Thursday, August 11, 2011

Guest Post: Keyboard Classroom by Carrie Shaw


WHY JOHNNY CAN’T TYPE…

“Johnny” from Massachusetts was your typical 10 year old.  The oldest of four, his
mother “Susan” had carefully followed his program of study. She attended conferences,
read magazines and blogs about upcoming curriculum ideas, and spent a small
fortune on books and games that would give Johnny the skills he would need to lead a
successful life as he got older.

Early on, Susan recognized the importance of the computer to her son’s education.
She realized that computing is a way of life today. The key to success when living
in such a computer-centric world is to develop keyboarding skills. There was only
one problem. Johnny didn’t know how to type. So, Susan went out and bought a
popular learn-to-type software program. It was filled with fun exercises, flashing
lights, sound effects, and typing games, and Johnny was able to advance at his own
pace, “completing” the course in less than a week. He still didn’t know how to type.

Think of an athlete. Hitting a baseball, throwing a football, or kicking a soccer ball is
effortless... a result of repeated practice. They perform basic skills naturally, without
thinking. It’s the same with any skill, even typing.

Along with educators at the renowned Ben Bronz Academy in Connecticut, we’ve
studied students in various learning environments for over two decades, watching
and developing methods to improve the learning process. We concluded that young
people with and without learning issues, can succeed more effectively through the use
of computers. And when they learn to touch type, they are able to channel their focus
on what they’re learning. Their fingers actually become an unwitting extension of their
brains!

It’s all about muscle memory. Great typists, like great athletes, need to learn the
fundamentals by practicing them day after day, building new skills only after they master
something less difficult. An effective keyboarding program should be systematically
designed so a student must truly master a skill, before advancing to a more challenging
one. To make this program more productive we have developed a unique product
called Finger Guides.


Finger Guides attach to a standard computer keyboard with
velcro pads and guide a student's fingers to the correct keys, allowing them to learn
touch-typing without incorrect, error-prone moves.

In a lot of ways, we’ve just gone back to basics, creating a structured but simple way for
students to learn how to type… a skill they’ll use nearly every day for the rest of their
lives.

By the way, Johnny has been using his new typing program for six months, practicing
his keyboarding skills for just 15 minutes every day. Susan wrote us a note last
week telling us he’s now fluent at 35 words per minute and she’s noticed a marked
improvement in his other work as well. Now she says, “Johnny knows how to type.”

Carrie Shaw is an educator and the President of Keyboard Classroom, one of the fastest growing learn-
to-type software programs in America. Her website is www.keyboardclassroom.com and she can be
reached via email at carrie@keyboardclassroom.com.

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