About ten days ago, I wrote about teaching typing: https://1to1ipadprogram.wordpress.com/2015/09/14/to-teachlearn-typing-or-not-to-and-at-what-stage/
The main point I was trying to drive at is that with students (no matter what the age, even adults), when you do something once and don’t do it for a long time, it is hard to recollect and the point is lost unless it is practiced regularly, which is when it truly sticks. Like the whole process of logging in. If we teach students how to login and logout: the first time, it feels like this is so hard. Then it is a little easier and it keeps getting better. It reminds me of the 10,000 hour analogy from Malcolm Gladwell’s book: The Outliers. The more one does something, the better one gets at it or is expected to since one must make it a habit to learn from one’s mistakes and teach students accordingly.
The third grade students are now into day #7 of their typing. The first week we had parents come and help start up the computers. We figured that it would save us some time. On the first day, with several new students, with the confusion over upper and lower case, zeroes and the letter “o”, by the time the first class left, we were just glad that most of them had logged in. I had logged help desks for those whose accounts were not activated. So they temporarily used Dance Mat Typing.
On Day 2, the logging in was pretty independent other than new student accounts. I was only there to check in. On Day 3, everyone’s accounts were set up and fine. They really didn’t need me at all. The teachers then said to me – they now get why we must do this every day for a period of time. If they had called it quits at the end of day one, we would never have reached this point. On Day 4, when I saw the independence levels with everyone, I asked the students if it was alright that we stopped asking the parents to come in, that they would be responsible for bringing out their computers and getting started and they were like “YES”.
So in week 2, the students have come in, got out their computers, logged in successfully, started typing, all on their own. The only reminder they need at the start is that this is completely independent work and that they will be administered a test at the end of next week to see how quickly then can write a paragraph. Now, that test is something I just made up in order to get the students focused on the task at hand. However, they all seem highly motivated and are working hard towards it. More updates when we see how the typing has truly facilitated their work.