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Keyboarding curriculum moves down a few grades

"As technology in school districts across the nation has advanced, and access to computers in primary schools has increased, essential skills like keyboarding are also making a major transition. Traditionally, keyboarding has been an elective for junior high and high school students, with some basic typography taught in elementary grades. At the Jan. 13 Central Kitsap School Board meeting, school officials introduced a new keyboarding curriculum aimed at students in kindergarten through eighth grades.“There is a need for keyboarding throughout the elementary level,” said Janet Harris, coordinator of instructional technology for the Central Kitsap School District.Harris said keyboarding is starting to fade out of the secondary level and has become more concentrated in the primary grade level.In order to meet the keyboarding needs of the district, the National Educational Technology Standards for Students and the Washington State Technology Essential Learnings, the school district is piloting a new curriculum program called Techworks.Harris said the district researched a number of keyboarding curriculum options before choosing Techworks. She said they chose the program for a number of qualities, but mostly because it had a “well developed keyboarding” segment. Along with keyboarding, Techworks has programs on word processing, network awareness, Internet/telecommunications, desktop publishing, video and more.Twenty K-8 classes in the district are teaching computer awareness and keyboarding portions of Techworks — 17 in grades kindergarten through six. The 20 teachers involved volunteered to participate in the pilot and have agreed to meet several times during the year to evaluate whether materials meet student goals. After using the program in their classrooms, teachers will give feedback on the value of the material.During the spring of 1997, the district established a keyboarding committee comprised of cross-district, cross-grade-level elementary teachers, along with secondary keyboarding teachers. The committee proposed that keyboarding begin in the elementary level with students becoming proficient keyboarders by the time they enter junior high. Committee members suggested the trend now is for high school students to be able to display their skills by publishing their work, giving presentations and developing multimedia projects in their academic and technical classwork."

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