response: Well, I certainly hope not!  Although the software already available is user-friendly, I do not believe anything can take the place of someone watching for bad habits and helping to overcome them.

Student's Reaction: I agree with the expert's response.  I think that a teacher is not only need to observe and check for bad habits, but teachers should also motivate students to do their best.  I do fear that administration and other professionals might think that software could be used in place of a teacher.  I have already seen this happening in the elementary schools.  I do, however, think that software is an excellent teaching tool and should be used along with a trained Business Education teacher.

Question #68: With today's software packages for keyboarding instruction, do you feel that we are moving more toward the role of facilitators and self-taught keyboarding classes?  Is this a positive or negative trend?

Expert's Response: The teacher can be a teacher or a facilitator--whatever he or she feels.  If one feels, he or she is simply a facilitator, then that occurs.  However, the person can be a true teacher by working individually and taking interests in the students.  I guess a summary statement is the teacher (facilitator) makes the decisions as to what he or she will be.

Student's Reaction: I feel technique is often not learned in a self taught class.  It takes a facilitator in order to remind students of the correct techniques.  I find that with any subject that someone is learning that a student needs a facilitator.  A software package cannot provide student feedback on their technique.  Personally, I feel that this is a positive trend.  Students have to take some responsibility for their learning.  Students need to learn how to think and problem solve on their own.  Students need to learn how to learn on their own.  But, the teacher in the classroom can never be replaced with self-taught software.  Who is going to provide help when the software fells?  Who is going to provide help when there is a hardware problem.  Who is going to provide the student individual assistance when they are having a problem?  Self-taught software will provide less one-on-one time for student/teacher but not totally eliminate that relationship.
 

Question #69:  As voice recognition software continues to improve, will keyboarding become less necessary? How will the role of keyboarding change?Expert's Response:  It is likely that as voice recognition becomes more available, the need for the keyboard will become less. However, it is my opinion that it will be several years before voice recognition is used by a majority of people. I think the keyboard will be an important tool for data entry for many years to come. Since voice recognition computers need to be programmed to recognize each voice that  will be used with that computer, it makes it impossible for just anyone to use that computer.  For example in a university computer lab each computer would have to be programmed to recognize voices from several students. Then those students would only be able to use the computer that would recognize their voices. Thus, if both you and I were able to use one of the computers in the lab, I couldn't do my work in that lab if you were already using that computer. There are problems even in programming the computer to recognize some people because of different accents. The phone company that now allows you to say 1 or 2 instead of pressing those numbers to indicate which option you are choosing is having problems with the computer not recognizing some accents.Since it is unlikely that the use of voice recognition will be wide spread in the near future, it is necessary that people know how to keyboard since we can't predict where they will find employment.  The keyboard is still the tool to use when composing at the computer. The role of  keyboarding will change and already has changed somewhat. With the use of the mouse, it has become more common to take your hands off the keyboard while you are using the mouse. The ergonomics of the keyboard has certainly changed over the past few years. The computer keyboard has many more keys than the old typewriter keyboard. Therefore, some of the keys are more difficult to reach by touch. The addition of theten-key pad has also provided challenges for keyboarding instruction.   Probably the biggest change in the role of keyboarding has been and will continue to be that it is being taught at lower grade levels. Therefore, instructors at the higher levels expect their students to have a basic keyboarding skill when they enter the computer classes.  Some of them do have the skills; some of them don't. It is a changing and evolving teaching environment.  Good luck in keeping up.
Student's Reaction:   I found the expert's answer very insightful.  My feelings on this question are best summed up in her response that since it is unlikely that the use of voice recognition will be wide spread in the near future, it is necessary that people know how to keyboard.  While the introduction of VIT may be right around the corner, I believe that it will be some time before this technology will be readily and effectively used by the majority of the workforce, making the need for keyboarding still relevant for quite some time in the future.

Question #70: With many of the new multimedia workstations including a CD-ROM, how do you feel about allowing students to listen to their own CD's with headphones while typing?

Expert's Response: I do not think it is appropriate for students to be listening to their CD's while in any class. And even though they may be working on the computer rather than listening to a teacher lecture, I still think they should be concentrating on building their skill--not on whatever they are listening to on the CD. There is also the problem of the teacher not having any control over the content on the CDS.
 

Student's Reaction: I agree with the expert that listening to their own CI)S is not a good idea. I do not believe they do their best work when listening to the music. I believe that it can stimulate them to the point of working hurriedly, the same way the music of the 60's motivated us to drive faster, walk faster, or chew our gum faster. It was not necessarily good. I do, however, reward my students at the end of the six weeks and allow them to listen to a CD after they have finished the exam, but only with earphones. I also agree that the teacher does not have control over the content of the CDS. But, more importantly, I believe the teacher gives up a certain amount of control in his or her classroom, frequently causing the students to take liberties in other areas.

Question #74: Do you feel that computer software helps or hinders and individual's ability to improve keyboarding skills?  Why?

Expert's Response: Software most definitely enhances the development of keyboarding skills.  Software can score copy and calculate speed immediately. This immediate feedback is invaluable in building skills. Weaknesses can be identified immediately and prescriptive drills used. The ability to correct errors on timed writings also helps students to relax. It takes the psychological pressure off which can allow for a more realistic look at straight copy speeds. If students feel they are too dependent on correcting errors in a timing, the software allows you to disable this feature for these students. The beauty of it is that the software can be customized easily to meet the needs of everyone.

Student's Reaction: Again, the expert gives good advice.  I agree with her comments.  All keyboarding labs at my school have computers with software which provides for the administration of timings with or without correction capabilities.

Question #77: If you are using a publisher's keyboarding software program (i.e. Glencoe, Southwestern, or Paradigm), would you suggest that students move at their own speed through the program, or would you suggest that they move through the program together?  Or would you use the program as a reinforcement after using the textbook/teacher method?

Expert's Response: I do not use keyboarding software.  However, if I did (and I have in the past), I would suggest using this software as reinforcement.  Perhaps I am "from the old school," but a teacher can sense when repetition is needed, when a break is needed, when injecting humor lightens a frustrating situation, when..... (all kinds of scenarios come to mind).
Software just plods along.  Obviously, I am not a big fan of totally self-paced learning--particularly in this skill.

Student's Reaction: My opinion is to that students should be allowed to go at their own pace only after all keys have been introduced.  It is important to keep all students on the same track so that you as a teacher can better diagnose how the students are doing.  Only after students have some confidence in their typing ability should they be allowed to work on their own  pace.

Question #80: What advancements in technology are going to have the greatest impact on teaching keyboarding in the next two or three years?
 

Expert's Response: Your third question is a real stumper.  Technology is changing so much and students are using the computer before they begin to read.  I guess I have no answer for this one because it is changing so much.  It's really a wait-and-see situation.

Student's Reaction: I feel voice recognition is one of the biggest advancements in technology that will have the greatest impact on teaching keyboarding.

Question #80: What advancements in technology are going to have the greatest impact on teaching keyboarding in the next two or three years?

Expert's Response: The biggest advances in technology that I see will be distance learning and voice recognition. In the same way that portions of your course are being delivered via distance learning, keyboarding will begin to enter this arena. I would imagine a distance learning keyboarding course will involve a scenario in which students meet with the teacher initially to learn proper technique, discuss goals, etc., and do their daily drills and documents at home. Thereafter, they would come in for periodic technique checks and testing.

Voice recognition is here. While I believe there will be a need for basic keyboarding skills always, I do think voice recognition will affect our advanced keyboarding classes. Students will probably dictate their documents to the computer and manually edit them as needed. I would imagine that businesses will do likewise; however, voice recognition will likely not be 100% accurate and documents will still need to be edited, formatted, etc. Until software can be completely controlled by voice commands, there will be a need for basic keyboarding skills to use software. Computers have not created a paperless office as predicted, and I don't think voice recognition will eliminate the need for keyboarding skills.

Student's Reaction: There is no doubt that distance learning and voice recognition will have an impact on future instruction.  In the area of high school keyboarding, however, I do not feel that students (grades 9-12) are self-disciplined and mature enough to benefit from distance learning technology.  They will need the benefit of interaction with a teacher that only a traditional classroom provides.

The impact of voice recognition technology will be significant, but I think there will always be a need for keyboarding.  For the near future, the cost of voice recognition will be a major consideration.  As the expert says, "computers have not created a paperless office as predicted."

Question #80: What advancements in technology are going to have the greatest impact on teaching keyboarding the next two or three years?
 

Expert's Response: Some of the technology that will affect the teaching of keyboarding "I include the use of electronic classrooms (as schools can afford to install them) and increased use of interactive video networks for distance learning. As more emphasis is placed on keyboarding in the elementary grades, secondary teachers will find themselves helping students reinforce keyboarding skills rather than teaching the keyboarding skills. They will also be placing more emphasis on teaching the technology and how to use the equipment and software. The technology that "I have the biggest impact on keyboarding "I be the voice activated computers. However, I don't think this technology will become common for several more years. There are too many problems with these computers right now. Therefore, I don't think they will have much impact on teaching keyboarding in the next two or three years.

Student's Reaction: I believe the electronic classroom will be a great asset to education as well as distance learning. As technology changes are occurring so rapidly, the distance learning classroom will allow the student to have more options to learn. I also agree that the secondary teachers will have more responsibility to fine tune keyboarding skills rather than teach them. Again with the advancement of technology, teachers will be pressed to keep up with the changes and pass this knowledge on to their students. Also, I agree that voice activated computers will be a very progressive, fast paced form of technology. It will allow people to move at a greater rate, especially those who have not fine tuned the keyboarding skills. I also believe that many of these new technologies will be slow to get to the classroom, finding their way into the business place first. Quite often the technology our students will learn will already be outdated due to money and politics.

Question #80: What advancements in technology are going to have the greatest impact on teaching keyboarding in the next two or three years?

Expert's Response: Some people will likely say that the widespread use of voice input will impact keyboarding-however, this technology is mostly used for inputting data (as a scanner). Once the data is in the word processing software, the purpose now is to manipulate, enhance, edit, etc. Most all of these involve key stroking. I think we will remain the same for some time to come. Perhaps we may need to look at speed requirements down the road, however.

The size of the keyboards on laptops (and smaller) will challenge our ability to insist that students use correct key stroking techniques. When students are enrolled in my courses and when working on speed and accuracy, I insist they use a full-size keyboard; they are free to choose the software and other hardware, but not the keyboard (size).
 

Student's Reaction: As fast as technology is moving, I think the expert underestimates the advancement of voice impact. I do tend to agree that there will still be a need for key strokes to edit for some time to come. I don't see voice input like a scanner. I thought it would be used more for new document creation. We use our scanner to bring in existing documents and make changes to them or complete forms. For the purpose of teaching keyboarding, students should use a full size keyboard. Then they can adjust their skill to a laptop or hand held model.
 
 
 

 Special Needs

Question #21: What type of modifications should be made for teaching keyboarding to special needs students?

Expert's Response: Students with special needs can gain valuable keyboarding skills when they are mainstreamed into a regular typing class.  They must not be left to "fall through the cracks."  Here are some suggestions of what to modify in a typing class to meet their needs.  1)Eliminate selected jobs.  However, be certain the jobs you eliminate do not present new concepts, new formats, or other information needed for future lessons.  2) Use learning (study) guides.  These guides are  preview of what's to come in the next lesson.  A special needs student could complete the learning guide as a homework assignment the day before a concept is introduced.  The learning guide can also be completed after the concept or task has been presented and completed.  Learning Guides can be excellent reviews for tests.  3) Use piecemeal practice.  When students are learning a new concept, they should be given the opportunity to practice each individual part before putting it together as a whole.  This is much like the technique timings; however, it is not timed. 5) Delay production work. Authorities differ on when production should be introduced.  One philosophy is when the special need's student attains a typing speed of 22 wam, introduce production work.  Before that time, work with those special needs students on skill-building drills, 12-second timings, 30-second timings, and other selective drill to increase their speed and accuracy.

Your advanced students are able to help the teacher in the classroom as peer helpers for these students.  I find that I have to give my special needs students more time on each lesson.  Therefore, in a nine week period I may leave out learning the number and symbol keys for them.  I feel that it is vital they spend the two weeks on reports and letters with the rest of the class.

I believe step-by-step hand-outs are very important for special need's students.  This helps provide them some one on one tutoring while helping other students.  Any new concepts need to be given to special needs students in a hand-out.
 

Question #21: What type of modification should be made for teaching keyboarding to special needs students?

Expert's Response: For students with special needs, an instructor must gear the instruction to the particular needs of the student. Individualization is the key here.

Student's Reaction:  I agree that the instructor must gear the instruction to the particular needs of the student in an individualized manner. Again though, her answers only open up more questions. What are some concrete suggestions on how to "gear the instruction" and how to use "individualization"?

Question #21: What type of modifications should be made for teaching keyboarding to special needs students?

Expert's Response: Any modifications would, of course, depend on the special needs of each students.  Here are some general strategies.  Provide individualized instruction.  Present all new material through a variety of media using simplified instructions, step by step explanations, and clear illustrations.  Use overheads, flip charts, audio tapes, or whatever other tools are available to supplement your teaching.

Arrange the classroom to accommodate special students.  Seat visually and hearing impaired nearby.  Help blind students become familiar with the layout of the classroom and workstations.  Provide supplementary material to those who need additional practice.  Do frequent progress checks and provide a great deal of praise and encouragement.  Contact organizations such as those for the blind for additional suggestions or to ask for special equipment.  Assign "buddies" to help special students each day.  Finally, modify your standard requirements.

Student's Reaction: The expert gives excellent suggestions for accommodating special needs students.  We know that the most effective teaching is that which appeals to the greatest number of senses.  I endorse the idea of using a variety of instructional aids.  Each student is unique; I concur with her suggestions.
#21: What type of modifications should be made for teaching keyboarding to special needs students?  This is a very important question for me because I currently have a student who has only three fingers on one hand.  Any input you have concerning this topic will be greatly appreciated.
 

Expert's Response: Your question on modifications for special needs students is a good one!  In your specific case, (student with only three fingers on one hand) my recommendation would be for you to help him understand that yes, he can learn to type and maybe even be fairly productive and learn touch typing.  All "touch typing" is, is learning to type the correct key with the correct finger(s) without looking.  So, you let him modify which keys which finger can type with that hand, make sure he is consistent with it and go on and once that adjustment is learned, he will still be doing touch typing.

I've had a couple of nearly blind students in my class before.  We've purchased an enlargement cover that fits over the screen.  The student would also enlarge the materials from the book and use a lighted magnifying glass to see the print.  On timed writings, she would type from her head something she had read.  It worked just fine.

I don't lower my standards, but do share with them that they are learning a tool that can be used for the rest of their life,  regardless of their special needs.  If they are doing the best they can, then they should be satisfied and learn to live with that.  Most of my grades reflect technique, written and production tests as well as timed writings.  They can still make a respectable grade.

Student's Reaction: It is important for students with disabilities to feel that they can develop keyboarding skills in-spite of their disability.  At the beginning of each semester, while the class is still focusing on technique, I watch any student that may have a disability very carefully with out calling attention to their disability.  Once I have determined that modifications need to be made, I meet with the student in private and make my suggestions on what modifications I feel will help them improve.  I also ask them to give their suggestions on what seems to work best for them.  After we have decided on what modifications need to be made, I create a modification template for them and then assess their skills based on our modifications.

Question #21: What type of modifications should be made for teaching keyboarding to special needs students?

Expert's Response: Basically, because of the Americans with Disabilities Act, we are very responsive to meeting the needs of our special needs students.  We can always accommodate a student regardless of handicap or degree of handicap.  We have supplied students with everything from special chairs, special readers for visually impaired, special foot pedals for the computer keyboard, interpreters for the deaf, personal assistants for the wheelchair bound.  There is never any delay and anything that breaks down is repaired immediately.  Our schools are extremely responsive to the needs of these students.

Student's Reaction: Their high technical equipment is very impressive, but we don't have that type of equipment in our schools.  I wish we did.
 

Question #30: If a student is physically challenged and can only use one hand, how many words a minute should that student be required to type in comparison to a student who is not physically challenged?

Expert's Response: I've never encountered this particular problem.  I do know consideration would have to be given, and the speed criterion would require adjustment, but I'm not sure what that adjustment should be.  I know there are strategies listed in the literature for learning key-boarding using one hand.  I would hope there is also information available pertaining to grading approaches.  That would be my first plan of attack.

If I was required to make an estimate without access to research, I might start by establishing a criterion that was about one-half to two-thirds of my normal speed standard.

Student's Reaction: I agree research would have to be done prior to making this determination.  I think that a student who can use only one hand to type would be at a great disadvantage.  They would need to look at the keyboard, because they could not master touch keyboarding.  They would have to reach further than normal and would not be able to keep their fingers anchored to the home row keys.
 
 
 
 
 

 Speed And Accuracy

Question #8: Upon completing a beginning keyboarding class, how many wpm should the average student be able to type?  Have you found that the average is consistent from class to class?  What errors do you consistently see and what recommendations do you make to the students to correct them.

Expert's Response: An average student should be keying at 30-35 wpm.  However, I find that many of them are doing much better as we are using more sophisticated programs.  Each class has its own personality so there is no consistency in class comparison--only in student comparison.

Student's Reaction: Following is the grading scale for three-minute timed writings with 2 or fewer errors per minute:
A--
B--

C--
D--
F--below 20 nwam

This scale has been used by the Parkview business department since I came there 8 years ago.  We use the same scale the whole semester in order to let the students see how well they are doing and to challenge them to get the "A" before the end of the semester.  We start giving three minute timed writings after the second six weeks gets under way.  We generally give about three every other day, however, when the students finish an assignment, they may go to Student Typist and administer three-minute writings during their spare time.  The students really like this, because they like timed writings and they like to challenge each other.  They also try to get through  with their regular assignment so that they may get ahead.  We require three acceptable timed writings for second six weeks.  We take their three top grades and average them.  We take their best five timed writings at the end of the third six weeks.  All of these have to be with two or fewer errors per minute.  We only count the grades for the three-minute writings.

Question #8: Upon completing a beginning keyboarding class, how many wpm should the average student be able to type?  Have you found that the average is consistent from class to class?  What errors do you consistently see and what recommendations do you make to the students to correct them?

Expert's Response: Students should be able to key 20-25 wpm at the end of 1 credit hours (800 minutes) keyboarding.  Average is not consistent.  If the class meets multiple times per weeks, the average or better is achieved.  If the class meets for example, only one night a week, the average is more difficult to attain since students are not getting the practice they need daily.  I consistently see errors in technique.  With the computer keyboard, it is so easy to ignore technique.

Student's Reaction: I believe from her answer she was referring to a beginning college class.  For high school, one credit = 36 weeks of beginning keyboarding at Cedartown High School.  When our students finish beginning Keyboarding, the average is able to type 40 wpm. I do agree that the average is not consistent.  I have found that even though each class meets daily for one hour; a lot of factors affect the average class to class.  The major effect is the class make-up.  If the class is very immature, the average could be lower. I also agree with the errors in technique.  This is the first year I have taught Keyboarding on a computer.  When I taught with typewriters, technique was easier to enforce.
 

Question #8: Upon completing a beginning keyboarding class, how many wpm should the average student be able to type?  Have you found the average is consistent from class to class?  What errors do yo consistently see and what recommendations do you make to the students to correct them?

Expert's Response: This is not the easiest question for me to answer since I've been an administrator for the past few years and this is my first year back in the classroom full time.  I'll answer what I can.  Again, I'm making the assumption we are talking about a one-semester class.  I think that most all students can keyboard between 30-35 words per minute for three minutes with a three error limit by this time.  Most classes consist of students with a wide range of abilities; however, this speed is pretty consistent for the average student.

At this point I feel uncomfortable talking about errors the students make since I have not been observing them; however, I would like to say (based upon our university students) that technique needs to be observed and corrected.  Our students at the university level have absolutely the worst technique!

Student's Reaction: I think that 30-35 wpm for three minutes with three errors sounds reasonable.  I think that the number keys would probably cause errors since they are not used consistently and are harder to reach.  I do agree with the statement about the technique.  I know that I will need to improve my technique before I begin teaching.

Question #8: Upon completing a beginning keyboarding class, how many wpm should the average student be able to type?  Have you found that the average is consistent from class to class?  What errors do you consistently see and what recommendations do you make to the students to correct them?

Expert's Response: The Fulton County curriculum was written for a one-quarter course for 55 minute periods. The minimum passing grade is 15 wpm.  Students are given timed writings throughout the grading period and the top three grades are used at the end of grading period in calculating their average.  We allow students to correct errors on a 3-minute timed writing.  Last semester I had students who typed as few as 15 wpm and some who typed as many as 50 wpm.  The range is consistent from class to class.

Student's Reaction: Agree.  After speaking with a couple of ninth grade teachers in Cobb County they advise their students  that 25 wpm is a "C".  Also, based on their teaching experience, those students that  key an average of 10-15 wpm usually don't have the aptitude to learn proper keyboarding skills and techniques.  However, they have found that most students would rather work towards a "C" rather than a "D".  Also, the range is consistent from class to class.
 

Question #8: Upon completing a beginning keyboarding class, how many wpm should the average student be able to type?  Have you found that the average is consistent from class to class?  What errors do you consistently see and what recommendations do you make to the students to correct them?

Expert's Response: I have not taught a beginning keyboarding class to students grades 6-8.  I did teach high school students however, for nine years.  The minimum requirement was always 35 wpm after one full year of typing and that was on the old manuals and electric machines.  I believe that it would still be the minimum with computers.  I do not know if you are talking about a nine week, semester, or year long course.  The high school courses I taught were 1 year.

Student's Reaction: According to the middle school curriculum, after 6 weeks 6th graders should be typing 20 wpm.  I think this is fair but have seen many students achieve wpm greater than this.  In the past I have never given my students a grade for wpm.  Instead, students are to set goals for themselves and if the goal is achieved they are rewarded.  I try to encourage students to focus more on accuracy than speed due to the small amount of time we have to spend on keyboarding.

Question #8: Upon completing a beginning class, how many wpm should the average student be able to type?  Have you found that the average is consistent from class to class?  What errors do you consistently see and what recommendations do you make to your students to correct them?

Expert's Response: This depends on the length of time for the course, the age of students, and how long each class period is.  Currently I am teaching a beginning keyboard class that meets for a total of 13 hours.  They are expected to obtain a speed of 23 wpm with 5 or less errors.  It will push them, but most of them can and will obtain this speed.  I liked it better when I could teach it for a half semester and they met about 18 hours and had to get up to 28 WPM with 5 or less errors.  Typing is definitely a skill that needs practice and using it for such a short time is not for the best. For our full-blown semester of beginning keyboarding , they meet the entire semester (just a little over 30 hours) and are expected to get up to 45 WPM with five or less errors.  This pushes them too, but almost all of them reach this goal.  Yes, I've been teaching these type classes consistently for the last 10 years or so.  I see little variance from semester to semester.  The biggest errors my true beginners have is poor technique.  They are afraid to trust themselves and consequently will look at their fingers.  They are afraid they will "make a mistake" so not only might they peek, but they will sneak up on the keys and mash them rather than striking them.
 

Student's Reaction: It is important for all students in a beginning keyboarding class to reach an average of 25 to 30 wpm with no more than 2 errors.  I feel this is important because for them to be able to see the benefits of keyboarding they have to reach these levels.  On the high end I feel that students in a beginning keyboarding class should reach 40 wpm with no more than 1 error to receive an A in the course.  In my teaching of keyboarding for the last ten years, I have found these numbers to be pretty consistent from class to class.  I agree with the expert in that poor technique is the biggest problem with beginning students.

Question #10: Are employers interested more in keyboarding speed and accuracy or with the computer knowledge of its employees?

Expert Response: Every computer has its own individuality, as does every software program.  No employee should not be expected to know thoroughly how each computer works.  Also an employee should not be expected to know thoroughly how each software program works.  However, an employee should be held accountable for typing speed and accuracy.  He/She should possess a reasonable typing speed.  The employee should, also, be an accurate typist.  Being accurate means being able to proofread and make changes to a document quickly.

Student's Reaction:  I would agree with the expert. In any word processing, spread sheet or database class, the goal is not to teach a particular program.  The goal is to teach computer application concepts.  Therefore, when the student goes to work they are able to take the computer application concepts they have learned and apply them to any software program.  You will find most employers require a keyboarding test measuring speed and accuracy.  You don't find many employers requiring computer knowledge test.  Therefore, this would make me lean toward the fact that employers are more interested in keyboarding speed and accuracy rather than computer knowledge.  I think accuracy would be the employers key concern, with speed right behind accuracy.  An employees ability to proofread and make corrections is important.  Also, the ability to produce documents in a timely matter is very critical.

Question #24: In timed writings, should an instructor evaluate and grade both speed and accuracy?

Expert's Response: Yes.  If accuracy is not evaluated, the students might not fully understand its importance.  Not only should accuracy be evaluated on timed writings, but also it should be evaluated on the preparation of communications, tables, etc.
 

Student's Reaction: Again, I agree with the expert. I emphasis both speed and accuracy in class.  Students are given timed writing grades based on their speed and accuracy.  As a department we push for accuracy as students learn the keyboard and then push for speed as students begin production work.  Our department feels by primarily focusing on accuracy students will carry this with them through the class.  To reinforce accuracy we focus on technique the entire first nine weeks of class.  The entire time students are taught the basic keyboard they are focusing on technique.  If students learn good habits in the beginning of class they generally carry these good habits throughout all keyboarding and word processing classes.

Question #29: During a nine-week keyboarding course, what should be the timed writing goal for the course?

Expert's Response: Talk to ten keyboarding teachers and you'll get 10 different answers to this question.  Have you noticed this?  To some extent, it depends on the characteristics of the learner.  For example, a youngster in a 9-week elementary keyboarding class will not be able to meet the expectations of a student in middle school (or high school or adult school).  The degree of motivation on the part of the learner is also a factor in determining what will be accomplished.  Similarly, the teaching/learning strategies (computer, tutorial software vs. teacher directed, methodology used, etc.) will have an impact on success.  For all of the above reasons-more that I have not identified-it is very difficult to delineate a specific "WPM" standard for a nine-week typing unless it is related to a particular group of learners in a particular setting.  For a "ballpark figure," I would suggest within a range of 25-30 word per minute on a computer for a minimum passing grade.

Student's Reaction: I agree with the expert. The wpm of a 9-week class is hard to estimate.  It does depends on others factors.  The age of the child, the group of students put together in one class, the software program, and the motivation of the student do play a part in determining an average wpm for the students.  I have found that out of the four section of Keyboarding I teach, not one class is alike.  Each class is affected by the characteristics of the learner.  Her guess is probably correct of 25-30 words a minute for a D.

Question #29: During a nine-week keyboarding course, what should be the timed writing goal for the course?

Expert's Response: We teach a 15 week beginning keyboarding course.  This is our timed writing grading scale:  45+ =A; 40-44 = B; 34-39 = C; 27-33 = D.  They are also graded on accuracy.  0-1 error = A; 2-3 errors = B; 4-5 errors = C; 6-7 errors = D.  For a 9 week course, you would probably have to lower the scale.

Student's Reaction: With the time frame that the expert stated, her grading system would be right on track to what I have heard in class.  It seems to be a reasonable goal for the students to obtain in high school.
 

Question #29: During a nine-week keyboarding course, what should be the timed writing goal for the course?

Expert's Response: A minimum of 25 wam.

Student's Reaction: This goal would depend very much on the length of time of the classes.  If the classes were 50-60 minutes, the goal would be different than if the course were block 90-120 minutes.  For nine weeks, an hour a day, the minimum would be, in my opinion, a minimum of 20 words a minute.  If a block schedule is in place, the minimum would be 30 words a minute.

Question #29: During a nine-week keyboarding course, what should be the timed writing goal for the course?

Expert's Response: I begin with 1 minute for two weeks; then 3 minutes for two weeks, and then 5 minutes with 3 or less errors for the rest of the course.

Student's Reaction: I think you should test for 1 minute for four weeks; then 3 minutes for four weeks, and then maybe 5 minutes for the last week depending on the how class is progressing.  The goal should be 25 WPM with no less than 1 error per minute.

Question #29: During a nine-week keyboarding course, what should be the timed writing goal for the course?

Expert's Response: This will be short - I don't give timed writings as such at all.  I time students on production work.  I personally always hated timed writings, and I have tried teaching with timed writings.  When I began teaching on the computers I did away with timed writings as a part of the grading system.  The program that I use to teach the keyboard for the first half of the semester does have some timed exercises in it.  I look to see that the students are doing the work, and I record the last few speeds in my grade book so that if someone asks me how fast a person types I do have the information.  When I took typing I almost killed myself trying to type 60 wpm and never made it.  It always made me feel like a second-class citizen.  Naturally I got a C in typing.  Now that I have been using my typing I can type between 80-90.  I personally don't see how a student can get any appreciable speed in 9 weeks.  Also, keyboarding is an elective, so I don't try to stress them with something they are taking as an "easy" grade.  Most of my students in a keyboarding class make Bs.  To make this grade they are able to type four short-to-average letters n 40-45 minutes with good formatting and accuracy.  They are also to make four centered tables in the same amount of time.  Maybe I underestimate the students, but they are very proud of what they can do.  Those that can type faster and are interested in stressing their own speed may do so.  I don't force it.

Student's Reaction: I disagree with not giving timed writings.  I think they are a wonderful way to measure progress and they give the students a goal.  I also disagree with the fact the keyboarding is an "easy" grade elective.  I believe that keyboarding is one of the most important things you learn in school.  With the way the world is developing today, being computer literate is a necessity.  Keyboarding skills are needed in almost every job.  I do not think teachers stress the importance of keyboarding enough to students.

Question #29: During a nine-week keyboarding course, what should be the timed writing goal for the course?

Expert's Response: For a nine week keyboarding course the consensus was that the timed writing goal should be 25 wam.  There should be no more than one error per minute.  The length of the timing should be a
3 minute timing.

Student's Reaction: Agree.  Timed writings are consistent in format and are all at the same level of difficulty.  Syllabic intensity increases from one group of lessons to the next and contain all the letters of the alphabet, but no  numbers or symbols. This provides a consistent measurement on a student's progress in straight copy skill.  In addition, students' timings at the end of the course should be based on the average of the best 3 timings taken during the last few weeks of the course.  Also,  it is essential to stress the importance of accuracy when students key less wam.  Some teachers create added incentives for their students.  A teacher in Cobb County allows her students to take a 3 minute timed writing and advises them to strive for 0 errors (even if they can only key 10-15 wam).  If they achieve this goal, she will give them a 100 and take that grade and average it with a 3 minute timed writing based on wpm.  At least this enables the students to achieve a higher grade than "just a passing grade".  Most students work harder when the teacher is a little creative and lenient in grading.  This still does not compromise the learning process, just creates some incentive.

Question #50: Can a timed writing that is repeated be an accurate predictor of a student's skill in keyboarding?  How often can a timed writing be repeated before it no longer represents a student's true skill?

Expert's Response: I would not repeat timed writings on the same day.  But, over a period of the week, you could repeat the timing many times and it would accurately predict the students capability.

Student's Reaction: I think timed writings can be repeated every two or three weeks and remain accurate predictors of a student's true skill.  Keyboarding skill is developed by correct practice, which is reinforcement and repetition.
 

Question #50: Can a timed writing that is repeated be an accurate predictor of a student's skill in keyboarding?  How often can a timed writing be repeated before it no longer represents a student's true skill?

Expert's Response: We need to clarify what length timed writing we are discussing.  There is a huge difference. For example: Timings of one-minute or less are given for skill building purposes; therefore, repetition is necessary.  In the Pretest, Practice, Posttest I described in answer to question one, the lines were being repeated.  This repetition lets students practice various patterns and helps build their speed/control.

Timings for three- or five-minutes are given to "evaluate" progress.  These should not be repeated.  When it comes to summative evaluation, I advise:

Students should be given no more than two three- or five-minute timings in one class session. These two timings should be given on "different" material. These timings should be given at the "beginning" of the class session not at the end of the period when students are tired or possibly frustrated from previous class work. These timings should be given preferably at the end of the week and no more than twice in one week.

Therefore, there are times when repetition might be valuable-such as in short, skill building experiences.  Repetition is not valuable in evaluative timings or in production work applications.  In these instances, the copy should change.

One of the key psychological principles in teaching keyboarding is that repetition in and of itself is not effective.

Student's Reaction: I agree with the basic explanation provided by the expert. Timings should be administered at the beginning of a class period.  I would like to see textbook authors restructure the lesson layout to accommodate for this suggestion.  To develop skill building, it is important for timed writings to be repetitive; however, during the evaluation, the timings should be on different material.  In my opinion, a repeated timing is not an accurate predictor, since students develop familiarity with the copy.

Question #50: Can a timed writing that is repeated be an accurate predictor of a student's skill in keyboarding? How often can a timed writing be repeated before it no longer represents a student's true skill?
 

Expert's Response: A writing that is repeated. Hum. Yes. I always went back to previous timed writings for students to review and to attempt to increase speed. Some timed writings are just better for different people. We have to consider the subject of the timed writing. Even though the syllabic count and copy difficulty are stated as being either easy, moderate, or difficult, students who don't like what they are reading will tend to do well or poorly.

The second question, How often   .... If the writing is repeated several times with no other copy in-between writings, then the writing is failing to do as is intended. Students who have memorized a copy are not necessarily building skills. I do believe, however, that students need to build skill on familiar copy.

I don't know how many times is too many times. I wouldn't let the same timing occur too often. In other words, I would use a timing in that chapter of the book. Would come back to it after three or so chapters, and then wouldn't come back to it ever again.

Student's Reaction: I think the expert is right again. Time writings can be repeated. However, there is a limit. Twelve second timed writings sprints are good to do 3 times but any more and it would begin to be unproductive. I also agree that some timed writings are better for some students then others. There are words that are more familiar for some than others. I feel that if there is no skill building drills between timed writings then you are defeating the purpose of timed writings. Skill building between timed writings serves the purpose of improving skills tied to student accuracy and speed. To do timed writings without these types of skill building drills does not help a student improve on their speed and accuracy.

Question #50: Can a timed writing that is repeated be an accurate predictor of a student's skill in keyboarding? How often can a timed writing be repeated before it no longer represents a student's true skill?

Expert's Response: Timed writing are good "possible predictors" of speed and accuracy. The best timed writings are those that are brand new to the student. Once a student memorizes or becomes familiar with the information, they begin to change their focus from the written or printed work on the page to a memorizing concept. In general, I believe that timed writings should only be repeated twice for accurate results. With the advent of new technology and software, timed writings can easily be created to mix themselves up for more accurate testing of the student's skill level.
 

Student's Reaction: I agree that copy that has been repeated more than once begins to be memorized and the focus shifts from keying from the copy to keying from memory. The best predictors of student skill are timings where the copy is completely new to the student. I can be structured the same as previous timings, but use different words and phrases (same syllabic content). I know I tend to type faster if I know what the next word is. This is typing from my memory instead of looking at the copy and focusing on it. With the availability of sources, there is no reason for us to repeat the same timings.

Question #50: Can a timed writing that is repeated be an accurate predictor of a students skill in keyboarding?  How often can a timed writing be repeated before it no longer represents a student's true skill?

Expert's Response: I do not feel that the reliability of a timed writing is seriously threatened if it is given twice to a student, even during the same class period.  In fact, that is how I often do it--I give two timed writings to a class at the beginning of the period, using the same timed writing.  I do feel, however, that it is a waste of time to give more than two timed writings during a class period.  I feel that many teachers waste much time in keyboarding by sometimes using a whole class period just to give timed writings.  Timed writings only measure what a student can do--they do not really help the student in any way.  Students need separate speed and accuracy drills in order to improve straight-copy speed and accuracy.  However, I do not usually use the same timed writing more than one day during a grading period (six weeks or a quarter).

Student's Reaction: I think you he hit it right on the head.  I do not feel that it hurts a student to give him the same timed writing twice.  I think the first on is often just as good as the second one.  I do feel that if the teacher give more than 2 timed writings, then it can be bad for the student.  I differ a little bit when it comes to the point about a timed writing not helping in any way.  I feel that the timed writings help the student learn how to work under pressure.  In the business world, everything is under time pressure.

Question #57:  What should be stressed more--speed or accuracy?  Why?

Expert's Response: Speed or accuracy--well, both are very important.  When using typewriters, we probably placed more emphasis on accuracy.  Documents were pretty hard to correct.  Given the times, when the many features of word processing today, many of the programs correct most of our errors for us.  So I would tend to change my thought and think that speed should be stressed a little more.  However, the important question here might be the importance of PROOFREADING skills.  The forgotten art that receives so little emphasis.  Given all the sophisticated equipment--proofreading is still the most important part.  So maybe the split today should be speed, accuracy, and proofreading skills.  It is okay to type 100 words per minute only if you are able to slow down long enough to proofread your documents. My students have trouble slowing down long enough to proof their work.
 

Student's Reaction: I agree with the expert. My students have the same difficulties slowing down enough to proofread.  Many times, even when completing a test, my students print and turn in their work without proofreading.  Even though our department emphasizes proofreading, students still have a difficult time seeing the worthiness of proofreading.  Students feel spell check and grammar check will take care of document errors, when in fact, these tools will not helpful but not foolproof.  As we have discussed in class, speed and accuracy are both important in their own right.  You need both to be completely successful.  Again, I like the expert's comments.

Question #57:  What should be stressed moreÑspeed or accuracy?  Why?

Expert's Response:  With technology's ability to allow for ease of document creation, more copies of a document are produced since the electronic data entry provides for easy correction.  In the olden days, accuracy was important, and data entry people did not generate multiple copies before obtaining a usage document.  Thus, accuracy should be stressed as the cost of producing documents could and would be reduced.

Student's Reaction:  I agree with the expert's logic that accuracy should be stresses because if documents were produced accurately the first time, the cost of producing such documents would inevitably be reduced.  As far as keyboarding instruction is concerned, I believe that accuracy should be stressed when a student is leaning the keyboard, and then once the student achieves full range use of the keyboard, speed should be emphasized.  Both of these components are necessary in shaping  a proficient typist.

Question #57: What should be stressed more speed or accuracy? Why?

Expert's Response: Accuracy should be stressed more to develop proper technique before a student can work toward building speed.  Once the accuracy is developed drills, such as 30 second timings can be used to increase speed.

Student's Reaction: Speed and accuracy are both very important. There should be a balance developed throughout the learning experience. Accuracy is the result of applying the technique; speed will come with practice. Accuracy is the challenge, the goal for teachers; measured by the student's ability to apply proper keyboarding technique. Their success is your success and their failure is cause for reevaluating your teaching technique.

Question #57: What should be stressed moreÑspeed or accuracy?  Why?

Expert's Response: I have my students stress the one they want to work to improve their over all performance.  I stress speed and "trust" to new students.  I want them to learn good techniques, trust their fingers and get them to moving.  Once they have some speed, then I work with them to analyze what type of errors they are making and what can be done to improve their accuracy.  Of course, to me the final results of a document always need to show accuracy.  So, accuracy should never be sacrificed for speed...as the end result.  I think we as teachers get tempted to ignore errors now that software programs can correct spelling, grammar, etc.  But all those things indicate something is wrong with the person's keying ability or they wouldn't have made the mistakes in the first place.

I'm not as particular as my old typing teachers who would not let me go to a faster speed until I could type my timed writings without an error in order to count it for a grade.  However, that technique worked for me.  I would get "sick" of typing the same timed writing over and over...so I would get serious on my technique and concentration and do it right.  This worked for me and it wasn't long until I could type for five or ten minutes at approximately 80-90 gwpm with no errors and could easily do a 100 or more gwpm on one-minute writings with no errors.  Now I catch myself slipping on my concentration and my brain knowing that I can correct it later with spellcheck!

Student's Reaction: I agree with the expert's assessment of the importance of speed and accuracy.  While I do not believe one should be achieved at the expense of the other, I do believe the edge goes to accuracy.  A document that contains errors is useless, regardless to how quickly it was produced.

Question #57: What should be stressed more--speed or accuracy?  Why?

Expert's Response: These do not have to be mutually exclusive.  To stress only speed with the idea that accuracy will follow is not correct just as stressing accuracy with no push for speed is not educationally sound.  Over the 38 years that I have taught I have found that you must stress speed and then drop back for accuracy.  They grow together not individually.

Student's Reaction: I completely agree with the expert in that you must stress both speed and accuracy to a keyboarding student.  Pushing for speed will not cause a student to develop the accuracy that is needed to produce mailable documents.  Stressing only accuracy will not help the student finish the work in a reasonable length of time.  The two skills must be developed together using appropriate drills everyday.

If I had to choose between the two, I would say that accuracy is the most important.  I would prefer to wait longer for a document to be produced in mailable form than have the student rush to meet a time limit and have the work unusable.  This is very important when my students are working for other teachers by keying worksheets, tests, handouts, etc.  These must be accurate, but they must also be finished by a deadline.

Question #57: What should be stressed more--speed or accuracy?  Why?

Expert's Response: There is a need to stress both, but definitely not at the same time.  If forced to emphasize one over the other, however, I would choose accuracy.  The reason I believe accuracy is more important is that a high level of speed doesn't necessarily guarantee a usable end product.  Accuracy will provide that end product even though lack of speed means it might take a long time to get it.

Student's Reaction: I agree that both are important.  Accuracy is more important than speed, because speed will increase with time.  However accuracy must be emphasized from the beginning.  If a student types accurately, they can begin to improve their speed.

Questions #65: When teaching beginning typists, should speed or accuracy be emphasized first?  Why?

Expert's Response: Speed vs. accuracy.  I'm a firm believer that speed should be emphasized first--right from the start.  As students gain a certain amount of speed, they can then maintain a steady pace to improve accuracy.  When accuracy has been attained at that particular level, then speed should again be emphasized.  As a result, I say speed first, then accuracy.

Student's Reaction: I disagree with the expert on this point.  I feel accuracy should be emphasized from the beginning, and when a student achieves mastery of accuracy they can begin to build their speed.

Question #66: What are some effective techniques or practices for improving accuracy?

Expert's Response: Good technique goes a long way in achieving accuracy.  I give a technique grade--checking a different skill each day.  (Posture, legs/feet, wrists, fingers, elbows, eyes, space bar/enter)

Personally, I focus more on speed rather than accuracy.  With word processing, you have many options and opportunities for correcting your work, way more than we did on typewriters!  With spell check and good proofreading skills, an accuracy document can easily be produced.  Just teach the process and reinforce as much as possible.

Proofreading process--1.)  Use spell check to catch numerous errors. 2.) Read document out loud (or mouth words) to catch correct word usage (there, their, they're) and extra and/or missing words. 3) Read back words to catch mistakes to catch mistakes that spell check did not catch.  4) Use print preview (zoom) to catch format errors (spacing, indents, windows/orphans).  In addition, if numbers are keyed, have a partner read the numbers out loud while you verify what is keyed on the screen.
 

If you want to focus on accuracy, most textbook publishers offer accuracy drill books.

Student's Reaction: I think that accuracy does start from the very beginning.  It is very important to learn the proper technique from the beginning.  Like the authority said, good technique goes along way to produce accuracy.  I think that accuracy does come from practice.  The accuracy drills in the books are good ways to improve your accuracy.  I think that if you force yourself to slow down a little bit and focus in accuracy, then it can be achieved.  However, I do agree that with today's technology, speed should be the main focus.

Question #66:  What are some effective techniques or practices for improving accuracy?

Expert's Response: Techniques for improving accuracy.  I always found the accuracy drills in the keyboarding text books to be very helpful.  If only the teachers would use them.  Unfortunately, many teachers like to skip over those parts.  Truly, any given day, a small amount of time should be given to drill work for speed, accuracy, or proofreading.  Exercises that sometimes were fun:

A) Have students do a 1 minute timed writing for accuracy.  The minute they make a mistake, they must stand up.  As soon as someone else stands, they may sit.  This should be fun, not meant to be intimidating.

B) One minute timing for accuracy--award bonus points to those students who have 0 errors, a few for those with 1 error, etc.....

C) After any timing, select the words that had errors, type each one five times.

D) There are also some good analysis tools.  Look at the particular kinds of errors students might make in a 5 minute timing, then depending on the type of errors--go to a specific drill.  Might be some correlation between errors such ie, io, ou, caps, etc....

E) Everyday should start with warmup drills: Maybe 4 lines of copy.  Type each line three times--first for rhythm, second for speed, last for accuracy.

Student's Reaction: Again, I agree with the expert and appreciate her input.  I will be trying her suggestions in section "A" of her response.  It should be a fun exercise to do with the students and should help them see how quickly they actually make errors when keying a timed writing.  I like her idea of giving extra points on timed writings based on errors. We already do this in evaluating timed writings.  It seems to work and students enjoy the reward for accuracy.
 

My students complete drill work associated with timings in each lesson.  This is a good skillbuilding technique to use with students in class.  Each day students come in my room and read the warm-up instructions on the overhead.  Students actually warm-up prior to class beginning.  This is a great way to begin class because class time is spent on instruction and completing lessons.

Question #66: What are some effective techniques or practices for improving accuracy?

Expert's Response: Effective strategies to improving accuracy would be first to diagnose the errors madeÑthis can be done by manually checking the uncorrected and corrected errors made by the typist.  With timed writing and keyboarding software today, diagnosis of errors can be made.  Drills then can be assigned to help remedy the specific finger, hand, or concentration errors.  I find at the collegiate level, where my 11 years of keyboarding experience is (5 years of high school experience was on typewriters many moons ago!), that most errors with these experienced typists are concentration errors.  Slowing down the pace and 'talking as one keys' or dictating to one's self is effective.  Cortez Peters' method of  'letter by letter and with rhythm' is good, as are his concentration drills. There is a debate, however, on 'nonsense' keying Ð which many of Cortez Peters' concentration drills are.  But it does force the typist to think of each letter as it is keyedÑthis essentially leads to higher accuracy.

Student's Reaction:  More is caught than is taught so if I let it be known by word and action, that proper technique is important, they should catch on. Students need to learn that it is ok to be slow on hard words and fast on easy words. When we say 'timed', it automatically puts students on the edge of their seat, ready for a race. The emphasis of accuracy requires that they read at a steady pace, flying fingers not flying eyes. Grades are a great motivator to bring home the importance of accuracy.  Paced practice, as the expert suggests, helps students to obtain a balance between speed and accuracy.

Question #66: What are some effective techniques or practices for improving accuracy?

Expert's Response: The most important is to learn the keyboard by TOUCH in the first place.  Reaches must become so automatic that a student doesn't have to think or look to see which finger controls a key.  Again, I also believe good technique leads to accurate typing.  If a student is having difficulty with a particular reach, I always send them back to the lesson where that key was introduced.  I have the student practice the drill line.

Student's Reaction: Again, I agree with the expert in that the keyboard should be learned by touch first.  This will only help to improve accuracy.  Another technique that could be used is having the students close their eyes and type phrases that the teacher recites.  This works well in my class.  Also, having students do races typing the alphabet.

Question #66: What are some effective techniques or practices for improving accuracy?

Expert's Response: Paced Practice exercises (in which quarter-minute intervals are announced so that students can tell if they are typing too fast or too slow) are the best type of practice I know of for building accuracy (or speed, for that matter).  The key to building accuracy is to slow downÑjust a little.  The key to building speed is to speed upÑjust a little.  As noted above, any extreme decision from one's normal speed is detrimental to skillbuilding.

But how does a student know how to speed up (for speed) or slow down (for accuracy) just a little?  By typing at a controlled rate:  2-4 wpm slower or faster than normal.  So paced practice lets students know if they are typing too fast or too slowly for their goal.

Student's Reaction: As a middle school business teacher, there is not sufficient time to use these techniques.  However, it does seem to have merit and as a high school business teacher I intend to try it.

Question #66: What are some effective techniques or practices for improving accuracy?

No reply.

Student's Reaction: One effective way to improve accuracy is to make sure that students are using the correct technique.  This includes their posture, hand, wrist and arm positions, position of their feet, and the placement of their bodies in relation to the keyboard.

A teacher should also emphasize the importance of accuracy from the beginning of the class.  The students must be aware of errors and try not to make them.  A large portion of the students' grades can be based on accuracy.  This will emphasize the importance of producing mailable documents.

When stressing accuracy on timings, the teacher should tell the students to slow their reading rate.  If they read several words ahead of their fingers, they will probably make more errors.  The teacher must emphasize control on timings.

Paced practice is effective in improving accuracy.  After a student has reached a speed goal, the speed should be decreased so that accuracy can be emphasized.

I also use games to help students concentrate on accuracy.  I will time them for 10, 20, or 30 seconds.  They are to key until they make an error and then stop.  Hopefully some of them are still keying at the end of the timed period.
 

Another game is to have them compete in teams to type a line without errors.  Beginning with the first student on the team, they must type the line correctly or start over until they do.  The other students watch to make sure they do not make corrections or key the line with errors.  The first team that has each student key the line correctly wins.

Question #66: What are some effective techniques or practices for improving accuracy?

Expert's Response: The main focus for achieving accuracy is to have a good psychological feeling.  Errors are generally caused by carelessness or psychological problems.  For example, if you make an error on the first line, you should start over because you'll make errors throughout the copy.  One of the best ways I've found is to grade timed writings on a speed/percent of accuracy.  Instead of indicating the number of errors you make, calculate the percent of the copy that was typed accurately.  Again, this approach is psychological.  Also, using a pacing drill in which a certain speed is maintained with the emphasis on accuracy, will achieve better accuracy.  You must first, however, feel good about your abilities before accuracy can be achieved.

Student's Reaction: I agree that feeling good about yourself is important to achieve anything; however, I don't think it should be the primary focus for the teacher.  You should not criticize or judge a student.  Diagnostic testing, progressive and paced practice should be used to improve a student's accuracy.  Most errors are made because a student doe not have a good pace in typing and reading the copy.  They are reading to quickly and cannot keep up with their eyes.  Paced practice will help them improve their accuracy.

Question #67: What are some effective techniques or practices for improving speed?

Expert's Response: Effective practices to develop speed are daily/weekly practice.  I required my keyboarding collegiate students to do 20 minutes of  "practice timings" a week using a timed writing software that starts-stops them, diagnoses errors, and keeps a record of performance.  They must do at least for 5-minute timings.  A specific strategy would be sprints of 1 minute at top speed, then dropping down for the full-length timing (5' appropriate for secondary and post-secondary students).

Student's Reaction: Agree.  Speed does not come naturally.  It comes from consistent effort and practice.  Just remember speed buildings are best at the beginning of the class period to minimize effects of  fatigue.  Also, progressive practices, 1' timed writings, and 30" timed writings are good practices for building speed.

Question #67:  What are some effective techniques or practices for improving speed?
 

Expert's Response: The drills in the textbooks generally do a good job in improving accuracy.  Currently I am using SKill Builders , 3rd edition, by Ronald D. Johnson and published by South-Western Publishing Company.  I use this with my advanced word processing students to improve both their speed and accuracy.  I have had excellent results over the last two years using this text.  I am sure there are others on the market as well. The key, it seems to me, is be sure the students PRACTICE.  Just as with any skill, practice is the key.  I make the analogy to sports, playing a musical instrument, needlework, etc. early in the course so that students can relate easily to the need for practice.

Student's Reaction: Oh No!!!  She doesn't use Dr. Johnson's book.  The only thing that has worked for me is to practice constantly.  The more documents I type and the more skill building exercises I complete, the better I get.  I agree that practice is the best way to improve speed because typing is a motor skill that has to be practiced.  I like Susan's analogy to sports, it takes practice to learn how to hit a baseball.  So does typing.

Question #67:  What are some effective techniques or practices for improving speed?Expert's Response:  Assuming the students have learned all the keys and are now ready toconcentrate on building speed, there are several techniques to use to improve speed. When students are working on speed, they should not be concerned about accuracy. The instructor needs to observe the students to be sure they are using proper techniques (sitting up straight, feet on floor, etc.)Drills for speed building can be found in any keyboarding textbook.  Examples of such drills include:1.  Typing a line while being timed. Then typing the same line 2 or 3 more times trying to
increase your speed by 1 word per minute each time it is typed.

2.  Sprints. The students type as many words as they can in 15 seconds. Then in 30 seconds, 1 minute, 2 minutes, and 3 minutes. The goal is to maintain the speed so the
student types the same number of wpm for 3 minutes as they did for 15 seconds.

3.  Up 4 Down 2:  This drill has students working on both speed and accuracy, but only one at a time. The students take a timing to establish their speed. They take the same timing and try to type 4 wpm more than the first time. When they achieve 4 wpm more than their first timing, they take the timing again for accuracy by reducing their speed by 2 wpm.
 

Student's Reaction:  I agree that when students are working on speed, they should not be concerned about accuracy.  Emphasis on technique is very important when trying to improve speed.  The use of proper technique will help fight off the onset of fatigue, invariably helping the student's speed to be maintained over a long timed writing.  I think that the expert's three suggestions for building speed are excellent drills.  I plan to use them when I begin teaching keyboarding.

Question #57: What should be stressed more--speed or accuracy?  Why?

Expert's Response: There is a need to stress both, but definitely not at the same time.  If forced to emphasize one over the other, however, I would choose accuracy.  The reason I believe accuracy is more important is that a high level of speed doesn't necessarily guarantee a usable end product.  Accuracy will provide that end product even though lack of speed means it might take a long time to get it.

Student's Reaction: I agree that both are important.  Accuracy is more important than speed, because speed will increase with time.  However accuracy must be emphasized from the beginning.  If a student types accurately, they can begin to improve their speed.

Question #67: What are some effective techniques or practices for improving speed?

Expert's Response: My favorite drill for improving speed is the 12-second sprint.  Sprints allow the students to experience immediate success and foster feelings of confidence and enthusiasm.  The students usually need to be convinced they actually typed that fast.  I then like to move them on to 30-second timings and finally 1-minute timings in which they strive to maintain their speed.  I also warn them that building speed is a stairstep processÐtwo steps up followed by one step down; however, the net gain is always up.

Student's Reaction: I agree and embrace the suggestion of using the 12-second sprints.  I would also have some aspect of typing timed each day.  It has been proven that it takes practice and a conscious effort to improve speed.

Question #67: What are some effective techniques or practices for improving speed?

Expert's Response: Repetition.  The research (and "no" I am not going to go get the sources) says that practicing the same key strokes that the student is having the errors with will make the student keyboard better and will eliminate those errors.  I agree with this.

Students need to learn to read as they type instead of just typing letters.  Perhaps a good plan is to compose  at the keyboard.  When students are forced to compose at the keyboard, they have to think in "words" and not in letters.
 

Speed can be improved when simple practices are repeated, more difficult practice is given, and then go back to more simple practice.  For example, give speed drills on simple copy, then more difficult copy, and then to simple copy.

Have students set goals.  Even if it means marking a place in the copy that the student wants to reach before time is called.  This worked for me several times and for my students.  Students want to set goals.  You might insist that they set short goals that are
achievable before setting really "tough" goals.

Student's Reaction: The expert's answer was complete and I agree with him completely.  Students need and want goals to work towards and it is motivation.  I like ways to motivate my students.

Question #67: What are some effective techniques or practices for improving speed?

Expert's Response: Cortez Peters' technique seem to be the most productive that I have had the opportunity to use.  By focusing on the weakest areas, the skill was further developed and appeared to a major impact on the end result.

Student's Reaction: I do not know who Cortez Peter's was or is.  I do believe that you must focus on your weakest areas and practice to make them better.  The Pretest/Practice/Posttest in your book is very helpful for the students.  It helps them practice the keys they are missing.
Question #83: What is the optimum length for a timed writing?

Expert's Response:

3 to 5 minutes

Student's Reaction: As students advance through different levels of computer courses, I think the optimum length for a timed writing will change.  During an introduction to keyboarding course, the optimum length should be two minutes.  In an intermediate course, the optimum length should be five minutes.  Some employment timings vary in length from five to ten minutes.  I think students should be exposed to real world situations by offering a ten-minute timing at the advanced levels.

Question #84: How often each week should you give timed writing tests?
 

Expert's Response: I spend lots of time during the first quarter and then it tapers off the rest of the year.  The first couple of weeks of each new quarter I hit it hard, almost every day, and then taper off.  I like to give timings on the day that I am introducing a new document.  You generally can't introduce and key on the same day, so taking timings first and then listening to a presentation breaks up the period for the students.  I also like to give timings and a catch up day periodically when we (including me) need a break.  And I also have some "fun" holiday things that we do the day before vacations, homecoming, etc.

Student's Reaction: We give timed writings three days a week.  Usually after the warm-up we take two to three timings and then go to the regular lesson.  If students finish assignments any day of the week, they may go to Student Typist and take timed writings.  They never have to be prodded to take timed writings.  They are always glad to take them and have a lot of fun bragging about their accomplishments.  This method has worked very well for me in the keyboarding classes.
 
 
 

 Teaching Strategies/Philosophies

Question #7: What is the most difficult keyboarding application for students to master?

Expert's Response: I'm not sure exactly what you mean by "keyboard application", that covers a lot, but I'll answer what I think you are asking.  I'm a firm believer in the "touch typing" method.  I think the hardest application that students have change as they progress in their knowledge.  First, many find it extremely difficult to trust themselves and strike the correct keys with the correct fingers without looking.  As far as which keys are hardest for them to master, overall, it would have to be the number and symbol keys located on the top row.  Many teachers have started using a new concept of starting a  "new home row" and having the students move their fingers from "asdf-jkl;" straight up to "1234-7890" and teaching the keys from there.  Many have started just teaching student to use the "ten-key" pad for numbers.  I've not gone to that as I still think a student loses time switching from one home row to another, or will miss home row then returning from the upper keys back to the regular home row.
 

In case that isn't the answer you are looking for regarding keyboard application, then perhaps you want to know what is the hardest application of using the keyboard.  In that area, I believe format is important and I find many students that come to me from high school can sit and manipulate the keys at a reasonable rate, but are very weak in specific formatting skills.  I realize that computers now have templates built into most of their software, but I find them to be slower and more awkward to use than I like.  A fast typist can type a letter and go home before they can fool with getting a certain template format to compute to type a letter.  It seems many students are willing to just be satisfied with the default margins, mixing of formats, not placed "picture frame effect" on the page, etc.  To me a document needs to produce a "positive image" before it is ever read.  Many students are not willing to go the "extra mile" to make a document look appropriate.

Student's Reaction: I agree with the expert that document formatting is a problem when it comes to mastering keyboarding applications.  Most students pick up simple formatting like centering, bold facing, and font style relatively easy.  However, when it comes to setting margins, tabs, headers, footers, etc. most students have a hard time retaining these skills.  I think the key to improving these skills is to have students format more documents requiring these skills.  Once these skills have been obtained students must continue to use them throughout the term or semester.  The old term "if you don't use it, you loose it " very much applies to advanced formatting skills.

Question #19: Should students be allowed to work at their own pace with assignment sheets or stay together as a class?

Expert's Response: In the beginning, the students should stay together as a class; however, as they become more intermediate they should be allowed to be more independent with supervision and help as needed.

Student's Reaction: I think the expert addressed this question appropriately; however, I think it would vary depending on the grade level.  It is possible to keep students together as a class and to also use assignment sheets to determine mastery of a concept.  Assignment sheets are important to determine if students understand concepts and procedures.  The assignment sheets could be given at the end of a unit.

Question #22: At what grade level should keyboarding instruction be introduced?

Expert's Response: My stepdaughter is in 5" grade and she loves the computer but her hands aren't big enough to maintain good finger technique. I think 7th grade would be a good level.

Student's Reaction: Using the standard keyboard, I agree that 7th grade would be a good place
to start. However, with the development of a smaller keyboard (this already exists), we should begin earlier than that. I think that 5th or 6th grade at the latest. Students are being exposed to computers earlier and earlier. It is estimated that by the year 2010 every member of the household will have their own computer. I believe this because some days in our house I really just wish I had one that is mine alone. I'm not sure that students below that grade level have the psychomotor skills to be able to learn to key by touch.

Question #22: At what grade level should keyboarding instruction be introduced?

ADVANCE \d3Expert's Response: Keyboarding should be introduced at the elementary level. According to the keyboarding study done by Dr. Lila Prigge, it should not be introduced before the 4th or 5th grade.

Reaction: I totally agree with this expert's opinion on this question. Keyboarding should be introduced at the 4th and 5th grade level. In an ideal world, I would immediately mandate all students begin formal keyboarding training in the 4th grade. In addition, I would then follow up with a 5th grade class. Our concern as business education teachers should be who will be their (elementary) keyboarding instructors. Elementary academic teachers would be fine as long as they had at least one or two college level instructional keyboarding classes.

Question #22: At what grade level should keyboarding instruction be introduced?

Expert's Response: In addition to my teaching experience at the secondary and post-secondary levels, I worked at the elementary school level for two years.  I taught keyboarding to 2nd-6th grade students.  I found that 2nd graders do not yet have the ability to look at the paper and not their hands and remember what letter is under their fingers; however, by the 3rd-4th grade, they have the ability and are developing their dexterity skills.  In talking to current elementary school teachers, I have heard that they begin their students in the 5th grade before they go to middle school.

Student's Reaction: In my opinion, I sincerely believe that an introduction of the alphabetic keyboard should not be taught at the elementary level.  The elementary level could focus on how to effectively navigate with a mouse and how to enter numbers using the numeric keypad for math drills.  My reason for saying this is students need to concentrate on the basic skills of reading, writing, grammar and math.  I think it is very realistic to begin keyboarding instruction in the sixth grade during middle school.  This introduction should concentrate on the alphabetic keyboard and focus on correct technique.

Question #22: At what grade level should keyboarding instruction be introduced?

Expert's Response: We are working on an experiment to have our 4th graders learn keyboarding.  If this experiment comes to pass, we will probably not teach them as rapidly as we do the 9th graders.
 

Student's Reaction: I think that the sooner you learn anything, the better.  This fact is evident with all of learning.  Students start learning the basic of all knowledge when they are young.  I do realize that you have to gradually increase the amount of difficulty of the topic with young children.  However, I do not feel that starting 4th graders off by teaching them the basic keyboard would be above their level.   I think it is common sense that a Th grader can not learn as fast as a 9th grader.  When teaching these Th graders, you must go at a speed where they can fully master the basic keyboard.  A teacher must keep an eye on the students who are lagging behind so they want get frustrated and give up.

Question #22: At what grade level should keyboarding instruction be introduced?

Expert's Response: Research shows that students do not develop the appropriate psychomotor skills until grade 3 at the lowest.  Personally, I like to see it being taught by grade 6.  It is my feeling that at grade 6, students begin to see the relevance of the computer for more activities.  Their language arts development has increased to the stage that composition is more frequent as well.  In my conversations with high school teachers, they indicate that if students learn keyboarding before grade 6 students tend to forget the techniques.  That means they have to help them unlearn bad techniques before they can learn new ones.

Student's Reaction: I agree with the expert. My typing began in 6th grade.  I am convinced that learning and reinforcing these early skills have been a real benefit to me personally.

The problem we face in the classroom today has to do with students learning to key at home as youngsters.  As these students enter middle school and begin exploring the computer, proper technique is more difficult to attain and students tend to key as they learned at home.  When students enter high school some have no desire to try to improve technique and see no need for doing so.  For these reasons I am in favor of introducing keyboarding at an earlier age, with certain restrictions.  It is important that a business education teacher teach students and technique must be the focus of the class.

Question #22: At what grade should keyboarding instruction be introduced?

Expert's Response: Keyboarding instruction should be introduced as soon as computers are introduced.  So if they are using keyboards in kindergarten, start teaching them the proper technique.  I have a six-year old nephew and last summer I started him on a typing program.  His interest faded quickly, but after a couple of days, he was pretty good on the keyboard.  I didn't really like the program I was using, but it was all I had for him to work from."
 

Student's Reaction: Elementary students are showing an interest in computers.  I e-mail one of the 4th graders on my bus.  His dad got him signed up with AOL with his own address.  Another guy on my bus a 3rd grader has a computer and a TV in his room.  I wouldn't be concerned if my elementary student took keyboard to be used in conjunction with his regular classroom assignments but I would hate to see computers become the new babysitters.   I am concerned that children in early development will replace computer time with time that should be spent in face to face dialogue with friends and parents.  Is there something different about two guys getting together to play a combat game on the computer verses going outside and playing army?  Yes!

Question #22: What grade level should keyboarding instruction be introduced?  I teach high school and a lot of students already have good keyboarding skills when they enter our school.

Expert's Response: When I was in graduate school in the early 70's, I did some research about when students should be introduced to the keyboard.  The consensus then was that the keyboard could be introduced as early as fifth grade.  This took into consideration the maturity level of the students and the physical size of the students hands.

The problem we are facing today is that even preschoolers are using computer keyboards.  If we wait too long to introduce the touch system, bad habits have already begun.  If it is introduced too early little minds and little hands are not ready.

Therefore, I believe that the touch system should be introduced around the fifth grade and even younger students should be encouraged to use the correct fingers on the keys even though they are looking at their fingers.  There are problems with this because Business Education teachers are not usually found in grade schools and most grade school teachers do not have the background to properly teach keyboarding.  A dilemma that perhaps some curriculum and instruction folks could possible solve.

Student's Reaction: I agree with the expert that around the fifth or sixth grade is a good time to introduce keyboarding.  Most students at this age have access to a computer and are using computers on a minimal basis.  It is a lot easier to show students the correct way to use a keyboard before they have developed bad habits than to try and break those habits once they have been developed.  The age that students become aquatinted with the keyboard will continue to become lower and lower as computers become more popular.  As this happens, we must continue to expose them to the proper way of using a keyboard at earlier ages.

Question #28: When should an instructor begin timed writings with students?

Expert's Response: I begin 30 second timings the first week just for a change of pace and motivation!  However, for the longer timed writing, which are used toward a final wpm goal and their grade, I begin those timings as soon as the alpha letters have been taught.
 

Student's Reaction: I agree with the expert that timed writings can be very motivational, although I usually do not begin giving them until about the third or fourth week of class.  The first timings are very short--12 seconds and the students try to type to the end of the line.  If they succeed, it improves their enthusiasm for the class so I try to help everyone to finish the line before time is called. If some are having trouble, I will choose shorter lines or change the time to 15 seconds. They need all the encouragement that I can give.  We also begin typing for accuracy--try to type for 12 seconds without an error.

I agree that graded timed writings should not begin until all of the alphabet has been introduced and practiced.  This should happen at about the sixth or seventh week of the semester.  Even after the graded timings have begun, I try to take the pressure off the students by requiring that they turn in a timing for a grade only if it meets the standards on the scale.  If it does not, they will have a chance to try another day.  I require that they have three (they can have more) timings recorded by 12 weeks and five by the end of the semester.

After reading the answers from the experts, I will try beginning timed writings earlier in the semester.  They seem to think that this will make a difference in the students' enthusiasm and maybe this will improve their skill level and grade.

Question #31: Is their evidence to indicate that playing music during keyboarding can improve performance?

Expert's Response: I'm not aware of any, but I haven't kept up with recent research.  I do know that tests have been done using a metronome and results failed to prove that the metronome usage enhanced speed.  Therefore, I would have doubts that the use of music would have a significant affect.  The only way I think there could be any improvement in performance is if music was played at distinctly different tempos as part of timed writing speed building exercises.

Student's Reaction: I find students tend to concentrate better on keyboarding when playing music during drills.  I will not play any music with words during keyboarding.  I will only play classical music or sound tracks.  I feel music with words would be a distraction to students' concentration.

Question #32: What should be the maximum class size in an introduction to keyboarding course?

Expert's Response:  Before I could answer this question, I am assuming that you are referring to a secondary introductory keyboarding class.  For that type of class, 20-24 students is an ideal number provided the classroom arrangement allows easy access for the instructor to move around the room.  More than 24 students creates major problems in being able to provide individual attention when needed.
 

Student's Reaction:  I agree, the ideal classroom size for a secondary introductory keyboarding course would be between 20-24 students.  Unfortunately, this is not normally the classroom size for a secondary introductory keyboarding course.  Most secondary introductory keyboarding classrooms contain between 25-30 students, if not more.  This does present a problem, not only because a large class size would take away from the individual attention given to each student, but also because a large class size would make it more difficult for students to progress at their own pace, based on their own potential.

Question #35: Should students all stay on the same lessons, even if some are more advanced?

Expert's Response: At the beginning stay all together, but when they are experienced they can go off on their own with supervision when needed.

Student's Reaction: I see this same answer often.  While I agree in theory, I don't think it is practical in practice.  It is very difficult in the classroom to let students work at their own pace.  Slower students can become discouraged when they see many people are ahead of them.  Faster students may begin taking more frequent breaks, or skipping drill work in an attempt to finish early.  It is also more difficult to monitor each student's progress and provide the individual with feedback because students are working in many different areas at once.  Most of the teacher's time would be spent helping students who are working on production exercises with difficulties they might encounter.  Diagnostics on timings can be put aside easily because the time isn't there to look at this work.  I believe that most of the work in a classroom should be done together by the class.  I don't mean on a minute-by-minute basis, but usually on a day-to-day basis.

Question #40: What are your thoughts on allowing students to correct errors on 3' and 5 timings?

Expert's Response: With computers and various WP (as well as other) software, I think we should allow students to correct errors on 3' timed writings.  I'm not so sure we need to give 5' timed writings at all; but if we do, correcting errors is fine.  The productivity of a student (employee) keyboarder involves much more than just keystroking.  So if we want to measure true productivity, we must allow them to correct errors.  A finished, usable document completed within a stated time frame should be the goal.  A student who makes lots of errors in keyboarding should not be penalized if he/she, through knowledge/ familiarity with the software or good proofreading skills, can produce a usable product in the allotted time.
 

Student's Reaction: I am not sure I agree with the expert on this question.  With all the discussions we have had in class, I think at this stage high school students should not be allowed to correct their errors.  We are working on speed coupled with accuracy.  Or we can work on accuracy with speed to come.  Either way the student  is not allowed to correct errors.  That to my way of thinking is a bad habit and one  they will pick up soon enough without encouraging it in keyboarding.

Question #41: Do you feel that having students graph gross words on 30" and I' speed and accuracy drills is an effective motivation strategy?

Expert's Response: My thought is that having students graph gross words on a 30" or l'is only minimally effective as a motivation strategy. I would use it only in the first few weeks of speed building.

Student's Reaction: I am not happy with my expert's responses. I think he should have elaborated on why he thinks graphing words on 30" and I' speed is only "minimally effective?" Why would he use it only in the first few weeks of skill building? What makes it ineffective later in the course? I believe, as I stated earlier, that any visual feedback on a student's progress is a good teaching method for keyboarding.

Question #41: Do you feel that having students graph gross words on 30" and I' speed and accuracy drills is an effective motivation strategy?

Expert's Response: Many students are visually oriented. Keyboarding is a visual class. By being able to graphically see their skill development can be an incentive to do better. Teacher motivations work well here, too. By encouraging students to set new goals, to practice, and to be realistic in their goals will help.

Reaction: I appreciate Mr. Roach's comments about the importance sight plays with typing students. Typing is a very much a visual skill. This is why many refer to keyboarding as an eye to hand skill. I agree that any visual feedback is a very good teacher aid. Feedback is really the key. If graphs show strengths and weaknesses then they should most certainly be used.

Question #46:  How important is speed and accuracy as opposed to grammar, punctuation, spelling, formatting, and other non-keyboarding skills?  Where should we spend more class time?
 

Expert's Response: First and foremost, I believe that keyboarding teachers should recognize that when they teach keyboarding, they are also teaching a "communications skill."  Up front, they should view keyboarding skill as a steppingstone to many other avenues:  composing at the keyboard, sending e-mail messages, researching on the Internet, inputting to prepare presentations, and so it goes.

If teachers and students recognize that keyboarding is a communication and productivity skill, they will appreciate that they have a dual goal for the course.  Obviously, a 9-week Introduction to Keyboarding/Word Processing course can't deliver the exposures and reinforcements that a half-year or year course can deliver-but, regardless, the "dual goals" of the course should be present.

In the early days of any keyboarding course, CORRECT TECHNIQUE should be stressed.  Once correct techniques are in place, the emphasis should be placed on skill building by alternating pushes for "control" and "speed."  Some time should be allocated in each class period for skill building whereby students type in a timed period with specific goals:  either speed or control.

An example includes:
Pretest:  Give a one minute timing for control on lines 1 to 4.
Practice:  Have students take 12 to 15 second speed spurts on each of the lines.
Posttest:  Give two one minute timings on lines 1 to 4.
Have students compare the wpm on the Pretest timing with the Posttest timings.  Typically, there is improvement.  This is merely one example, that takes only a few minutes of class time, and permits students to build their inputting skills.

After students have enhanced their words per minute to at least 20 or more, there should be attention given to developing "composing" skills.  It is here that the keyboarding teacher helps students develop their language arts skills as well.  In New Jersey, we have just adopted Core Competencies and business education teachers need to be sure that we, too are contributing to the "Academic Skills" of the students we meet.  In the "old days," the steno teacher very likely taught more English skills than the English teacher.  Today we, as keyboarding teachers, have to accept the challenge:  We must teach language arts skills in our classroom; we must encourage our students to compose at the keyboard and be responsible for proofreading their own material.  We must teach MORE THAN COPY TYPING.
 

In the early stages of keyboarding instruction, the students will "copy type" but as skill develops more than equal time must be given to "composing/revising/editing as well as using the features of a word processing software package such as spell check, thesaurus, formatting aids and the like.

If the teacher/student recognize that the goal of keyboarding is to acquire a productivity skill by which to communicate most effectively in a myriad of ways, then it is clear the keyboarding instruction is a communications skill as well as a steppingstone in using technology most effectively.

Obviously, if the student has a nine-week keyboarding course, more time will be spent in copy typing and developing copying skills; however, some attention must be given to the communications aspects as well.  Longer courses of half-year to one-year must minimize exposures to copy typing as the course progresses.

Student's Reaction: I agree with the expert in her response to Question 46.  Keyboarding should be taught as a communications skill.  However, as instructors, we may be limited to teaching this skill since students may only be enrolled in the course for a short period of time.  During the introduction of the keyboard, speed and accuracy are going to be critical skills.  On the other hand, spelling and punctuation can strongly be reinforced during the introductory phase.  As students enroll in more advanced computer courses, then I think the emphasis should turn toward grammar, punctuation, spelling, formatting and other non-keyboarding skills.  I think this will introduce students to real world situations by emphasizing these items.

Question #49: What method of teaching number typing do you suggest?

Expert's Response: The home-row/reach method is important to emphasize because I believe it is the best approach for typing production copy that contains occasional numeric data.

It is also necessary to emphasize a method that works best for typing production copy that is predominantly numeric.  If a 10-key numeric pad is available on the keyboard, I prefer this method.  Otherwise, the numeric row as home row is the method I would use.

Student's Reaction:  I feel that is important for students to learn the home-row reach method and 10-key numeric pad method.  The home-row reach method should be taught before the 10-key numeric pad method.  The home-row reach method is more difficult but is vital to students typing production copy with occasional numeric data.

Question #49: What methods of teaching number typing do you suggest?

Expert's Response: As I said above, I use the program that comes with the textbook.  I do encourage students to use the number keypad when they can, and many already do.  I also tell them that if they are strictly typing numbers that they might want to move their hands to the number row or the QWERTY row.  I learned this in the class with Cortez Peters.  It works pretty well, but you have to be typing only numbers, which doesn't happen too often.

Student's Reaction: On this particular point I disagree with the expert.  If I remember correctly, the expert mentioned she has students skip lessons 18-30, which cover the number keys on the QWERTY keyboard.  I feel this is an important area to cover, not to skip.  If there is an area we skip it would be the number pad because students pick this up in computer applications or accounting.  My office experience has been to key more alphanumeric paragraphs or sentences than bookkeeping numbers.  This is another reason why I feel it is important to teach the numbers on the keyboard.

Question #49: What methods of teaching number typing do you suggest?

Expert's Response: Methods for teaching number typing has changed over the years with the influence of keyboarding software packages.  I have always found that drills led by the instructor were most effective.  Also illustrating the proper fingering is necessary.  With the number typing we also need to discuss when to use the numbers on the keyboard and when to use the ten-key pad.

Student's Reaction: Agree.  Drills are a must for students to learn numbers.  Several include:  diagnostic practice--numbers, progressive practice--numbers, sustained practice--numbers/symbols, sequential number counts, and dictation of numbers.  Typing numbers with speed and accuracy is essential to students and to their future in the business world.

Question #49: What methods of teaching number typing do you suggest?
 

Expert's Response: Let's see you can use the pipe organ method, all fingers on the figure keys when keying all numbers.  I don't recommend that one.  You can use the all-numbers first method.  I don't like that method either.  Or, the one I recommend teaching figures after the alpha keys.  The secret to figure keying is correct stroking technique.  Students should straighten their finger from the home row anchor key to the top figure row key and snap the key and then return to the homerow.  You might try taking pictures of a lot of signs with numbers on them and projecting them to the class (video projector, slide projector) and having them key them for variety.

Student's Reaction: I agree with the expert in that the number keys should be taught after the alpha keys and by starting at the homerow keys and reaching up to the number row.  I like his idea of incorporating signs and other out of class examples for students to practice with.  Another exercise that could be used is having students type their Math homework or assignment.

Question #49: What methods of teaching number typing do you suggest?

I always liked to introduce the number keys as I introduced the new alpha keys.  When the students knew the letter keys which correspond with the number keys, I would orally dictate the keys (without using a textbook).  This makes a very easy transition to numbers and then I could dictate each day for review.  I have never liked the manner in which the textbooks introduce all of the numbers in a few lessons following the presentation of the alpha keys.

Student's Reaction: This is interesting.  I never thought of introducing the number keys with the alpha keys.  It sounds like a good idea.  Since the number keys are being introduced with the alpha keys, they would have more practice with these keys.  And, when they get to the section on number keys, they would be comfortable with the reaches.

Question #53: Should students be allowed to take a mini-break from keying after a designated period of time?  If so, what would you recommend in terms of time and activity?
 

Expert's Response: I don't have to think about this too much. In a 50 minute class with only about 45 minutes of typing I don't notice it too much.  I do see students stopping to stretch, etc., but I do not stop the whole class.  I do discuss with the class some hand exercises that will help them if their hands become tired or stressed, and I do give them "recreation time" during the final exam.  An interesting observation that I have made over the years is that the women in my classes generally do not have problems with their hands/wrists/arms getting tired, but the men in class almost always have problems with the outside of the forearm giving them problems. It usually takes about three weeks before the men can type for the whole 45 minutes without stopping.  Also interestingÐI purchased one of the Microsoft split keyboards for myself and had the same outer forearm problem when I first started using it experienced by the men on the regular keyboard.  (Now that is true trivia, and it didn't cost you a thingÐprobably about what it is worth)

Student's Reaction: I agree with the expert. I feel it is important to focus on stretching prior to lengthy keyboarding and possibly stretching in the middle of class.  Prior to students actually keying in class we discuss carpel tunnel syndrome at length.  One of our secretaries comes into the classroom to discuss her options prior to surgery for carpel tunnel syndrome.  Students place restrictive braces on their wrists and hold their fingers over the home row keys.  This exercise seems to get the message across about carpel tunnel and the importance of keeping wrists straight while keying.

Question #58: At what point for a beginning typist should speed be introduced and emphasized?

Expert's Response: Speed should be introduced (and stressed) right from day 1 of instruction.  And the reason is that fast motions are not the same as slow motions speeded up.  There is a different mind-set for fast motions.  Therefore, always have students push for speedÑbut just a little.  Avoid "all-out" pushes for speed because any extreme variance from normal speed (either extremely fast or extremely slow) will result in poorer performance.

Student's Reaction: I find his position very interesting.  I have never begun instruction by stressing speed.  Students seem to be initially very frustrated and intimidated when using correct technique because they find it so much slower than the "hunt and peck" method they have already developed.  To stress speed this early would seemingly exacerbate this problem.

Question #62: What are the top three things (key elements) that a beginning typist must do consistently to become a good typist?

Expert's Response: First, learn the keyboard by TOUCH. Reaches must become automatic to the point that a student doesn't have to think about which finger controls a key. Second, good technique is vital. Some students have an easier time holding their hands in place than others. (I always tell my students that all people have different gifts. Some of us have better coordination than others. I also tell them that I never was very good at shooting a basketball, but I could type fast.) Third, and most important, is PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE. Of course, I mean practice using good technique. I realize there is no magic in the answers I have given. If I think of anything else, I'll write again later.

Student's Reaction: I could not have answered this question any better. My expert stated touch, technique, and practice as the three key elements for becoming a successful typist. I also agree that there is no magical answer to this question. It take lots of practice and proper guidance from a teacher. The instructor should set high expectations and encourage students every step along the way. I appreciated the expert's analogy made to a basketball player. I think all people do have different gifts. This doesn't mean I can't play a little basketball and with some practice get pretty good.

Question #62: What are the top three things (key elements) that a beginning typist must do consistently to become a good typist?

Expert's Response: Good technique would be first on my list. If students have learned bad habits, they are at an immediate disadvantage, particularly if those habits include looking at their fingers or using the wrong fingers on the keys. On my technique evaluation checklist, I list three areas that must be demonstrated satisfactorily, or the student will not pass the technique check  The techniques are eyes on copy, correct finger reaches, and continuity in keystroking.

Practicing with a goal in mind is also extremely important. I tell my students that half an hour of goal oriented practice is roughly equal to one hour of unfocused practice. All exercises in our textbook are based on goals so that the student will always understand the purpose of the drill. This makes the practice meaningful and much more effective.

Practicing consistently is important. Typing is both a physical and mental activity and requires the development of muscles in the hand as well as physical and mental coordination. The only way to develop these skills is through daily practice.

Student's Reaction: I think the expert has given an excellent response, and her emphasis on goals at each stage of keyboarding skill development is important.  I, also, stress the importance of keeping the eyes on the copy.  In addition to the physical aspect of keyboarding, mental attitude and resolve are also important and cannot be discounted.
 

Question #62: What are the, top three things (key elements) that a beginning typist must do consistently to become a good typist?

Expert's Response: Practice!  Practice!  Practice!

Student's Reaction: I agree that practice is definitely a key element, but I think it is not the only thing that will make a beginning typist become a good typist. In my opinion, the top three key elements should be focusing on keeping hands on the home row keys, keeping eyes on copy, and practice. Practice with a focus on these other two is wasted. I can practice playing basketball, but unless I am focusing on my aim or my dribbling skills I will not get better. Practice must be focused in a certain direction.

Question #62: What are the top three things (key elements) that a beginning typist must do consistently to become a good typist?

Expert's Response:
1. concentration
2.  touch method
3.  strive for accuracy and speed

Student's Reaction: The expert did offer three excellent key elements for beginning typists to acquire.  I believe students should ultimately work on their technique at the beginning.  Second, I believe students should develop confidence of controlling the keyboard without looking.  Third, I believe students need to set goals for improvement.  These improvement goals may vary from student to student.  If students will learn that goal setting is important, they will see a tremendous improvement in their keyboarding skills.

Question #62: What are the top three things (key elements) that a beginning typist must do consistently to become a good typist?

Expert's Response: Top three things (direct from the home office in Wahoo, Nebraska perhaps!ÑDavid Letterman of keyboarding here! O---on line humor!!---O.  In reverse order, of course! 3. Practice, practice, practice  2. Concentrate and think each letter as it is typed; developing 'word response' 1. Good techniqueÑmain items are eyes on screen/copy most of the time, hands/arms well placed, back/neck/head in good position to avoid repetitive stress injuries."

Student's Reaction: Memorize the keys and practice until your confidence overcomes your hesitation.  What few errors you may make with the computer are less time consuming to correct than when we had to rely on the typewriter.

Question #62: What are the top three things (key elements) that a beginning typist must do consistently to become a good typist?

Expert's Response: Developing proper techniques should be the first and foremost concern for beginning typists. Research studies have shown that technique or form is a prerequisite to skilled performance of motor tasks. Without correct technique, the skill cannot be performed with speed, precision, and minimum effort. Therefore, technique underlies and becomes the essential basis for the development of keyboarding speed and accuracy. (2) Practice of the right kinds, at the proper levels, and with carefully defined purposes is vital to the success of learning to keyboard. As students practice keyboarding, they should be told to pay attention to the process not the product in the early stages of their skill development. It is also important that each student establish a practice routine. (3) Students who have the proper attitude toward keyboarding are more likely to be successful at becoming competent typists. As students gain skill, they should be setting goals for their typing skills. When they are setting these goals, it is important that they realize that perfect accuracy is not a realistic goal. To help them achieve their goals, they should be reading copy for detail perception not for comprehension.

Student's Reaction: I agree that developing technique should be the first concern for beginning typists. As the correct technique develops, the speed comes too, almost without effort or as Dr. Prigge stated, "minimum effort." If we can only convince or demonstrate this to our students, so they will not try to obtain speed first (which many of them do), I believe our students would have more success at accuracy and speed. (2) 1 agree that students should be told to pay attention to the process not the product in the early stages of their development. We as teachers need to make sure that we emphasis the process and not the product, so they will know we mean what we say. In that way they can focus on the process. (3) 1 especially agree with the third response about proper attitude. I also believe that the attitude of the teacher has a great deal to do with the success of the student. We must be encouragers and demonstrate a love of our subject. I also agree that students should set goals and that they understand that perfection is not realistic, although correcting to the point of perfection can be. Since students are taught to read for comprehension in other classes, it is especially hard for them to concentrate on detail perception. It takes practice and focus and should be a focus of the teacher to guide this style of learning.

Question #63: Given only 10 minutes each day for 45 days a year to teach typing, using no typing books (just Mavis Beacon), what different strategies should be used to teach keyboarding?

No reply.

Student's Reaction: I have never used Mavis Beacon or any other programmed software to teach keyboarding so I am at a disadvantage when trying to answer this question.

I hope I never find myself in a situation where I have only 10 minutes a day to teach keyboarding.  The class would hardly be able to load their software before they would need to log out.  I do not know how many keys are introduced at one time using Mavis Beacon, but with this limited time, I would introduce one key a day if I decided to teach the touch method.  With the short amount of time, the students may need to use the "hunt and peck method" if they were to produce any documents.  I would only concentrate on the alphabetic keys and basic punctuation.

I would need to know the grade level of the students.  At the elementary school level, I would not concentrate on the touch method but allow them to use the keyboard as a tool for 10 minutes a day.  They may key short stories or other writing assignments.  If this situation occurred in a high school, I would try to teach correct technique.

Question #71: Do you feel that teaching word processing skills in keyboarding hinders a student's ability to build keyboarding skills? Why or why not?

Expert's Response: Teaching word processing skills in keyboarding does not hinder a student's ability to build keyboarding skills. Word processing skills and keyboarding skill should be taught together on an as needed basis.  Keyboarding is just the input phase of word processing: you need to get keystrokes into the computer before you can format, edit, and print them.  I recommend teaching basic word processing concepts and techniques as you teach touch keyboarding. I would not teach overstrike too early.  I would begin composition at the keyboard immediately after students have learned the last alpha key: put that skill to work and use word processing skills to edit, format, and enhance the keystrokes.

Student's Reaction: With the use of computers to teach keyboarding, word processing and typing have become intertwined.  I agree that teaching word processing is not a hindrance to teaching keyboarding.  In a full semester course on the computer, students would be quickly bored in a course where they only learn to type.  There may be some reduction in overall typing skill as a result of using a word processor, but the overall ability to produce is much greater.  For those who truly need the high speed rate that can come with additional practice and time.  Many students today have a computer in the home and have some basic word processing skill before they begin keyboarding.  Teachers must incorporate word processing in the keyboarding curriculum or lose these students.

Question #79: Our keyboarding class has one semester of keyboarding using one textbook and a second semester of word processing using another textbook. (a) Do you think this is a good arrangement, or would it be better to have one textbook that integrated the two? (b) If we have to use both textbooks, should we integrate the two or stick to one semester of each?

Expert's Response: I have no problem using two textbooks in two consecutive semesters. Generally speaking, I would not suggest integrating the two, but would stick with one semester of each. I cannot think of an advantage to integrating two textbooks. It is important to lay a good foundation for keyboarding-although it seems to me that perhaps a semester is quite long-at CMU we teach keyboarding in five weeks (I 5 hours). Then we move to the word processing aspects. And, yes, we do use two different textbooks-same publisher, so the format is similar.

Student's Reaction: I think that it is better to use only one textbook at a time. I do, however, pull activities from other texts to use in my keyboarding class from time to time. If I come across an activity that I feel will benefit my class, I will use it. I don't think it is a good practice to have students switch from one textbook to another. It is confusing. They don't seem to mind a handout from the teacher every now and then, it comes across as a break from the normal routine. I agree with using two different texts for learning the keyboard and the word processing applications. I like the idea of using the same publisher because of the similar format. Usually, if a book is well formatted then the next level book will have a similar format. Occasionally, you will come across a situation where the next book will not be as good as the first. Don't use the book just because it is from the same publisher. Find a good book and use it. Tell the student up front that the format of the book will change and they will adjust.
 
 
 
 

 Teaching Technique

Question #13: Do you have any suggestions on teaching and having students maintain good technique?

Expert's Response: We are currently using College Keyboarding for Windows by South Western and it comes with a disk called Alphanumeric which stresses correct techniques and shows examples. We also use a timing software called Micropace Plus which has diagnostic abilities. It will point out which keys are causing the student problems. Otherwise, you have to keep harping at it and pointing out incorrect technique as you observe them doing it.

Student's Reaction: I think this instructor's focus on software to teach techniques is not the best approach. The software can be a very valuable toot but not the primary method. The guidance and encouragement of the instructor should be the primary tool used to teach technique. Good technique is maintained also through teacher-student interaction. Quizzes, charts, and reminders are only some of the ways a teacher can maintain good technique. This is not to say software is not a good aid. However; it certainly is not the primary method used to teach and support good typing technique.

Question #13: Do you have any suggestions on teaching and having students maintain good technique?

Expert's Response: In answering your first question, I start students off very slowly learning the keyboard. I try to watch students and correct them if they are not using good technique. The two items I stress at the beginning are placement of hands on home row and NOT resting their hands on the desk or keyboard. Later, I remind students to hold their fingers correctly, to pull the keyboard to the edge of the desk and not rest their hands on the keyboard or desk. It is important for a student to get "the feel" of each reach.

Student's Reaction: This instructor gives two very specific things she looks for when teaching technique to a beginning typist. I can not help but agree. However, I also would add that teaching correct posture and alignment to the keyboard is also very important. It is very hard to break bad habits. Students come to class with either bad habits or incorrect ergonomics. I think it is the role of the teacher to correct as many things as necessary when the problem is first noticed. I only question how much "later" she reminds student of other keyboarding techniques.

Question #13: Do you have any suggestions on teaching and having students maintain . good technique?

Expert's Response: I'm still looking for the perfect solution. I constantly remind them of posture, finger technique, "eyes on copy." About once every two or three days, I have them close their eyes and they have to type what I am dictating.

Student's Response: I use this same technique of closing the eyes and dictating. The students respond to it well. I agree that constant reminders is the best way of emphasizing good technique. That along with praise when a student is doing it right.

Question #13. Do you have any suggestions on teaching and having students maintain good technique?

Expert's Response: The instructor is the key here. The instructor must constantly monitor the situation on each student in maintaining good technique. Feedback must be frequent and specific.

Student's Reaction: Again, I agree with what the expert has to say, but I wish she had said more. How does the instructor monitor the situation (visually, orally, written with a technique sheet)? How frequent is feedback, and what is specific and how often? Her answers only open up new questions to me.

Question 13: Do you have any suggestions on teaching and having students maintain good technique?

Expert's Response: During the initial weeks of learning to type, students need to be taught correct keyboarding techniques--eyes on copy, feet on floor, back straight in chair, and fingers curved over home keys.  Technique evaluations are very important especially during the learning of the keyboard letter keys.  A technique evaluation may be done on any technique a teacher feels students need to improve.  The teacher may use any drill material from the textbook. To choose to give a "Technique Timing."  A "Technique Timing" is a timing for a brief period 15", 30' 1 minute.  The student is directed to concentrate on ONLY ONE technique for that specific period of time--15", 30", 1 minute.  The teacher then may grade (evaluate) students individually on their performance of a specific technique.  At first, the teacher may just ask for a show of hands--asking "How many students feel they accomplished this technique?"  Or "How many students feel they typed for a  full 15" without looking back at their fingers?"  Technique timings are NEVER graded for speed and/or accuracy.  It's a great confidence builder when a student can raise his/her hand and feel he/she did master the technique successfully.  Whether they did or did not is immaterial to their grade, but THEY don't know this.  They are evaluating themselves.  For a bit of variety, the teacher might have students evaluate their neighbors (students seated next to them).

Giving Technique Timings throughout the keyboarding course will help students develop and maintain good techniques.  As students advance from learning the keyboard to typing applications, the teacher may want to give a Technique Timing (for a longer period of time--3 to 5 minutes).  The focus on these Technique Timings will be typing (formatting) difficult or new concepts in an application.  For instance, a 5' Technique Timing might be typing opening or closing lines of a letter using the correct format.  The typing (formatting) of a bibliography page of a report or typing (formatting) a horizontally and vertically centered table are other ideas to use as Technique Timings for more advanced students.

Student's Reaction:  I agree that during the beginning weeks of keyboarding technique--eyes on copy, feet on floor, back straight in chair, and fingers curved over home keys should be stressed.  I feel as the teacher is monitoring students during the weeks of learning the keyboard, that technique checklists should be completed.  Students need to know that you see those techniques that they need improvement on.

Students need the opportunity to evaluate each others techniques.  They need to see what correct technique looks like.  Also, students need the opportunity to evaluate their own technique.  I feel many times teachers do not like to give a technique grade, due to the feeling that this is a subjective grade.  Therefore, having teacher, peer, and student evaluations eliminates part of the problem with a subjective grade.

Not only should technique checklists be completed during the beginning weeks of keyboarding, but they should be completed periodically throughout the term of keyboarding.  Often on into the course of keyboarding students seem to slack off on their technique.  No matter whether the student is beginning, intermediate, or advanced keyboarding they always need to be reminded of correct technique in keyboarding.

Question #13: Do you have any suggestions on teaching and having students maintain good technique?

Expert's Response: Here are some methods for teaching and helping students good techniques.  Motivate students by having them try to improve each day.  Demonstrate good techniques.  Guide them through practice activities, reminding them about a technique when necessary; provide positive reinforcement; and evaluate results.  The best method I've seen to accomplish this is technique timings.  Have students focus on a single technique, time them for 30 seconds of a minute, then ask them how they did.  Always focus on one technique at a time, and do not check the timing for speed or accuracy, only technique.  You may also want to provide students with a technique checklist and ask them to refer to it frequently, especially during the early lessons.

 Student's Reaction: The expert gives good advice regarding motivation, demonstrations, guided practices, positive reinforcement and evaluation.  Her suggestion to give technique timings is a new one for me.  It seems reasonable, and I may incorporate it the next time I teach a beginning keyboarding class.  As for providing students with a technique checklist and having them refer to it frequently, I already use this strategy–it has worked for me, too.

 Question # 23: Should students use a cover shield to reinforce home-key technique?

 Expert's Response: I think cover shields are great!  It keeps the students from looking at the keyboard--looking at the keyboard causes people to lose their place from copy--it cause them to skip lines of copy and it lessens their potential to key faster and more accurately.
 

 Student's Reaction: I think this technique could be ok.  However, I do feel that a student must learn where the keys are first before this should be used.  I do think a cover shield is a good technique to use when a student who knows the keyboard still can't quit looking at the keys.  I also agree that when you look at the keys, it easy to lose your place and it does slow you down.  I do not feel that a cover shield is the proper thing to use with a very basic beginner.  I think it would do more harm than good.

 Question #26: Should wrist supports be used in keyboarding?

 Expert's Response: I really do not have an opinion about this.  The students like to put their hands on the keyboard, but it is not really their wrists that they are trying to support when they do that.  I think correct technique is still important.  We do not use wrist supports and have no plans to do so."

 Student's Reaction: My wife is a secretary and types 100-wpm.  We have a state of the art electric typewriter and a keyboard for comparison and she feels the strain in her wrist when the wrist support for the keyboard is missing. The reach for the return key on a typewriter is two keys away from the little finger verse the reach for the return on the keyboard.  She says she is faster on the keyboard but tends to get lost more frequently.  Could all the reports of copal tunnel syndrome be the result of technique. The wrist support helps me keep my wrist still and raises the heal of my hand to a more comfortable position. Surely body structure has some affect on technique. There are only 8" of home keys and my elbows are 27" apart.

 Question #34: What is the best way to evaluate technique?  How often do you grade technique?

 Expert's Response: I evaluate technique by walking around the class and gently reminding them that they need to sit up straight, feet on the floor, wrists off the keyboard, etc.  I do not grade this at all.  I explain to them that at home they should have very good control over their environment and should have the proper height of the keyboard, chair, desk, etc.  I teach them how to judge this.  At school they have no control over the height of these things.  Some of those big athletes can't even put their legs under the desk.  It is sort of hard to grade technique on that.

 Student's Reaction: I disagree with not grading technique.  I believe good technique is so important, especially when you are first learning.  If you learn correctly, hopefully you will continue to have good technique.  I do understand exceptions can and should be made to students who cannot get their legs under a desk, or have any other physical problem with the way the classroom is set up.

 Question #34: What is the best way to evaluate technique?  How often do you grade technique?

 
 Expert's Response: I teach my students to evaluate technique using a simple technique check form.  The form has four rows labeled touch keying, posture, positioning, and functions keys (manipulated parts for typewriters) and nine columns.  The columns are for the dates you do a techniques check.  At the intersection of the row and column, the teacher places a score based on the observation of the students.  All the scores are totaled and averaged for the observation.  At the end of the quarter, all individual totals are averaged to get a final technique grade.  I don't like the one-page techniques checks in the textbook:  too long.  I recommend doing a technique check each week if possible particularly in the first four or five weeks of instruction.  Further, I recommend giving techniques at least 50 - 60% of the grade for the first quarter of beginning keyboarding.  To administer a technique check, give students an assignment that they can work on when they are not being checked.  Have a preprinted or selected set of lines students are to are to key for the check.  Walk around the room to each student and have them key the selected lines while you are watching and scoring.  Or give the students all skillbuilding activities and observe the technique check while they are working.  I would also give unannounced technique checks.  You might want to videotape the students and evaluate the tapes after school.  Technique is extremely important in initial skill development and subsequent skillbuilding.

 Student's Reaction: I like the expert's ways of evaluating technique.  By having a ready made chart, it makes it easy to check technique as well as be consistent.  I think another good idea of evaluating technique is to have students evaluate one another.  I think that students could fill out the chart the expert suggested and observe other students.  Students seem to do better when their peers are involved in the grading process.  I definitely think that some of the observations should be unannounced.  This way it keeps students guessing as to when they will be observed for technique, and therefore always using the proper technique.

 Technique is something that should be stressed in the beginning of a course.  It helps students to develop good habits in the beginning and for them to use them and see a difference throughout the course.  I agree with the expert when he states that technique should be 50-60% of the grade, especially in a beginning keyboarding class.

 Question #34: What is the best way to evaluate technique?  How often should technique be graded?

 Expert's Response. Technique is important--especially considering the changes that automation hath wrought! For example, today, typists keep their hands continuously on the keyboards and in typing position for much longer stretches of time than in the past--when we had to insert and remove paper from the typewriter, erase errors, set margins and tabs, and the like. No wonder carpal tunnel syndrome is so prevalent.
 

 The technique evaluation form that I like is (not surprisingly) the one I developed for the Gregg College Keyboarding program (Dr. Johnson can give you a copy--or I'd be happy to fax you one). It measures three major variables--work station, position at the keyboard, and keystroking (individual factors are described beneath the form for each variable).  Thus, it can be administered by the instructor in seconds.

 In addition, I often have students simply stop typing during a long production period and read through the 12 points on this form--as a gentle reminder.

 Student's Reaction: Technique is a very important part of developing a students keyboarding skill.  I feel that technique should be evaluated formally at least twice a week with a checklist type form.  However, I feel that technique should be evaluated informally by the instructor every time the instructor notices errors in technique.  The instructor should give gentle reminders to students each day to continue using good technique.  I feel all students should be assessed formally on the same day in-order to evaluate each student with the same perspective.  If you only do a few students each day, your perspective could possible change from day to day.

 Question #34: What is the best way to evaluate technique?  How often do you grade technique?

 Expert's Response: The best way to evaluate technique is by observation.  I usually try to do this from a vantage point that permits me to observe the student without the student knowing that he or she is being observed.  Quick observations and an oral report to the student like "Your sitting position is very good" or "You are really doing well at keeping your eyes on your copy" or "Lift your wrists a little so you won't rest your hands on the desk" or  "Make your little finger reach over to the Enter key and leave the other fingers on homerow" can be performed daily so the student knows how well he or she is progressing.  For a formal technique grade, I usually do about three toward the end of the semester.  I have a check list that includes sitting position, finger positions, eyes on copy, and wrist position.  I fill out the checklist without the student knowing that he or she is being observed.  However, the students know that I am checking technique on specific occasions, they just don't know when they are being observed.

 Student's Reaction: I like the method of positive reinforcement regarding technique.  I think it will boost self-esteem, as well as proper technique.  The formal technique grad towards the end of the semester is a good idea.  At this point in the semester they should be performing good technique.

 Question #34: What is the best way to evaluate technique?  How often do you grade technique?

 
 Expert's Response: The method I always used was observation by walking around the room.  I gave a grade for technique at irregular intervals throughout Keyboarding I--probably total 5 or 6 times per the semester.  After the first Keyboarding course, technique grades would be given only when technique reminders were necessary.

 Student's Reaction:  I find a combination of teacher, peer, and self evaluation is good during the beginning weeks of keyboarding.  Evaluations are best completed at irregular intervals.  Students will use proper technique when they know they are being evaluated otherwise.  I give one of each of the above mentioned evaluations in a nine week period.

 Question #45: Do you find it helpful to cover student's hands while teaching new keys to prevent them from watching their hands and the keyboard?  Why or why not?

 Expert's Response: Covering student's hands while they are learning new keys seems to be a rather severe way to stress "eyes on the copy".  With the correct approach to reaching new keys, I have found that most students will not look.  The correct approach means to have them locate the new reach, watch their finger make the reach, and having ample time to practice line of type emphasizing the new reach.  Teacher is always in the aisle-coaching!  Use technique evaluation checklists daily in the early stages.  Occasionally, the keyboarding teacher can 'dictate' and watch students key he new reaches.  The teacher would then work individually with those students who can't keep up because they are looking.  Work with them-individually-to identify those particular letters they are having trouble with and give them specialized skill building work to help correct the problem.  The teacher must be very aggressive in the early days of the typing course to be certain that students are NOT looking.

 Only as a last resort would I have student type with their fingers covered.  I also would not do this in the scheduled class session; rather, I would have students come in so I could work with them individually to correct their problem.  Most often they look for only a few keys.  Most often-with active participation on their part-some students just need a little more time to develop their self-confidence in assimilating the new reaches.  If they want to key be touch, they can key by touch!  We must do all we can at the outset to help them develop their confidence in "touch" keying vs. "peeking".  Praise, getting in the aisles, having them type (just a little bit) form our dictation can help.
 

 Student's Reaction: I agree with everything she said.  Yes, covering the hands is a severe way to stress eyes on copy.  I have tried using the Keyboarding covers that our department has had for years.  The students hate them.  They will do anything to cheat when using them.  I only used them when it was a review lesson. I found it only left the students frustrated as well as myself after listening to the students complain about them all day long.  I agree that when learning new keys covering of hands should NEVER take place.  How are the students going to learn the correct reaches without watching their hands and reaches at first?  The teaching strategy she uses for new keys is what I do.  I think the students learn better that way.

 I don't know how having the students come back to the classroom to work on learning the keys would work.  I still believe if the hands were covered they would still become frustrated.  Yes, the teacher is going to have to get up from behind the desk and motivate the student.  The teacher also needs to realize that no matter how hard they motivate, some students still will only touch type.  All we can do is stress the importance of eyes on copy without covering the fingers.  I have decided to that recycling our Keyboarding covers would be a better use for them.

 Question #55: How much should technique count the first half of a one-semester keyboarding course?

 Expert's Response: During the first half of a one semester keyboarding course technique should be emphasized the most.  To place a percentage on it I would have to say 75%."

 Student's Reaction: We discussed this in class and came to the same conclusion.  Again I think the teacher has to accept the responsibility to help students correct poor technique.  I would help the student understand that certain repeated errors are the result of some poor technique and help them detect and correct the technique.  I take tennis lessons once a week during tennis season and our coach drills us and corrects our technique.  When the match begins, he can not say anything, but he doesn't have to, we see the result of poor technique and make the necessary corrections.  If you can establish good technique in the beginning the student can concentrate on the other skills needed to accomplish the task.

 Question #86: How do you break the habit of looking at the keys when typing?

 Expert's Response: I maintain the only reason students look at the keys is because they don't know where they are.  I encourage students to look at the keys from the very first day.  Then, I gradually "challenge" them to avoid looking at the keys until they can do so.  This "challenge" is more effective than an insistence on avoiding the keys.
 

 Student's Reaction: I disagree students should be taught good technique from the beginning.  They should be encouraged not to look at the keyboard.  This will build their confidence that they can touch type without looking at the keyboard.  You can use short challenges to encourage students not to look at the keyboard i.e. such as, 12-second timings increasing to longer timings.  Good technique should be taught from the beginning.  You can grade a student on timed writings with the only criteria being whether or not they look at the keyboard.  Tell them you going to have a timing where speed and accuracy do not count the only thing that counts is whether or not they look at the keyboard. Increasing the amount of time they type without looking at the keyboard with each timing.  This way the only thing they will concentrate on is keeping their eyes on the copy, and build their confidence that they can touch type.

 Question #86:  How do you break the habit of looking at the keys when typing?Expert's

 Response:  When the keys are first introduced, it is appropriate for the students to look at the keys. This helps them to visualize the location of the key and the motion needed to press that key. Once the student knows where the key is, the instructor needs to encourage them to keep their eyes on the paper copy from which they are copying material or on the screen. By watching the screen, they can see immediately whether they have pressed the correct key. Again, the ergonomics of the computer keyboards has made it more difficult to type completely by the touch method. It seems almost impossible to key for very long without having to glance at the keyboard to make sure your fingers are where they belong. Some people think they should turn the monitor off so the students can't see the screen. This is not a good idea (in my opinion). If the screen is dark, the students are more apt to be looking at the keyboard itself.
 
 Student's Reaction:  I agree with the expert. I believe that when the keys are initially introduced, it is appropriate for the students to look at the keys in order to visualize the location of the key and the motion needed to press that key.  However, once the student knows where the key is, the instructor needs to encourage them to keep their eyes on the paper copy or on the screen.  I also believe that it is acceptable to let students watch their computer screens because I believe that if the screen is dark, the students are more likely to look at the keyboard itself.

 Question #86: How do you break the habit of looking at the keys when typing?

 Expert's Response: I tell students it's OK to look at their hands and the keyboard when they are first learning a key.  It helps them get comfortable with the new reach; however, once they feel confident making the reach, it is time to move the eyes to the copy.  When they are done typing a line in the College Keyboarding program, the line will be scored in order to give feedback on their success or identify areas for improvement.  Once these areas are established, they should move on.  If error correction is not allowed during skillbuilding, it also encourages them to develop good technique.  I do allow error correction on timings, but turn it off in our software for skillbuilding.
 

 Student's Reaction: I did not get from her response how the habit of looking at the keyboard could be broken.  One method would be to use positive reinforcement.  Instead on saying "don't look at the keyboard", say "continue to focus on your copy".

 Question #86: How do you break the habit of looking at the keys when typing?

 Expert's Response: I don't.  Nothing works.  I have threatened, bribed, covers on the keys, turn the screens off, and have seen other teachers tape paper on the keys (students put their hands under the paper.  ANSWER:  I don't.

 Student's Reaction: I don't know how I would handle this question.  I don't teach keyboarding  and I'm not sure how important it is not to look at your fingers.  I look at my and I can type fast and do a pretty good job making few errors.  I would also have to consider the kids I do work with and is it important for them not to look at their fingers.  Special needs students need all the help they can get and feel comfortable in completing a job accurately.

 Question #86:  How do you break the habit of looking at the keys when typing?

 Expert's Response: Teacher-directed drills.  Have contests--the first person to look at his/her book raise a hand--then go back to keystroking.  However, it is extremely important, especially with young children, not to set up an embarrassing situation.  Usually a quick hand raise and then a continuation goes unnoticed by other students who are concentrating hard on their own tasks.

 Do key caps work?  No, not usually.  In fact, I am not sure they are still available.  We used to try all sorts of tricks, but students were usually smart enough to figure out a way to circumvent the system. :-)

 Constant reminders about not looking help--but they almost must be made in a general way.  Again, singling out students is not something I advise.  One might also install a reward system--this would require closely watching students--something teachers should be doing anyway. I circulate around the room always--students get used to it and I can pick up on many things.

 On a related note, I have the same kind of problem with students watching the screen--the solution to this is simple--just turn off the monitor.

 Student's Reaction: The most important thing you can do is to encourage students not to look at their book.  The expert has some very good ideas.  Encouragement along with rewards is a very positive way to break the habit.  I also like her idea of how to keep students from looking at the screen.  However,  I think this should be done on a case by case basis.

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