Learning to type is not a simple process. For many students, it involves a lot of frustration and boredom — but it doesn’t have to be that way.
With the right techniques and curriculum, you can help your students learn to type efficiently and keep them motivated to learn.
1. Keep Typing Sessions Short but Frequent
Muscle memory can only be developed over time. That’s why we recommend practicing typing regularly rather than trying to get through as many keyboarding lessons as possible at one time.
Brief, regular practice develops muscle memory and helps students stay engaged more than long weekly sessions. While it may be easier to fit hour-long sessions in your class schedule, your students will learn more quickly in 15-20 minute sprints every day or several times a week.
2. Teach Proper Posture from the Beginning
To help students build healthy habits, begin your class’s first typing lessons by teaching students to:
- Sit up with a straight back and neck
- Keep elbows bent at a right angle or slightly more open
- Have the wrists neutral, either gently touching or slightly above the tabletop in front of the keyboard
- Keep the computer screen 20-40 inches away from the eyes
3. Cover Up the Keyboards
When you’re learning to type, especially in a class full of students who are competing to be the fastest, sometimes it can be a little too tempting to look at the keyboard.
One of the best solutions is to cover up the keys while students are learning to touch type. If a student can’t see the letter, they will be forced to use their memory. The extra engagement will help them develop their muscle memory and learn to type efficiently that much faster.
Students who look at their keyboards while learning to type will often type faster and more accurately at that moment, but their progress will be slowed in the long run. It may take many more years of practice to truly be able to touch type faster than they can spot the keys with their eyes.
4. Focus on Accuracy Over Speed
With typing, perfect practice makes perfect. You can’t type efficiently unless you can type accurately. It doesn’t matter how fast your fingers are moving if you constantly have to backspace and correct what you’ve just typed.
Unfortunately, many typing students struggle with patience and focus too much on speed. It can be a challenge to get students to slow down and focus on typing correctly the first time around, even though accuracy will help them type faster in the long run.
As a teacher, look for ways to emphasize typing accuracy in your grading and success. For example, you could make accuracy worth a larger part of their grade than WPM or have a reward for the most accurate typist in the class.
Teach students to type as accurately as possible, and they’ll be well on their way to becoming master typists.
5. Have Students Use Their Senses to Learn Faster
Researchers believe that multisensory learning allows students to learn more effectively. As an educator, you may have already experimented with adding multimedia to assignments or encouraging students to use their sense of smell in classroom science experiences.
While typing generally involves both the senses of touch and vision, you may be able to help your students learn faster by incorporating the sense of hearing through videos or audio program. Look for typing programs that involve multiple senses in the learning process.
6. Encourage Students to Learn from Mistakes
Learning from mistakes is particularly important when you are learning to type. That’s because repeating the same mistakes over and over will cause your muscle memory to develop the wrong way, making it that much harder to set the correct habit.
The most effective way to handle mistakes is to use a smart typing practice program that adapts to the individual student and focuses on areas that need improvement. If a student keeps tripping up on a particular key or sequence, the program will automatically work in more practice and reward them when they show progress.
Over time, focused effort on correcting common typing mistakes will help you type with greater accuracy and speed.
7. Have Fun by Gamifying Typing Practice
Learning to type can be an extremely repetitive process. Many students have a hard time staying engaged when they are typing the same key patterns over and over.
Luckily, there’s at least one thing you can do to make typing education more fun at your school: choose a gamified typing program like Typing Agent.
Gamified ed tech software turns learning to type into a game. Difficult key patterns become difficult levels in a video game. Students become more motivated to progress and earn points that can be used to unlock levels, more games, and other exciting features.
Best of all, gamification helps students learn more effectively. Why wouldn’t you give it a try?
8. Remind Students of the Benefits of Typing
Typing may not be inherently fun, but it’s an incredibly useful skill for most people, especially students. If your students complain that they don’t know why they need to work on their typing, just remind them of the benefits:
- Being able to type more efficiently means not having to spend as much time on homework assignments that require typing, such as essays.
- With the shift to remote and online learning during the COVID-19 pandemic, having good typing skills is critical to success in all school subjects, even those that didn’t previously require working on a computer.
- Strong typing skills are helpful or even required for many jobs, like administrative work, medical or legal transcription, journalism, and web development.
- Learning to type with proper posture can reduce the risk of repetitive stress injuries.
Typing is one of the most important skills for students to learn in the 21st century. At Typing Agent, we do our best to make a difference in the lives of students, teachers, and district administrators by providing the most powerful online K-12 keyboarding and technology curriculum. Check out some of our incredible features!