Learning to Type: Student Bloggers’ Progress

In March 2018 I wrote a comprehensive post about teaching typing. I also compared four free online tools for learning keyboarding. Find that post here.

Comparison chart typing websites 2018 Kathleen Morris Primary Tech

On 21st July, 2011, all of my students participated in a typing test using 10fastfingers. They had to test themselves three times and then I recorded their best words-per-minute score.

Each week for the rest of the year, we completed about 30 minutes of typing practice using activities that I collated on this Sqworl.

Some of the students also used the typing games during spare time at home and school.

I tested the students using 10fastfingers again in September and at the end of the school year in December.

The results were very pleasing for five months progress, but what was most pleasing was the obvious improvement that the student bloggers showed.

Authentic typing practice = improved results

9 of my 22 students earnt their own blog from June onwards and their typing progress was more rapid than the non-bloggers. I have anecdotally recorded evidence of my students who do more blogging as making more progress with typing in the past, but it is good to have some (small) data.

In 2012, I’d like to test my Grade Four students from the start of the year and monitor their process. It would be ideal to compare them with a non-blogging class too if that was possible.

I truly believe that the ability to type with reasonable speed and accuracy helps students to better cope with the technological world they live in. Students are increasingly going to be held back in their school work, everyday life and future career if they don’t have adequate typing skills.

In 2012 I hope to help my students to learn to type so that they can focus more on their more important tasks– communicating, collaborating, creating, curating and so on.

How do you structure typing practice and lessons in your classroom?

Have you seen a correlation between blogging and typing improvement?

Do you have any other suggestions for typing games or tests?

13 Replies to “Learning to Type: Student Bloggers’ Progress”

  1. @ Kathleen,

    Thanks for this overview of your typing practise with your class. I remember classes on my teaching placements implementing typing lessons and practise but as far as I know, my current school doesn’t have a specific approach.

    I’m very eager to try out some of the typing games on your sqworl – I might try and get the Grade 1’s to do a little bit during the year (although now that I think about it, that’s entirely dependent on where the computers are in my new building! Sadly, none in my room at this stage.) Might have to steal more time in our new computer lab!

    What I did notice with the few students who were very eager about blogging and leaving comments on my class blog last year was an improvement – 5-6 year olds are still learning to remember where the keys are on a keyboard, but they were all very persistent and eager to type on their own until they’d finished before conferencing with me. It would be interesting to run a slightly more formal typing program with my ones to support students who don’t use the computer/devices outside of school.

    Bookmarking this post to share with my ICT coordinator and other teachers!


    1. Mrs Kathleen Morris says: Reply

      @ Stef,

      My school didn’t have any specific approach to typing either. Parents used to ask me about it now and again and I always felt like I should be doing more. When Kelly and I got a set of netbooks mid-year we thought it was the perfect opportunity to integrated some regular typing practice. We felt it was important as the students would be using computers for more of their work.

      Oh dear, no computers in your room? Not good! I really hope you can remedy that situation! Your grade ones would love some of the typing games. Even some of my really reluctant students enjoyed then and the room was always silent when we had typing practice!

      It’s interesting to hear other people, such as yourself, anecdotally note improved typing skills through blogging. It’s great to hear even 5 and 6 year olds showed an improvement!


  2. Dear Kathleen,

    I really appreciate the information you have included in this post. I love the fact that you have collected formative and summative data to support the belief that blogging better prepares students for the technological world in which they live. I could not agree with you more!

    Last year, I posted sites on my class blog so my Grade 4 students so that could practice their typing skills at home. From what I observed, the students that were really interested in blogging and leaving comments, these were the ones that showed the most growth overall.

    This year (starting in Feb.), I am hoping to set up a morning program using the four laptops I have in my classroom. I want to provide students with the opportunity to practice their typing skills. Would it be okay with you if I sent the link to your post to my admin to further support my decision to try this with my class?

    One more question, how did you incorporate Whole class typing practice with your 22 students? My plan is to offer it as an option during Work on Writing during the D5 and it would be a MUST DO once per week. Based on what you have done with your class, would you think this would be a sufficient amount of time?

    Again, great work, Kathleen!

    Mrs. Webb-Scheers

    1. Mrs Kathleen Morris says: Reply

      Hi Mrs. Webb-Scheers,

      Thanks for your comment. Yes, definitely send my post to your admin. I hope they like your idea of your morning program. I’m sure you’ll see some great results with it!

      I should have said in my post that the reason we started typing practice is that we got a set of netbooks in July which meant we had 30 computers for 45 students (so one class could do whole class typing while the other class was out of the room). Before that, we just did what we could such a rotation every now and then as we only had 10 computers for our 45 students. I think your work on writing idea would be perfect. It would be really interesting for you to test your students and see what progress they make.

      Good luck!

  3. Hi Kathleen,

    As bloggers practice typing through their posts and comments, it only makes sense that their typing skills improve. I love that you have data to support this!

    When I first started teaching in Arizona, USA, fourteen years ago, I remember our tech standards had words per minute in it as the main focus. So, the common teacher mindset was, “We have to get their words per minute up, so let’s buy software and make them learn it.” — Thankfully our tech standards are very different now, with the emphasis on communicating, collaborating, creating, information literacy, etc. The teacher mindset changed by embracing the new standards, but every once in a while I will hear, “I can’t get them to use the computers until they learn their keyboarding.” My response is typically, “They’ll get more experience with keyboarding when they use the computer for authentic learning.” Hence, your post and data is something that will back up what I’m saying.

    Your post is also a good reminder that some focus should be on keyboarding. I probably went 180 degrees away from keyboarding as a tad bit of rebellion against those who still put all their focus on it. A healthier compromise is to have some focus on practicing good keyboarding skills. I thank you for helping me reflect on this and grow from that reflection.

    Kind regards,

    1. Mrs Kathleen Morris says: Reply

      @ Tracy,

      I know what you mean. 2011 was really the first year that I thought I need to implement some sort of regular program to help students focus more fully on the real tasks. But like you, I feel like keyboarding skills do come from authentic practice. The games and lessons we do are just an extra and I think it works as they’re fun; unlike the software we used in the 90s!

      Thanks for your insights,

  4. Dear Kathleen,
    As a second grade teacher, I often wonder if keyboarding skills are developmentally appropriate – tiny hands and big keyboard, make it hard to correctly type. However, the hunt and peck method really slows them down and writing a comment can take forever! Even if I wanted to let my students practice keyboarding, it is nearly impossible because we do not have a computer lab. I have 3 desktop computers in my class. I have to make management decisions on the use of computers – I would rather use them for authentic purposes because I can’t do both. So, for now I will rely my students improving their speed at the hunt and peck method, as they continue to blog! I look at keyboarding skills just like I look at handwriting skills. They do need to practice the skill. But then I think of my own 2 children that had 6 weeks of keyboarding in 6th grade (this was nearly 15 years ago). My daughter has proper technique, but my son uses 2 fingers. It definitely has not held him back in our technological world! It’s amazing to see how fast he goes with 2 fingers! Those of you who provide keyboarding practice, how do you schedule it and what kind of set up do you have?

    1. Mrs Kathleen Morris says: Reply

      @ Debra,

      I would definitely disagree that grade twos aren’t developmentally ready for keyboarding simply because I have seen progress with each and every student. Even though some people can get by with 2 fingers, I’m sure that using proper techniques is still going to help students focus more on their work at hand than their keyboarding.

      It is difficult if you don’t have access to computers for typing practice and I should have said in my post that the reason we started typing practice is that we got a set of netbooks in July which meant we had 30 computers for 45 students (so we could do half at a time). Before that, we just did what we could such a rotation every now and then, while relying on authentic tasks (blogging) to improve skills. Like you, we had to make management decisions with only 10 computers for 45 students.

      Good luck,

  5. Kathleen, you are the queen cat and you’ve just found another large ball of wool that has a thread coming from it ready for play! The thoughts that you have shared about typing have been right at the BACK of my mind. However, I am now going to package the starting points that you have offered and see how they get taken up. I am perhaps thinking that there will be parents who do ‘messy’ typing and they’d be interested too. Some people will play others not, probably to start with most will not. However collecting data and sharing that in different ways, blog, newsletters, website, awards … if it has value others will want to join in.
    It is hugely helpful to have the ideas placed in front of me in such an accessible way. Perhaps I’m the cat that got the cream!
    Mr E

    1. Mrs Kathleen Morris says: Reply

      Hi Mr E,

      I’m so glad this is something you want to try for yourself. You’re right about getting parents involved too. I might even try that myself!

      I look at these sorts of things the same way you do. I love sharing what I’m doing with my staff and other teachers, knowing that some will want to play and others won’t, but it’s worth putting it out there anyway!

      Good luck!

      Queen Kat 😆

  6. Another much appreciated blog, Kathleen. My main goal this year is to get blogging going at our school. ( have just started my own) We have the access and the enthusiasm for technology. We have been talking about authentic learning and audience for years at our school and this should finally get the leaders convinced blogging is the way to go. I like how you have used blogging as a platform for improving typing skills. Far more practical than just “Mavis Beacon”ing for the sake of “Mavis Beacon”ing. If students see a purpose for writing a lot through blogging, they will want to be able to type effectively to get their blogs published more effectively.

    Your blogs on blogging have been required reading for me during the last few months. I’ll be using them to support the staff and students in their learning this year and beyond.

    1. Mrs Kathleen Morris says: Reply

      Hi Mark,

      I’m so glad you’re keen to get your school blogging this year. If you have the access and the enthusiasm then you’ve won half the battle already! I’ve never seen Mavis Beacon but I’m assuming it’s one of many rather boring typing programs? I love having an authentic approach to learning, typing included.

      Good luck!

  7. […] me great inspiration)  from  July 2011 “Learning To Type‘ and this January 2012 post ‘Learning To Type‘ – Update Kathleen has crated a sqworl – thanks Kathleen, a great idea to place all […]

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