We recently did a survey of Typing.com customers to find out what’s working well and what issues they’ve encountered using Typing.com in their classrooms.
The biggest issue that came up?
Kids get restless and can’t stay focused on their typing lessons.
We ask students to sit still for much of their day, and sometimes that’s a challenge. It can be especially difficult when kids are in front of the computer where there are plenty of other distractions just a click away.
So what are the best tricks of the trade for getting kids to dig in and make the most of typing time?
The Challenge of Typing Lessons
Research shows that children (and even adults) are more likely to get distracted and restless when they are only getting stimulation to one or two senses.
For example— many adults report that they can participate in an activity, whether driving or doing computer work comfortably for longer periods of time if they are listening to music.
The fact that music adds a second sensory stimulus makes monotonous tasks more tolerable.
Following this example, there are plenty of ways that you can mix up typing time to help students keep their focus.
Keep typing sessions short! Most adults couldn’t sit still and work on typing lessons for an hour straight, and we definitely shouldn’t expect kids to.
In fact, many teachers across the nation manage to make typing time productive and purposeful with just a few 15-minute sessions per week.
Including a visual cue system in typing class can be a great way to keep kids focused. Some teachers will use plastic cups, giving students each a red and a green cup stacked on top of each other.
Students who are working on typing with no issues will display their green cup. If a student needs help or needs a stretch break, he or she can display the red cup as a signal to the teacher.
Students are more likely to focus on their work if they know there is a mechanism in place for showing when they need help.
Jazz It Up
A little music can go a long way in helping kids stay focused on the task at hand. Instrumental music tends to be a safe bet for not being too distracting.
For a crowd-pleasing twist, search youtube for instrumental covers of pop songs. Students will recognize the melodies, but won’t be tempted to sing along to the lyrics.
Build in Movement
Find ways to build in movement to typing lessons. Maybe students know they get a silent stretch break behind their chair when they finish a lesson.
Or, if you teach in a self-contained class, you can make typing lessons one of several stations that students rotate to.
If students practice typing in conjunction with other more dynamic activities (such as group reading, or working on math problems with a partner) it will be easier for them to focus once their fingers touch the keyboard.
While there will be days that students need to focus on an independent typing lesson, there are plenty of opportunities to also make typing fun.
From fun competitions to creative writing assignments, don’t forget to give students opportunities to apply their typing skills in engaging new ways. Check out EduTyping’s blog for plenty of typing games and activities for the classroom.
These are just a few ideas to help students concentrate during typing lessons.
What tricks and strategies do you use in your classroom to help students stay focused and reap the benefits of concentrated typing practice?