Typing Skill Development

Overview

Typing Skill Development programs are designed to help students to develop their typing skills and become proficient typists. Typing can reduce the cognitive load that handwriting entails. While these programs can be effective, there has been no research demonstrating that one typing program is more effective than another; however, a typing program that teaches keys in high frequent words instead of repetitive letters is better. For example, teaching "as", "as", "as", instead of "aaaaaaa" "sssssss" is more effective.

 

Research has shown that if a student is not able to type quickly the quality of their writing can be impacted. Russell (1999) worked with middle and high school students on writing tests and found that students that had a typing speed of over 20 words per minute (WPM) had better writing quality when using the computer versus handwriting. However, for students who were typing at a speed slower than 20 WPM, using a typing program had a negative affect on performance.  

Furthermore, there is little research on how much time one needs to practice before becoming a proficient typist. One study that worked with high school students found that after 2 weeks of typing 45 minutes per day students experienced an average increase in typing speed from 8 WPM to 14 WPM (Glencross, Bluhm, & Earl, 1985).

Others studies have developed some suggestions to increases chances of success in typing:

  • Begin teaching typing between SK and 2nd grade (Rogers, Laehn, Lang, O’Leary, & Sommers, 2003)

  • Students that keyboarded at home improved keyboarding skills at a significantly faster rate than those who received school based instruction alone (Pisha, 1993)

  • Students move from looking at the keys to feeling and true touch typing around 18-23 WPM (NBEA, 2006)

  • In a two year follow up study, only students that previously obtained 20 WPM maintained or increased their typing speed (Ertl, 2007)

Research Rating: Due to the experimental nature of the information cited in this description this information is to be trusted as valid and reliable.

Advantages:

  • Effective in circumventing problems with graphomotor skills

  • Can improve writing quality

  • Can decrease the cognitive load of handwriting

Disadvantages:

  • Extensive training required

To Consider

  • 10 Top Ten Reviews does a year comparison of typing software. You may wish to consult their most recent review to help determine which program may be best.

Exact prices change frequently, which is why only approximate ranges are listed. 

$ - Under $5

$$ - Between $6 and $50

$$$ - Between $51 and $250

$$$$ - Over $250

References

Ertl, M. A. (2007). The effects of initial touch keyboarding speed achievement of fifth graders and touch keyboarding skill retention in seventh grade. Viterbo University. 

Glencross, D., Bluhm, N., & Earl, J. (1989). A field study report of intensive computer keyboard training with schoolchildren. Applied Ergonomics, 20, 131-135. 

 

Pisha B 2002. Rates of development of keyboarding skills in elementary school aged children with and without identified learning disabilities. Retrieved April 17, 2017 http://www.cast.org/udl/Developmentof KeyboardingSkills353.cfm

Rogers, H., Laehn, J., Lang, A., O’Leary, D., & Sommers, M. (2003). The status of elementary keyboarding: A longitudinal study. Retrieved April 17, 2017 http://balancesheet.swlearning.com/1103/1103d.html

Written by Bronwyn Lamond, Last Revision May 2018

Academic Intervention Lab

Department of Applied Psychology and Human Development

Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, Toronto, ON M5S 1V6, Canada
     Email: academicinterventionlab@utoronto.ca

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