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Guiding Principles

Technology skills are best acquired when instruction and practice are integrated with meaningful curricular activities. There are, however, some basic skills that initially merit separate attention and practice. Use of the computer keyboard is one of those skills.

To attain a functional level of keyboard use and to avoid forming habits that become extremely difficult to break, students should be exposed to correct keyboarding techniques at an early age. Since the acquisition of skill is an ongoing process, instruction should be offered at every grade level. Students should consistently improve speed and accuracy by applying keyboarding skills in all subject areas.

Opportunities for regular practice should be provided to allow students to attain and maintain speed and accuracy. Practice is most effective when sessions are brief but frequent. Four sessions per week of 20 minutes each, for example, have proven much more effective than two sessions of 45 minutes each. Frequent practice periods in a concentrated number of weeks have proven more effective than spreading practice over several months. Teachers and administrators are encouraged to consider these results when allocating equipment and computer time.

Students gain keyboarding skills much more effectively when the teacher is actively engaged in delivering instruction and monitoring progress. Keyboarding software is best used for assessing speed and accuracy, and for providing extra practice, not for teaching students to keyboard.

It is not necessary to practice keyboarding on a computer with a fast processor, a large amount of memory, and multimedia capabilities. Keyboarding practice is a great use of older computers or of specialized hardware with limited operating systems.

To provide consistency throughout the district, elementary campuses should use the following schedule. After completion of the defined cycle, keyboarding skills should be reinforced in brief but frequent sessions throughout the school year as curriculum-based, word processing activities are completed.
 

Grade Levels

Frequency of Practice Sessions

Duration of Practice

1 and 2

10 minute segments before each lesson in the lab

2nd semester

3 and 4

20 minutes per day, 4 days per week

4 weeks (weeks 5-8)

5 and 6

20 minutes per day, 4 days per week

3 weeks (weeks 2-4)

Keyboarding speed should be slightly faster than handwriting speed at a given grade level. The following skills and grade level expectations were derived from research and from the Technology Applications TEKS.

Kindergarten - Grade 1

  • No speed requirements
  • Attention to correct hand and body positions, location of keys, smooth and rhythmic keystroke patterns as grade-level appropriate
  • Students operate alphabetic, numeric, punctuation, and symbol keys as grade-level appropriate
  • Students produce documents at the keyboard, proofread, and correct errors as grade-level appropriate
  • Students use language skills including capitalization, punctuation, and spelling as grade-level appropriate

Grade 2

  • 5 Words per Minute (WPM) at 80-100% accuracy
  • Attention to correct hand and body positions, location of keys, smooth and rhythmic keystroke patterns as grade-level appropriate
  • Students operate alphabetic, numeric, punctuation, and symbol keys as grade-level appropriate
  • Students produce documents at the keyboard, proofread, and correct errors as grade-level appropriate
  • Students use language skills including capitalization, punctuation, and spelling as grade-level appropriate

Grade 3

  • Keyboarding practice in a structured program should begin at grade 3.
  • 15 WPM at 80-100% accuracy
  • Frequent practice for short periods of time over a concentrated number of weeks (i.e., 20 minutes per day, 4 days per week for 4 weeks)
  • Students use proper keyboarding techniques such as correct hand and body positions and smooth and rhythmic keystroke patterns
  • Students demonstrate touch keyboarding techniques for operating the alphabetic, numeric, punctuation, and symbol keys as grade-level appropriate
  • Students produce documents at the keyboard, proofread, and correct errors
  • Students use language skills including capitalization, punctuation, spelling, word division, and use of numbers and symbols as grade-level appropriate

Grade 4

  • 20 WPM at 80-100% accuracy
  • Frequent practice for short periods of time over a concentrated number of weeks (i.e., 20 minutes per day, 4 days per week for 4 weeks)
  • Students use proper keyboarding techniques such as correct hand and body positions and smooth and rhythmic keystroke patterns
  • Students demonstrate touch-keyboarding techniques for operating the alphabetic, numeric, punctuation, and symbol keys as grade-level appropriate
  • Students produce documents at the keyboard, proofread, and correct errors
  • Students use language skills including capitalization, punctuation, spelling, word division, and use of numbers and symbols as grade-level appropriate

Grade 5

  • 25 WPM at 80-100% accuracy
  • Frequent practice for short periods of time over a concentrated number of weeks (i.e., 20 minutes per day, 4 days per week for 3 weeks)
  • Students use proper keyboarding techniques such as correct hand and body positions and smooth and rhythmic keystroke patterns
  • Students demonstrate touch keyboarding techniques for operating the alphabetic, numeric, punctuation, and symbol keys as grade-level appropriate
  • Students produce documents at the keyboard, proofread, and correct errors
  • Students use language skills including capitalization, punctuation, spelling, word division, and use of numbers and symbols as grade-level appropriate

Grades 6 - 8

  • 5 WPM per grade level at 80-100% accuracy (grade 6 = 30 WPM, grade 7 = 35 WPM, grade 8 = 40 WPM)
  • Frequent practice for short periods of time over a concentrated number of weeks
  • Demonstrate keyboarding proficiency in technique and posture while building speed
  • Use digital keyboarding standards for data input such as one space after punctuation, the use of em/en dashes, and smart quotation marks
  • Plan, create, and edit documents created with a word processor
  • Integrate the use of the word processor into multiple curricular areas

Grades 9 - 12

  • 50 WPM at 80-100% accuracy
  • Frequent practice for short periods of time over a concentrated number of weeks
  • Demonstrate keyboarding proficiency in technique and posture while building speed
  • Use digital keyboarding standards in word processing such as one space after punctuation, the use of em/en dashes, and smart quotation marks
  • Plan, create, and edit documents created with a word processor
  • Integrate the use of the word processor into multiple curricular areas
  

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