Image of compter with book, pencil and other symbols of learning tools.

Strategies for Implementing Basic
Keyboarding and Computer Literacy
Skills in the Classroom

Kids sitting at computers.

Keyboarding Program Basics

Course Objectives:

  • Students will know where home row is located
  • Students will identify the location and purpose of the keys
  • Students will demonstrate correct posture
  • Students will demonstrate proper finger placement and movement
  • Students will demonstrate how to locate and insert characters not available on the keyboard

Advanced Skill Development:

  • Students will identify function and fingering for keyboard shortcuts
  • Students will demonstrate alphanumeric touch keyboarding
  • Students will operate the numeric keypad using proper finger placement

Keyboarding instruction, as an integral part of the elementary classroom program, lays the foundation for the effective use of computers as tools for thinking, for communication, for research, and for creative expression.

Additional benefits include:

  • Prevention of chronic "hunt and peck disease"
  • Prepares students to be efficient computer users
  • Instills healthful habits
  • Provides opportunity to coordinate skill development with productive uses of the skill throughout the curriculum

Proper technique forms the foundation for successful keyboarding and the efficient use of the computer keyboard. The importance of demonstrating and continuously encouraging proper technique with the students cannot be overstated. Technique should be observed and monitored whenever students are operating a computer keyboard, whether they are keying a business document, composing, or practicing keyboarding drills.

It is extremely important to encourage and develop good keyboarding habits. Daily practice and reinforcement of proper technique should take place and will assist in developing the students' skills. It is suggested that 10 to 20 minutes per day be devoted to developing keyboarding skills specifically.

The following recommendations will help ensure greater improvement in keyboarding proficiency.

  • Plan for an implementation period exceeding 12 weeks.
  • Arrange schedule to allow for daily practice.
  • Have one computer per student.

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The following are some additional considerations regarding computer use instruction and training.

1.Table Height

In many communities, computer keyboards are on standard 36" tables and people use whatever chair is available. Typically, this means that hands are up too high (like a puppy on its hind legs). These are conditions for developing inappropriate computer use habits and can lead to potential health impairments.

Be creative in solving this problem. Get a desk from a junior grade but use a regular chair. Or sit on a couple of text books.

When hands are on the keyboard, they should be about the height of your waist.

2. Sit Tall

It is very important to sit up straight when keyboarding. Students will spend greater amounts of time at the computer such as on line courses, learning activities in the classroom, etc. They will be spending many hours on the keyboard in their lifetime. If they slouch while reading the screen, composing, or sending messages, they can develop physical impairments that can be a life long problem.

3. Feet Flat Floor

When practicing keyboarding skills or working at a computer, keep feet flat on the floor. Good posture will allow users to be more efficient and productive.

4. Palms Off

When keyboarding, keep the palms of your hands off the keyboard. This means that you move your whole hand and arm (and not just your fingers) when keyboarding. This helps prevent computer related repetitive strain injuries such as carpal tunnel syndrome or arthritis like symptoms where finger joints become very painful.

5. Fingers on Home Keys

When keyboarding, keep the ends of fingers gently resting on the home keys. For the left hand the home keys are a,s,d,f. For the right hand, they are j,k,l and ; thumbs rest on the space bar.

6. Where To Look

When keyboarding, look at either:
A. The screen; or
B. Whatever is sitting to the left or right of the computer.

Avoid watching fingers and looking for the right key on the keyboard. Use keyboard covers such as a cloth or piece of paper. Keyboard covers are used to prevent students from looking at their hands or the keyboard while they type. This increases accuracy and promotes proper keyboarding.

7. Keyboarding Practice

Do 10 -15 minutes of practice in the keyboarding program, daily. By doing keyboarding practice daily, students will increase their accuracy and efficiency and can focus more on writing and communication, rather than worrying about keyboarding skills.

Use keyboarding games for a fun activity. This is the only time I would let the concept of speed enter into the program. We are not concerned with speed, but accuracy, efficiency, and productivity.

8. Progress

Keep progress on a chart that students can mark as they complete their lessons. Use student lesson books (see Course Materials) to record and document student progress. This is done by marking off lines with a highlighter upon review at the student’s workstation. Develop a system for monitoring daily progress. See rubric: Keyboarding Skills - Daily Performance Assessment. Download printable PDF copy of rubric.

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Assessment of Keyboarding Skills

I have found a performance-based assessment is most informative and accurate. Have student select a passage from a favorite book or personal writing. This only needs to be two to three paragraphs. Read passage at an appropriate rate so that student can keyboard passage. Observe to see that student has acquired the skills defined above. You can tell by the end of the first sentence the level of proficiency. If there appears to be skill deficiency, then reassign lessons for remediation. Typically, only a low percentage of the students have to redo lessons. Students know right from the start of the program how they will be assessed. In references below, are two URL’s that have check list type rubrics.

Keyboard Instruction

Internet sites/references available to help support your classroom instruction and program development, and used to formally compose this document. Links will open in new browser window.

Tips for program implementation.

Education World ® - Curriculum: Keyboarding Skills: When Should They Be Taught?

Activities that could be used to facilitate the development of keyboarding instruction in the classroom.

Keyboarding - Suggested Activities

Hints for Keyboarding Skills - Outline of elementary keyboarding skills.

Everything you need to know to make keyboarding instruction a success.

Keyboarding Resources

Detailed rubric for keyboarding basics.

Keyboarding - Technique

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© 2012 by Keith Zamudio. Any part of this document may be reproduced or utilized in any form or by any means provided proper citation and credit are given for the work and no-cost dissemination is intended. Page last updated June 26, 2012.