This post has come about due to the experience I had with my year 4 class today, but also relates well to the post I wrote about handwriting a couple of weeks ago. It also links quite well with this week’s upcoming #ukedchat which is discussing what skills should be included in a 21st ICT curriculum.
As part of our Literacy for the past three weeks we have been writing newspaper reports and one of the objectives was to produce a typed end product. As we only have 12 laptops but 26 children I made what I thought was a reasonably sensible decision to have two activities going on at once – half the class typing up their reports and the other half doing design projects linked to our theme, all children doing both activities throughout the day, one in the morning and one in the afternoon. However, what I didn’t account for was a class of 26 children who could barely type and knew very little about the symbols in MS Word, even down to what the squiggly red line meant underneath words. 2 hours each wasn’t enough – this came as somewhat of a shock to me!
For these children, they are likely to live in a world where they actually very rarely write anything by hand yet communicate almost daily with others through type. It strikes me as wrong that typing isn’t part of the curriculum and comments from others that teaching typing at such a young age is not necessary I find unhelpful. Without the ability to type, and I’m not talking touch-typing, just knowing where all the keys are and managing to do it will a little speed and fluency, so much of the world of ICT is denied. It’s not like it has to be a boring process anymore either; there are quite a few free games on the internet available to practise, designed specifically for children.
For me, I believe typing is something all children should be taught to do as early as possible.