Two Cents Tuesday: Kids Need to Learn How to Type!

22 Oct

As these words appear on your screen, they were at one time pouring out of my fingers quickly and with skill onto a keyboard. After years of rigorous typing courses beginning at age 11 and ending around age 15, typing is something I’ve become an expert at. It is also something I enjoy.

So when I recently found out that many kids in school today are completely bypassing this necessary training, I was appalled. An 11-year-old close family friend revealed to me that he’s never taken a typing course but is required to write papers and even do homework assignments online.

How do you type? I asked

I just look for the letters I need, he responded

After I told him that I could easily type an entire paper without looking at the keyboard, he was amazed. This skill is absolutely necessary in today’s tech-driven world but young students are being robbed of the proper training.

According to Anna Trubek, professor at Oberlin College, typing courses have simply “fallen out of the curriculum.” In her article published in the MIT Technology Review, she writes:

“Touch typing allows us to write without thinking about how we are writing, freeing us to focus on what we are writing, on our ideas. “

Educators and their leaders make an assumption about today’s society and the abilities of our students. The assumption, her article says, is that kids already know how to type. Sure text messaging and touch screen tablets could be considered typing. But is a 140-character tweet really TYPING or simply jotting? Brevity has become an increasingly hot commodity on the internet and in normal person-to-person contact but yet our standardized tests and colleges require essays and speeches more than 500 words long.

A huge and disappointing gap exists between the two expectations of today’s children. Long essays can seem overwhelming to a student who 1) Can’t type as quickly as he thinks and 2) Can’t expand on thoughts and ideas. It seems technology has demanding needs – brevity, convenience, immediacy – while the education world tries to keep up in order to engage students but loses essential training in order to do so.

Needless to say, typing isn’t the only skill being left behind. But the question is really how can we revamp our education system in order to properly train our students for success? How can we incorporate seemingly outdated needs into technology-friendly lesson plans? It isn’t about numbers. It is about preparation for success. We can leave no room for assumptions.

Courtney O’Connell, a rising leader on the topic of innovation in education, and a friend of mine, offers an interesting perspective that actually encourages change in the industry to adapt to our changing world. Check it out:

Of course, I don’t know the right answer to the questions I have posed…it is just my two cents.

What are your thoughts? Am I being too traditional? Let’s chat!

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