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Why the keyboard is mightier than the pen

I agree with the comments made by Dr Joan Dean ("Typing is a Touchy Subject", TES, August 25).

Last September, I began teaching information and communications technology lessons to all children in key stage 2 at the school where I work.

The ICT curriculum teaches children how to use a variety of software and by the time pupils reach Year 6 they can confidently use a word processing package, create a website, use Excel software to perform simple calculations and write simple programs in control software.

However, I was surprised that there is little opportunity to develop basic computer skills, such as keyboard skills, use of files and folders and so on.

As your writer suggests, I also believe that keyboard skills are a fundamental aspect of competent computer use. As someone who can touch-type, I consider that it is important, and in September 2005 I incorporated a five-minute session at the start of each lesson, during which children practise their typing skills.

The school purchased software called Busy Fingers (a child-friendly touch-typing program), which the children can work through at their own pace, and I include activities and challenges to keep them motivated.

Results have been extremely positive. Children participate enthusiastically and because they can now locate the keys they want to use quickly, more time can be spent on developing curriculum skills even further.

My aim is that when children reach the end of KS2, they will have learnt a valuable skill to take them into their secondary education and adult life.

All for just a few minutes a week.

Christine Thomson

Higher level teaching assistant

Rolleston on Dove

Burton upon Trent

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