Thursday, April 8, 2010

Keyboarding - A 21st Century Skill to Learn

For parents, it's obvious that keyboarding skills are vital in todays world. 
Learning typing is the focus of these keyboarding games. Learning keyboarding skills is vital for today’s learners and tomorrow’s earners. These free typing games are a great way to build typing skills. Keyboarding games teach important skills through a variety of online typing lessons and typing games.....

Keyboarding Games
Match Game
Typing Game Level 1
Match Game
Typing Game Level 2
Arachnid Falls
QWERTY Warriors
Type Type Revolution
Typing Tidepool
The Typing of The Ghosts
Typing Speed Test
Cup Stacking
Numpad Kennys
Typing Monster

The following is  excerpted from Typing Education on Todays Learners. They cite:
Who Should Teach Keyboarding and
When Should It Be Taught? 
By Margaret J. Erthal
This Articles on Teaching Typewriting & Keyboarding from: Utah State Office of Education

Keyboarding is the manipulation of the computer keyboard by touch. Performance expectations described in the National Standards for Business Education include students' ability to:
  • Develop touch keyboarding techniques; ·
  • Enter and manipulate numeric data using the touch method on a 10-key keypad; and
  • Develop touch keyboarding skills at acceptable speed and accuracy levels.
Keyboarding is a psychomotor skill and resembles playing a musical instrument such as the piano: the fine motor muscles must respond to the brain's instructions. Eye-hand coordination is necessary for the fine motor muscles to locate and strike a key or ivory.Sound pedagogical procedures are inherent in learning and becoming proficient at touch keyboarding (Erthal, 1996). Various groups have suggested that keyboard learning should be taught prior to using a computer, especially since students need formal instruction to acquire keyboarding skills using the touch system (Prigge and Braathen, 1993; Nieman, 1996).Benefits of acquiring keyboarding skills include the enhanced use of time and effective use of computers (Elementary/Middle School Keyboarding Strategies Guide, 1992). Everyone who will use computers needs to develop "touch" keyboarding skills. The emphasis is on the skill of entering alphanumeric data for the primary purposes of obtaining, processing, or communicating information (Schmidt, 1985).Research shows that children with keying skills are able to compose faster, are prouder of their work, produce documents with a neater appearance, have better motivation and demonstrate improved language arts skills (Nieman, 1996).

Students below the third grade, typically, do not possess the dexterity and hand size to manipulate the keys effectively. The suggested age for effective keyboard instruction is 10 to 12 years of age (Elementary/Middle School Keyboarding Strategies Guide, 1992).Children in grades four to six gradually exhibit greater smoothness and command of small-muscle expression, which is reflected in better coordination in activities (Prigge and Braathen, 1993). Correct keying should be used and reinforced from the beginning. Students should use the right index finger to key "Y" for yes and "N" for no; the right little finger to enter; the right thumb for the spacebar; and the mouse to point and click. Students need formal instruction to acquire keyboarding skills using the touch system before they use the computer for more than simple, single-key responses. Once students complete the initial keyboarding instruction, reinforcement activities are necessary. Keyboarding skills improve little or abate without consistent reinforcement (Elementary/Middle School Keyboarding Strategies Guide, 1992). If correct techniques are taught with initial computer use and progressively added each year, the level of keyboarding ability is continually strengthened (Davidson and Kochmann, 1996).A plan needs to be in place to assure the continuous development of keyboarding skills after the initial keyboarding instruction (Sormunen, 1991). Texas, Minnesota, New York, and Virginia have mandated keyboarding classes along with instruction time, speed, and accuracy standards. Keyboarding instruction begins from grade five and continues on to later grades. The goal is to prepare students for information retrieval and word processing (Nieman, 1996).

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Writing Courses Online

Time4Learning  teaches writing as part of an integrated languages art curriculum using writing software integrated within a full interactive language arts curriculum. The key differences is that Time4Writing courses are personalized eight week tutorials with a teacher who gives weekly personal feedback to the students on their writing.  Time4Learning is an interactive comprehensive automated language arts and math  curriculum. 

Time4Writing is a sister service of Time4Learning. Time4Writing  teaches writing courses for elementary, middle school and high school students. Time4Writing's certified teachers provide eight week tutorial courses for:
  • Students who don't get enough writing practice and feedback from their schools
  • Students who want additional writing instruction to prepare for high stakes tests
  • Homeschool families that like the external evaluation and guidance on writing
  • Students who need extra writing practice to help sharpen their skills
  • Students who lack confidence in their writing
  • Students who enjoy writing and need constructive feedback to improve

If you are interested in finding out what courses are available and how they work, click to find out about Time4Writing's online writing courses.
Time4Writing courses cover the basic mechanics of writing, as well as sentence, paragraph and essay writing. The material consists of guided lessons, activities, quizzes and writing assignments.
Students will be able to communicate with their teacher via the virtual campus. They will have 24 hour access to eight weeks of material and can work on their own daily schedule.

In addition to phone and email support, teachers are available to parents via email and will keep them updated on their child’s progress with a mid-course and end-of-course report. Students also receive a certificate of completion.