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CCSS-aligned classrooms focus on keyboard skills

TUESDAY, OCTOBER 15, 2013 10:57 AM

In the eyes of many Americans, one of the more controversial aspects of the Common Core State Standards is the fact that students will no longer be required to learn how to write in cursive in states that have adopted the CCSS. Those who are OK with this change understand that the Standards are designed to prepare students for college and the workforce, two areas where typing skills tend to matter more than the ability to write in cursive.

The future is typing
Students' ability to type will only become more essential as schools find ways to integrate technology into their classrooms. Technological approaches to instruction, such as blended learning, require pupils to spend a significant amount of time in front of a computer or similar electronic device.

Meanwhile, virtual schools are also on the rise, as the International Association for K-12 Online Learning states that 27 states are home to institutions of this nature. If students are not familiar with a computer keyboard, their learning may suffer as more assignments require them to use one.

Time is of the essence
The Washington Post reported that in many schools, kindergartners are being trained to use computer keyboards, and with good reason. Standardized tests that are delivered via computer and aligned with the CCSS will be administered during the 2014-2015 academic year. For this reason, students need to know their way around a keyboard by the time they start taking these tests.

"All these elementary teachers are dying, worrying how they're going to get their kids to meet these new requirements," Jaqui Murray, the teacher behind the Ask A Tech Teacher blog, told the news source. "It's a huge deal. You can't have kids go into these tests and not do well because they can't keyboard."

For young children, getting to know computer keyboards may be essential, but it is not always comfortable. In teacher Natalie May's second-grade class at Horseshoe Trails Elementary in Phoenix, Ariz., for instance, 7-year-old pupils need to stretch their fingers across portions of their keyboards to master typing.

"After 15 minutes, some of them will say their fingers are hurting, so we take a break," May told the news outlet.

Ultimately, all the time students spend using technology at a young age could also help them achieve some of the desired outcomes of the Partnership for 21st Century Skills' framework, such as the acquisition of information, media and technology skills.