One of the biggest challenges for keyboarding teachers is to get students to stop looking at their hands when they type.
Even if one knows the keys, the temptation will always be to look down.
One great strategy is to cover the keys, hiding them from students’ eyes.
But what’s the best tool to do this? Skins? Stickers? Covers?
While each of these tools has its merits, the criteria for the best tool is that it should sufficiently cover the letters on the keys, that it’s removable, and that it feels natural while typing.
Read on for some of the pros and cons to each of these approaches.
A cinch to install, skins are merely a rubbery sheet that sits directly on top of your keyboard. Each individual key is still distinguishable with a skin, but the characters are invisible.
Skins are just as easy to remove, making them useful for giving students multiple ways to practice even with a limited amount of time.
There is one major downside to skins, however, in that they don’t feel natural to the touch.
The rubbery texture can make it harder to press down on the keys. Additionally, sometimes they might disguise the bumps on the F and J keys that students use to find their starting position.
In addition to being easy to use, stickers are cheap and provide a totally natural feel.
Teachers can even use color-coded stickers to remind students which fingers go where.
Another perk of stickers is that teachers can choose which keys to cover and which to expose. Unlike skins which offer an all-or-nothing approach to covering keys, stickers provide plenty of different levels of support.
The biggest downside to stickers is that they are not removable. Once you’ve applied stickers to a keyboard, they are there to stay.
A cover is merely a bench shaped structure that sits atop a standard keyboard with room for students’ hands underneath.
With a cover in place, students will be able to type away naturally on their keyboard but without being able to see where each key is situated.
They are even faster than skins to install and remove, and they still provide a totally natural feel.
The only thing to be wary of is that covers need to be high enough that students can type freely, but low enough that students can’t look under them.
As the easiest to use and remove, and the provider of the most natural feeling typing experience, keyboard covers are our favorite choice for a touch typing tool!
Tip: Don’t want to invest in covers for your typing class? You can also take the cover from a box of paper and cut open the sides.