Muddling through the blogosphere

Teaching Keyboarding- a rationale + free sites


“What’s the use of having a machine capable of working at lightning speed if the information it needs trickles in like molasses in January?” (from “The Most Crucial Computing Skill” by Erik Sandberg-Diment/ Science Digest/ January/ 1984)

underwoodkeyboard.jpgI learned to type in high school – on a typewriter, not a computer. Touch typing is still at the top of my list of “Useful Things I Learned in High School” list. When computers entered my life, I quickly transferred the skill to a better tool that pretty quickly rekindled my love for writing (which I had lost somewhere in my middle school years).

I was recently invited by a wonderful 8th grade English teacher to help start her students on a blogging project, The Outsiders. Most of the students knew the keyboard by touch, or something close to touch. But for the few who did not yet have this skill, it was truly like “molasses in January.”

I was glad to have stumbled upon The Tech Savvy Educator‘s post on Online Typing Tools, a great resource for sites that have computers, but minimal budgets for software (or the students are tired of the same K-8 keyboarding program;-). And a quick Google search returned links and links of white papers and district tech standards such as to add some research to the mix.

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  1. You should definitely write a few follow up posts about how well the Outsiders blog goes. I know that from working at a children’s book store in the summer, the book is amazingly popular, and I’d love to read what your 8th graders are writing about it.

    Oh, and thanks for the mention on the typing sites. More will be posted in the next few weeks 🙂

  2. Thanks, Ben, and thanks again for sharing your resources.

    The theme of being “the outsider” invites connections, fosters rich discussions, and hopefully provides a jumping board for writing to make a difference. The teacher mentioned is also one of group of teachers who are expanding the outsiders theme by incorporating the Time of Remembrance Oral Histories Project into their curriculum. In the aftermath of 9/11, the lessons learned from the internment of thousands of Japanese-Americans during WWII seems more relevant than ever.

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