Friday, August 18, 2006

Typing Part 2

Typing and Keyboard skills

How does typing relate to ICT Capability?

Typing is surely one aspect of ICT capability, though ICT capability is far greater than just typing as it involves the mastering of skills, routines, concepts, decision making, evaluation and reflection. But in order to progress in their ICT capability, and make greater use of the computer, children need to be able to be keyboard fluent.

When using a mouse, children (and adults) don't notice they are using it, it becomes like a cybernetic hand extension. They dont look at the mouse to remind themselves where the left button is located, the way some of us scan the keyboard to check we are hitting "t" not "r".

Ophelia Vanderpuye, is an AST and ICT advisor for Brent and has been in post for 15 years. Last year she set about writing a scheme of work for typing as the issue of poor keyboard control troubled her. Her work proved initially difficult as there wasn't many software packages or practical resources or guidance available. She worked with 2Simple on a pilot project using 2Type. The children practiced for a whole term and the skills increased dramatically. The children got to keep copies of 2Type and practiced at home as well as in school. By the end of the project many children (even those in Year 3) were touch typing!

How I wish I'd been taught this skill in primary and I'm sure many of you would have saved yourselves hours if you had been equipped with the necessary keyboarding skills at a young age. My current word per minute score on 2Type is not good, in fact its too embarrassing to print. I am conducting my own pilot on myself over the next three months to see if i can increase my accuracy and word count.

And then we come to the new frameworks for Literacy. At last the writers of such documents have taken notice of the world we live in and made reference to Keyboard familiarity. The document is divided into 12 strands of literacy and seems to strike an equal balance between handwriting and keyboarding. (Though the use of a stylus on a PDA is not mentioned). You are going to be seeing a lot more of the new frameworks but I'll include the draft of strand 12 below for you to see the progression in presentation skills.

Write a wide range of texts on print and on screen

12. Presentation

Children learn to:
develop a clear and fluent joined handwriting style
use keyboard skills and ICT tools confidently to compose and present work

Foundation Stage*
use a pencil and hold it effectively to form recognisable letters, most of which are correctly formed

Year 1
write most letters, correctly formed and orientated
write with spaces between words accurately
use the space bar and keyboard to type name and simple text

Year 2
write legibly, with ascenders and descenders distinguished
use upper and lower case letters appropriately within words
word process short narrative and non-narrative texts

Year 3
write neatly and legibly with handwriting generally joined, consistent in size and spacing
use keyboard skills to type, edit and redraft

Year 4
write consistently with neat, legible and joined handwriting
uses word processing packages to present written work

Year 5
adapt handwriting to specific purposes, e.g. printing, use of italics
use a range of ICT programmes to present texts

Year 6
use different styles of handwriting fir different purposes with a range of media, developing a consistent and personal legible style
select from a variety of ICT programmes to present text effectively and communicate information and ideas

Year 6 progression into Year 7
review the legibility and neatness of their handwriting
set personal targets to improve presentation,
using a range of presentational devices, on paper and on screen

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