Typing now part of Valley View's middle-school curriculum

12/26/2014, 10:21 a.m.
The program had been taught in high school but it makes sense to start earlier given how many students now ...
Valley View School District 365 is starting to teach typing as part of is middle school curriculum and phasing it out of high school.

Valley View School District 365U provided this news release:

As part of the ongoing effort to increase the rigor of the curriculum, Valley View School District 365U is in the process of phasing out its high school typing/keyboarding classes and moving the instruction to the middle school level.

“Most of our kids have been using computers since they were tiny and that’s a big advantage for them,” said Jane Addams Middle School Applied Technology teacher Roger Merritt.

“We’re trying to push it down into the middle schools to where they’re getting an opportunity to learn the correct way to use a keyboard,” added Tammi Conn, VVSD’s Director of Career and Technical Education.

Merritt indicated several VVSD middle schools have included keyboarding in their careers programs in recent years.

“But we never really had the software support for the kids,” he said. “We sort of were on our own and had to find free websites for the kids to use. It was kind of boring for them.”

Now careers students in grades 6-8 go through a formal two-to-three week intensive unit using a computer-based program rather than the text-based program that was offered as an elective at both high schools. Students will then have time to build their keyboarding proficiency throughout the semester.

“It’s more interesting for them,” Merritt said. “At this age level, you have to keep it interesting. We try to make it fun.”

Merritt finds students are a bit apprehensive about learning the finer points of keyboarding, but once they realize all they really need to learn is what keys are where and how to use their fingers, they relax and have no problems.

“To help them, I use an analogy,” he said. “I ask them if they play a sport or an instrument and I remind them the first time they picked up a basketball or sat down at a piano, they were probably awful. I tell them they’re not going to be able to do this right away either.

“What we’re looking for is for them to do it right,” he added “Go slow. Do it right. Speed will come later.”

Conn said high schoolers who want to learn keyboarding will still be able to do so for the next several years as part of their Digital World class. And if parents or students want to learn keyboarding on their own, Conn offered to share information on programs that may be used on home computers.

“The data we’re seeing now indicates this should be introduced in second or third grade because at that age they need to learn there’s a finger for each key and a key for each finger…and then full keyboarding should be taught in 5th grade” Conn said. “But one step at a time.”