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Kolb Elementary Students Discover the Importance of Keyboarding After School
A student improves her typing in Kolb Elementary’s “Keyboarding Skills,” taught by Ms. Allison Tomcik. The course helps students prepare for timed tests by improving their typing speed and accuracy. “Keyboarding Skills” and other STEAM (Science Technology Engineering Arts Math) courses are offered in DPIE’s Afterschool Program.
Some things are often taken for granted. When we turn on the faucet, we expect water to flow. When a switch is turned on, a light should illuminate a room. However, have you observed a young person in front of a keyboard?
While this same student can probably text on their phone in record speed, it is also unlikely that they are utilizing proper finger placement on a computer keyboard. In many ways, it is simply not their fault.
Some reading this article may remember a time in their youth when a typing class was a standard part of curriculum. To enlighten a necessary “old” skill to the new world, the DPIE Afterschool Program has offered a “Keyboarding Skills” class at Kolb Elementary.
To further understand this opportunity, DPIE sat down with the course instructor, Fifth Grade Teacher Allison Tomcik. Ms. Tomcik is currently in her sixth year of teaching at Kolb. Beforehand, she earned both her B.A. in Liberal Students and M.A in Education Technology Leadership from CSU East Bay. She shared her insights into the world of keyboarding.
DPIE: This is the generation of students that will not understand what a cassette tape is or will have never touched a typewriter. How do you articulate to them the importance of gaining mastery with keyboard skills and why this should matter?
When they learn how to type properly, they can type at a faster and more accurate rate which in turn helps them to complete timed tests. Ms. Tomcik, “Keyboarding Skills” Afterschool Course at Kolb Elementary
Allison Tomcik: “It is difficult to have students of this generation understand the importance of skills such as typing. Many have no knowledge of anything before touch screens. In order to have students understand the importance of mastering how to type, I explain to the students that many assessments are now taken on computers. While this is technology, they still need to be able to type their responses. I also try to get them to understand that when they learn how to type properly, they can type at a faster and more accurate rate which in turn helps them to complete timed tests.”
DPIE: In today’s lesson, you had the students employ typing.com. Are you trying to employ various learning tools or is this one of the better sites for learning how to type?
Tomcik: “At this time, I am only using typing.com. As I had mentioned, the district previously had a subscription to Qwertytown, but not enough people were using it to justify the cost. Therefore, typing.com appears to be the best free site to learn how to type. Some of the students really enjoy Nitrotype, but I have found that because it is a game, the learned typing skills seem to go out the window.”
Students work through Ms. Tomcik after school course on typing.com, a popular website for exercising and tracking typing skills. These same skills will help students when taking online tests such as the SBAC.
DPIE: One of the benefits of the class that you stated was that it would help to prepare them for SBAC testing. What exactly did you mean by that?
Tomcik: “The SBAC test is completely online. Therefore, students need to know specific skills in order to navigate the test. Since there is a heavy component of needing to explain one’s thinking, students need to be able to type. Additionally, while there isn’t necessarily a specific set time limit for the test, it is possible that in the future or for future tests, there may be a time limit, for example, the high school exit exam, the SATs or ACTs. It has been a long time since I took the SAT, but I imagine that they may be computerized now.”
So, this exercise demonstrates that it is possible to teach “old” tricks to new “puppies.” DPIE would like to thank Allison Tomcik for opening the doors to this important skill.
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