As a result of the current pandemic, teachers worldwide have made heroic efforts to deliver lessons online. Online teaching, learning and using a computer have suddenly become critical elements for both delivering and submitting school work.
Moving forward, countries are implementing different systems for delivering education, one being ‘blended learning’ programmes – a combination of both school and home learning. With this method of offering online provision to pupils, teachers are now considering if pupils have the skills to effectively and efficiently work online for prolonged periods.
Before the pandemic, forward-thinking countries who recognised the importance of touch typing, regarding productivity and preparing pupils for further education and the workplace, included teaching the skill within their school curriculum. Is it now time for other countries to follow suit?
Reasons why students should learn to touch type
1. Increases focus on content
When students learn to touch type with all their fingers and thumbs, the skill is transferred to their sub-conscious. This frees their conscious mind to concentrate on planning, composing, processing, proofreading, editing and the task at hand. As a consequence, the quality and delivery of work automatically improves.
2. Develops speed, increasing productivity
Regular practice is key to developing speed. A touch typist does not look down at the keyboard as they type. They look straight ahead at their computer screen. With minimal time wasted, repeatedly looking from keyboard to screen and correcting mistakes, productivity automatically increases. This is why students who touch type deliver far more work than those who follow the 'hunt and peck' method.
3. Improves accuracy
Alongside speed, accuracy is also greatly increased. Touch typing trains the fingers to press the correct keys automatically. Students develop a sense of what feels right. They know immediately when they have keyed in the wrong letter.
4. Helps with spelling
With repetition of touch typing words, muscle memory is built and spellings simply become a series of patterns and finger movements on a keyboard. Students begin to recognise words by sight, saving the decoding process.
5. Gives an edge over their peers
Students who learn the skill of touch typing at an early age stay one step ahead of their peers. They normally complete their computer-based tasks far quicker than those who ‘hunt and peck’.
6. Prepares them for secondary education and FE/HE
In many secondary schools and universities, assignments are now expected to be submitted in typed format. By learning to touch type students can save countless hours over the year. It has been noted that students who learn to keyboard early whilst in primary school, reap the benefits in secondary, further/higher education and in the workplace.
7. Contributes to future success
In today’s IT world, computers are found in most, if not all office environments, even if just for maintaining customer records or for email communication. An individual who can touch type will outperform their peers - producing higher quality work quickly and efficiently and excel in time management, all essential traits required for enhanced career prospects. A fast typist normally stands out amongst their peers and is noticed by management.
8. Benefits students with dyslexia, dysgraphia, dyspraxia, ADHD, ASD and others
Touch typingoffers neurodivergent students a new medium for learning and communicating.
It helps level the playing field within the classroom and can help address many of the challenges they face. Challenges such as slow work rate and poor writing skills.
Ideally suited for primary aged students
Although touch typing can be learned at any age, it is ideally suited to teach students whilst at primary school. Why? As the saying goes, ‘the younger a child begins, the easier it is for them to learn and master a skill’. Additionally, at around the age of six or seven, children’s hands have generally grown and developed sufficiently to reach the keys. They possess good hand/eye coordination and sufficient concentration levels. They normally love computers and are naturally inquisitive and hungry to learn. However, learning should be restricted to approximately 20-minute sessions, to cater for concentration spans.
Adding touch typing to the school curriculum would equip pupils with the skills necessary for home learning on a computer, increased efficiency and productivity but more importantly, prepare them for further education and their future.
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