Digital Natives Are Having a Hard Time Learning to Type

keysKids that have grown up with iPads and iPhones are having a problem learning how to use QWERTY keyboards, according to a report in The Boston Globe.

While typing class used to be relegated to middle schoolers and high schoolers, nowadays elementary school kids are getting lessons in how to use a keyboard and a mouse. These skills are being taught in the old school way, you can’t look at your hands, you have to look at the screen. The idea is that young kids should learn how to navigate the Internet to help them with their research and homework, so therefore they should be able to use a keyboard to do so. According to The Boston Globe report, these elementary school kids are having a tough time learning how to type.

Most elementary-age children are digital natives, comfortable with smartphones and tablets. But they often operate those hand-held devices with a swipe of a finger. They have a much more difficult time trying to compose text on a keyboard, according to their teachers.

Obviously writing is a very important skill that every school child must learn to help be educated members of society. However, this report raises the question of how these kids will be writing in the future. I believe that typing is an instrumental skill for writing and it is worth teaching to kids. But who is to say that keyboards will be the dominant technology ten years from now?  And why do they need to teach how to use a mouse? I haven’t used one in years. What about trackpads and even digital tablet wands? I think this report raises a larger issue that needs to be addressed. How do we prepare kids for the future and take advantage of their digital native status to prepare them for composing in the future. What do you think?

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