Friday, September 18, 2009

Pen mightier than Keyboard?

Is pen mightier than the Keyboard?
Virginia Berninger, a University of Washington professor of Educational Psychology, looked at the ability of second, fourth, and sixth grade children to write the alphabet, sentences, and essays using a pen and a keyboard. "Children consistently did better writing with a pen when they wrote essays. They wrote more and they wrote faster," said Berninger. The researcher further said that only for writing the alphabet was the keyboard better than the pen. Results were mixed for sentences. However, when using a pen, the children in the three grade levels produced longer essays and composed them at a faster pace. The study also showed that fourth and sixth graders wrote more complete sentences when they used a pen, and that this ability was not affected by the children’s spelling skills. -Read more In Google News

Children need to use their thinking skills while writing sentences as they have to understand before penning down. Communicating is different whereas writing is different. On computers, the process of writing comes with sentences once they have understood the complexity of writing. Moreover, using the keyboard skills is more important as if their typing is not as per the guidelines, they end up with slow speed and in search of keys, lose words to write.

We definitely need to help children become bilingual writers so that they can write by both, pen and the computer. However, the process is to be monitored. Encouraging children to use computers before they can write sentences is not appropriate. Computers can be a group activity or playing games at very primary level for the age group one to fourth grade. This is even fun and learning for them. When kids can better understand, read and write - encourage blogging or using word and writing stories or letters to friends. Before they end up with social networking, it is recommended that children learn the typing skills and how to surf safe on the web.

Here are some tips that may help you or kids while typing:

1. Position : Sit directly in from of the computer with keyboard placed parallel with the front desk. Keep elbows close to the sides. Feet squarely on the floor. Chair to be of a height that bring forearm in a position to force the hands to be raised slightly and bring the writes on a level with the keyboard.
2. Touch method : Insist on touch method and not hitting the key. Fingers should rest lightly on the keys. a and ; are the anchor guide keys as fourth finger seldom leave these keys. Close attention to the position of the fourth fingers will result in keeping the hands placed correctly on the keyboard. This is the essential step for speedy typing without having to raise fingers and find keys to hit.
3. Curve fingers: Majority of mistake is made by not curving the fingers sufficiently. Held the fingers in position. Closely together and easy moving from middle to upper to lower keys. Do not leave fingers from middle row but let fingers flow up and down from middle row.
4. Wrists : Let wrists be lowered slightly. Compare action like a piano keyboard to that of a typing keyboard. Typing keyboard has inclined plane whereas piano keyboard is on a level plane. Speed and accuracy comes by allowing the wrists to drop slightly.
5. Practice : It is practice that makes a child perfect. Be it piano playing or typing. (Left hand fingers: asdf bump to g ;lkj bump to h ) D is used for E and C. The finger on F can reach RT-G-VB. Same for the right side fingering positions.
6. Avoid looking at keys: This comes with practice. Operating position of hands and fingers is the first step and the second is practice.
7. Concentrate: Get focused on correct position of fingers and wrists and once practice is done, look away from the keyboard.
8. Play games: Best ever practice comes while playing games. However, insist on finger placing with the basic learning as this helps in game keys too.

Type several lines with double space after the basic keyboard learning (point 5 above) is over.

Exercise 1:
asdfgf ; lkjhj asdfgf ;lkjhj asdfgf ;lkjhj ....continue.
fgfdsa jhjkl; fgfdsa jhjkl; fgfdsa jhjkl; ...continue.

Exercise 2:
a;sldkfjghfjdksla; a;sldkfjghfjdksla; a;sldkfjghfjdksla; continue.

Speed or High speed comes from hardest work. Fourth finger placing is important and also traveling minimum distance to character will lead to speed accuracy. Get the basic Exercises done and get some speed typing paragraphs. That should work.

Often we see people using the wrong keys and as I have done speed tests with highest speed of 80/120 wpm. as a stenographer, I have experienced, I need a brain to think while writing but only fingers moving on keyboard smoothly. Determination and You Can Do IT.

Well, Pen is mightier than the keyboard? I think - kids first need to use the pen and gradually can be taught Computers! A caring and thoughtful teaching always help.

- ilaxi patel
Newspaper for Kids

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